Saturday Notebook: Timing Everything For Pressel’s Caddie Hinshaw
By David Shefter, USGA
Roswell, Ga. – Sam Hinshaw was about to go without a bag for the final round of the LPGA Michelob Ultra Championship at Kingsmill in Williamsburg, Va., when the caddie master approached her with a job opportunity. The two had become friendly over the years and Hinshaw’s player, Yu-Ping Lin, had failed to make the cut.
The final day was going to be a 36-hole affair due to poor weather earlier in the week, but Hinshaw was more than up to the task.
“[The caddie master] came and asked on Saturday evening, ‘Do you want to work with Morgan Pressel tomorrow?’ ” said Hinshaw. “Sure, why not.”
Pressel’s caddie had developed blisters and couldn’t go the 36, so Hinshaw hooked a new client, a 17-year-old phenom who had made the cut at the Kraft Nabisco Championship in March.
Hinshaw went the two rounds at Kingsmill and worked with Pressel the next week outside Atlanta at the Chick Fil-A Charity Classic. By then, Hinshaw had worked out an arrangement with Pressel’s grandfather, Herb Krickstein. She would not take on any full-time employment if he would give her Pressel’s bag at the U.S. Women’s Open.
The deal was consummated.
And most of the golf world knows what happened at Cherry Hills Country Club the last week of June. Pressel came within a whisker of becoming the youngest major champion in golf history and the second amateur to win that championship. Only Birdie Kim’s miraculous hole-out from a greenside bunker at 18 prevented a possible playoff the next day.
But the chemistry between player and caddie was working and Hinshaw, who has been working the LPGA circuit for seven years, went with Pressel to Toledo, Ohio, two weeks later for the Jamie Farr Classic. She was then asked to come to Atlanta for the U.S. Women’s Amateur (Pressel used a different caddie at the U.S. Girls’ Junior in Idaho).
“It has worked out nicely for me,” said Hinshaw, a 41-year-old who played collegiately at Appalachian State from 1982-86.
Hinshaw tried to conquer the business world following graduation before being lured back to her true passion: golf. She played 22 events on the Futures Tour from 1997-98 and barely made enough ($50) for a dinner at a nice steakhouse.
“I had to find another way to make a living because I wasn’t doing it swinging the club,” she said. “I can see the shot. I can’t pull off the shot.”
So she found caddieing. Hinshaw worked with Jennifer Rosales for 18 months and Val Skinner for another 18 months. She credits Skinner for teaching her the finer points of caddie work.
Now she has a star in the making with Pressel, and the two have forged a nice chemistry. It’s worked well this week at the Women’s Amateur, with Pressel now a victory away from taking the championship.
“We make each other laugh,” said Pressel. “She calls me loser every day.”
Added Pressel: “She’s been terrific. We laugh a lot and she keeps me loose. She’s very precise and she works really hard.”
Hinshaw hopes to be with Pressel next year, where she hopes to eventually play full-time on the LPGA Tour. She plans to enter the Qualifying School this fall and can play six events as a non-member until she graduates from high school next May.
“[Morgan] is solid,” said Hinshaw. “I did an interview [on Friday] and I told the young man that I expect her to win on the LPGA Tour in her first season. Without a doubt, she is mentally strong. She is a strong fighter.”
Hinshaw Part II
During the course of the semifinals, Hinshaw came across a young girl who was about six years old.
“Do you need a caddie?” asked Hinshaw. “Should I give you my business card? And her father went, ‘Yeah.’ ”
Just being at the Women’s Amateur, Hinshaw noticed that the future of the women’s game is in solid shape. In round two, Pressel and Mina Harigae each shot the equivalent of 67s, with Pressel pulling out a 19-hole win.
“I have been amazed at the caliber of play at this entire tournament,” said Hinshaw. “These kids can play. I feel good about the future of golf.”
Alison Whitaker, a 4-and-3 loser to Maru Martinez in the semifinals definitely plans to return for the 2006 Women’s Amateur, which is scheduled next August at Pumpking Ridge outside of Portland, Ore. By virtue of reaching the semifinals, the 19-year-old Australian has a two-year Women’s Amateur exemption, so she can also play the 2007 championship.
“I will look at playing the North and South [in Pinehurst, N.C.] next year,” said Whitaker of her future plans. “I would also like to play in some non-English-speaking countries. The French Stroke Play is around the time of the British [Ladies Open] Amateur. And there’s the St. Rule Trophy in St. Andrews. I know those events worked out for the girls who went over there last year but it didn’t this year.”
As for what she learned about herself this week, Whitaker said, “I’d have to say the day I played Amanda Blumenherst and Ryann [O’Toole] was a big day for me in terms of how I look at myself when I am out on the golf course. Those were probably two of my best wins; definitely the win against Amanda, holing out a putt for birdie [at 18] in front of about 100 people [to extend the match]. Just knowing that you can do it and you don’t have to be the No. 1 [stroke-play] qualifier.”
Emerging Golf Power?
South Americans have certainly made their mark in the golf world. Colombia has produced Marisa Baena on the women’s side and 1999 U.S. Junior runner-up Camilo Villegas is a rising star on the Nationwide Tour. And 15-year-old Maria Uribe advanced to the quarterfinals of the Women’s Amateur this week. Chile has Nicole Perrot, the 2001 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion and U.S. Women’s Amateur runner-up, as well as 2005 U.S. Amateur Public Links runner-up Martin Ureta.
Argentina can boast of professionals Robert de Vicenzo, winner of the inaugural U.S. Senior Open in 1980, as well as Angel Cabrera and Eduardo Romero. Brazil has LPGA Tour player Candy Hanneman and now 16-year-old Angela Park, while Paraguay can boast of Carlos Franco and 2004 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion Julieta Granada who just turned professional.
