Morgan Pressel, 17, of Boca Raton, Fla., won the 2005 U.S. Women's Amateur Championship with a 9-and-8 victory over Maru Martinez, 21, of Venezuela in the scheduled 36-hole final at the 6,341-yard, par-72 Settindown Creek Course of Ansley Golf Club in Roswell, Ga.
It was Pressel's first victory in a USGA championship. She was runner-up in the 2005 U.S. Women's Open.
`It's my biggest win," said Pressel. "I'm proud of myself for how I played and how I handled myself through the week ... I just kept waiting and it all came together this week ... it just means so much to me to have played this well."
Pressel took an immediate lead when Martinez had tree trouble on the first hole, bogeyed and lost the hole. A birdie at the 3rd gave Pressel a 2-up lead. Martinez rallied with a winning par on the short 5th and won the 7th with a birdie to square the match.
The players were closely matched with Pressel making the turn at 3 under par and Martinez at 2 under par, with normal match-play concessions.
But Pressel's relentless iron play and steady putting helped her dominate the later holes of the morning round and throughout the afternoon.
Pressel holed a 3-foot birdie putt to win the 9th to go 1 up. Martinez fought back, holing a 24-foot chip on the 12th for a birdie and drew the match to all square when Pressel missed a 9-footer to tie. The match was again square, but only temporarily.
Pressel birdied three of the next six holes to go to lunch with a 4-up lead.
"Definitely on 16, 17 and 18, I started to not play well," said Martinez. "It was like my body wasn't responding the way I wanted it to. I was probably tired because I just tried to do the same thing but nothing went right."
Pressel and Martinez are petite but sturdy and Pressel had a 20-yard advantage off the tee in the morning.
After rain during the lunch break, both players hit longer approach shots in the afternoon.
Martinez had trouble finding the greens, losing six holes, two with balls in the water. She won just two holes in that stretch and was in the desperate category of being eight holes down with nine to play.
With softer greens, any ball struck near the flag stick stuck like a dart. Pressel continued the sharp iron play she had demonstrated all week. On the 19th hole she hit to within six feet of the hole and the birdie putt was conceded. She hit to within three feet and made birdie at the 20th. Her approach to the 22nd hole was within six feet for a conceded birdie. On the 26th hole, another 5-foot birdie putt was conceded.
"I struck the ball extremely well this week," said Pressel. "I made a lot of putts."
The match ended quickly on the par-5 28th hole. Martinez hit the green in regulation, but three-putted from 45 feet. Pressel was on the fringe in three strokes, just 16 feet away and hit her first putt to within a foot of the hole. Martinez conceded the putt, the hole and the match.
In the semifinal round, Pressel defeated Angela Park, 16, of Torrance, Calif., 3 and 1. Martinez defeated Alison Whitaker, 18, of Australia, 4 and 3.