Upstages Fellow Teens
Women's Open Competitor Posts 69 In First Round Of Stroke-Play Qualifying
David Shefter, USGA
– Remember Morgan Pressel?
Wasn't it just three years ago that this young 13-year-old became
the darling of the 2001 U.S. Women's Open?
the golf world is suffering from attention deficit disorder. Pressel,
now 16 and with the braces long since removed and a few inches taller,
has almost become yesterday's news. And she hasn't even graduated
from high school.
the local media featured teenagers Michelle Wie (14) and 17-year-old
Californians Jane Park and Paula Creamer – all three members of
the 2004 USA Curtis Cup squad – Pressel seemed to be a mere afterthought
on the eve of the 104th U.S. Women's Amateur.
No headlines, no interviews, no sound bites.
am looking through the local paper and they have huge spreads on
‘Teen Machines' and everything else and my name was not even in
there,” said the Boca Raton, Fla., resident who has already competed
in two U.S. Women's Opens, the last in 2003 at Pumpkin Ridge outside
of Portland, Ore., where she was tied for fourth after a first-round
70. She finished 52nd with three consecutive 78s. “But oh well.
I'm shocked. I am so much better than I was three years ago.”
was evident on Monday at The Kahkwa Club when Pressel, playing in
the first group off the 10th tee, posted the second best round of
the day on the 6,365-yard Donald
layout, a 3-under-par 69 that
featured five birdies and an eagle to go with four bogeys.
Elosegui of Spain shot a 68 in the afternoon. No other player broke
the round should not have surprised anyone who has closely monitored
Pressel's success this summer. At the prestigious North and South
Women's Amateur at the famous Pinehurst (N.C.) Resort and Golf Club,
Pressel became that event's youngest winner, defeating 2000 U.S.
Girls' Junior champion Lisa Ferrero in the championship match. She
followed that up with a victory at the Rolex Tournament of Champions
at the Crosswater Course in Sunriver, Ore. That competition is one
of the biggest on the American Junior Golf Association circuit.
She also won an AJGA event in San Antonio, Texas.
weeks ago, she lost in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Girls' Junior,
falling to Jane Park, 1 up. Park also beat her in the third round
of the 2002 Girls' Junior in a 21-hole thriller.
bad, pretty good,” Pressel said of her summer.
a far cry from last August when Pressel had to withdraw from the
Women's Amateur at Philadelphia Country Club the morning of the
first round of stroke-play qualifying. The health of her mother,
took a turn for the worse and on Sept. 4, she died from breast cancer.
The death also forced Pressel to withdraw from the Junior Solheim
Cup in Sweden.
Pressel has rebounded quite nicely from the tragedy. Her grandfather,
Herb Krickstein, accompanies her to golf competitions and the adversity
has only made Pressel stronger emotionally.
definitely motivated me,” said Pressel. “It was maybe something
I needed, to be motivated. I inherited my competitive fire from
my mother and from grandpa.”
Krickstein knows all about competitive sports. His son, Aaron
Krickstein, starred for many years on
the professional tennis circuit. And now he sees a lot of Aaron
's competitive fire in his
has a big heart,” Herb Krickstein said.
years ago at Pine Needles, Pressel drew Michelle Wie-like galleries
during the first two rounds of the Women's Open when she became,
at age 13, the youngest qualifier in the history of that championship.
Pressel did not make the cut, but her week was filled with answering
questions from the media and signing plenty of autographs. Later
that summer, she reached the semifinals of the Girls' Junior, losing
to eventual champion Nicole Perrot.
forward to 2004 and Pressel's moment at that Women's Open is all
but forgotten. But at the 2003 Girls' Junior, Pressel defeated Wie
in the third round before running into another hot 13-year-old,
Mina Harigae, who won in 19 holes.
yeah definitely,” said Pressel when asked if the lack of publicity
drives her to play harder. “I was thinking about that as I was walking
down [my last hole]. Maybe they'll put my name in the paper tomorrow.”
they'll even be a headline.
is a USGA staff writer.
E-mail him with questions and comments at email@example.com