Add Venezuela to that list now. Maru Martinez could become the most famous golfer from a country best known for producing baseball stars Johan Santana, the 2004 American League Cy Young Award winner, Gold Glove shortstop Omar Vizquel and slugger Andres Galarraga.
“Yeah, we have a lot of baseball players here,” said Martinez. “Other than that, we’re not very big into sports. I think our strength is the oil industry at home.”
Martinez did receive a phone call from close friend Charlie Guerra of the Venezuelan Golf Federation. Martinez competed in the 2004 Women’s World Amateur Team Championships in Puerto Rico and although her country tied the Russian Federation for 11th, she finished tied for fourth individually.
“He wished me good luck,” said Martinez, who has also been followed by member of her Auburn University women’s golf team. “So I know they are keeping up with me [back home].”
Educating The Crew
Courtney Young, the director of agronomy for Settindown Creek Course, felt he needed to give members of his grounds crew a little history lesson about the Women’s Amateur, explaining how the event was started and some background information on past winners. But he also wanted to create something to illustrate the differences between stroke and match play. Both formats are used at this championship, so he designed a nine-hole putting course on the maintenance green.
The 24 crew members then took part in nine holes of stroke play. After a break in the maintenance building to total up scores, the crew went back out for an additional nine holes. The field was then cut to the low eight scorers for match play. No playoff was necessary to break any ties. Three rounds later, irrigation technician Scott Brown became the winner, 2 and 1. His prize was a day’s vacation, but the whole exercise was used to further educate the guys on how this championship would be played out on the golf course.
“That was great,” said Young. “We used the regular tee markers, not the chairs. All the Rules applied for stroke and match play. They had to putt everything out in stroke play and they had concessions in match play and the player who was away went first. They got real interested as the field narrowed, so they could watch the final guys. And we didn’t have to put anybody on the clock.”
Young said this entire week has been a great experience for him and his staff. He even got a few members to volunteer in the course preparation.
“You build up to it for three years from the time you find out you have been selected and it has everything we dreamed it would be,” said Young, who has held positions at two Tennessee clubs that have had and will have USGA events (Holston Hills in Knoxville, 2004 Women’s Mid-Amateur; and The Honors Course in Chattanooga, 2005 U.S. Mid-Amateur and 1991 U.S. Amateur). “It’s been a fantastic experience.”
Odds And Ends
Seen on Morgan Pressel’s golf bag: A miniature California license plate with her name on it. It’s quite appropriate this week, since her first five opponents – and victims – have been from the Golden State. … She has also defeated a 14-year-old (Jane Rah), 15-year-old (Mina Harigae), 16-year-old (Angela Park), 17-year-old (Sooji Cho) and 18-year-old (Jennie Lee). She gets a 21-year-old in the final. … Maru Martinez said the short flight from Caracas to Atlanta has allowed her entire family to be here this week. Besides her father/caddie, Julio, Martinez has her 10-year-old brother, also named Julio, and her mother (Maru) in attendance. She said the flight only takes 5½ hours. … Auburn coach Kim Evans has also been here to watch Martinez along with Roswell resident and Lady Tigers sophomore-to-be Margaret Shirley. … Martinez’s brother, Maru, got an autograph from Pressel shortly after her interview in the media center. The two players shook hands and both wished each other good luck in the final. Maru also signed Julio’s program.
David Shefter is a USGA staff writer. E-mail him with questions or comments at email@example.com.
U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship
TICKETS – Admission and parking for all seven days of the championship are free of charge.
WHO CAN PLAY? – The U.S. Women’s Amateur is open to female amateurs who have USGA Handicap Indexes not exceeding 5.4. Entries closed June 15.
DEFENDING CHAMPION – Jane Park, 18, or Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., will defend the title she won in 2004.
THE FIELD – The 2005 field will include seven Georgia players. They are Laura Coble of Augusta, Jackie Beers of Bonaire, Alina Lee of Evans, Kyu Ri Ban of Duluth, Dori Carter of Valdosta, Diana Ramage of Fayetteville and Margaret Shirley of Roswell.
TELEVISION COVERAGE – Match-play rounds will be telecast on The Golf Channel Aug. 3-7 from 4-6 p.m., EDT.
OTHER PROMINENT PAST CHAMPIONS – Patty Berg, 1938; Betty Jameson, 1939, 1940; Babe Didrickson Zaharias, 1946; Louise Suggs, 1947; Beth Daniel, 1975, 1977; Juli Simpson (Inkster), 1980, 1981, 1982; Pat Hurst, 1990; Kelli Kuehne, 1995, 1996; Grace Park, 1998; Dorothy Delasin, 1999.
CHAMPIONSHIP COURSE CONDITIONS – The following mowing heights will be used for the championship: fairways 1/2"; tees 7/16"; collars 1/4". Putting greens will be prepared so that they are firm and fast; to measure approximately 11 feet on the USGA Stimpmeter. Intermediate rough: 1", width approximately 72" along fairways, width approximately 30" wide around putting greens. Primary rough: 2 1/4".
FUTURE WOMEN’S AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP SITES – The 2006 U. S. Women’s Amateur will be conducted at Pumpkin Ridge G.C., North Plains, Ore., Aug. 7 – 13.
MEDIA CONTACT – The Media Center for the U.S. Women’s Amateur will be located in the main clubhouse at Ansley Golf Club. Rhonda Glenn and Beth Murrison will be the USGA staff members on site. The Media Center phone numbers are (678)639-7488 and (678)639-7494.