Pressel personifies fountain of youth

ERIC BENDER -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:17 AM ET

Morgan Pressel played a sizzling practice round yesterday in preparation for the Canadian Women's Open.

If she had kept score, it was the kind of round that could make her a winner this week at the London Hunt Club.

"I'm playing pretty well lately," the youngest player on the LPGA Tour said.

"I'm hitting the ball well and struggled with putting. Not everything has been in place. One thing or another has been out, but lately I'm playing pretty well.

At 18, Pressel said she feels pressure on the course as a rookie and because of the expectations on her to be a role model for young players.

"I put pressure on myself," she said.

Although still a teenager, Pressel is not the least bit shy.

She's ready for this week's tournament and said she feels "like it's home," especially after returning from England on Monday after playing in the British Women's Open.

From Boca Raton, Fla., Pressel said she has family in Detroit and has played in the Windsor area. She was at the Hunt Club in May and played the course when some of the players were introduced.

Pressel said she doesn't know what it will take to be in the winner's circle on Sunday.

"It's a new course (to her) and the greens are large and undulating," she said, adding it is a "tremendous" course.

"It's set up tough. You've got to play the ball. You can't blink or you'll find yourself in a tough spot."

Pressel was a phenom as an amateur, with a career that was topped off with a runner-up finish at last year's U.S. Women's Open. She also qualified for the U.S. Women's Open in 2001 and 2003, setting a record in 2001 as the youngest player to qualify for the event at age 12. She played in six additional LPGA events as a sponsor exemption and didn't finish below 25th.

Last year, she tied for sixth in the LPGA final qualifying tournament to earn exempt status for this season. She turned professional in November and has made $281,000 US in 16 starts, in which she's had four top 10 finishes.

She's been under par in 24 of 53 rounds and at five-foot-five, has a 249-yard driving average.

Her decision to turn pro, rather than go the college route, was strictly a golfing decision, she said.

"It's a personal preference. If you feel ready, do it. If somebody really feels they need two or four years of college experience, then OK."

Pressel said so many young players are emerging because youngsters are concentrating on one sport earlier, rather than playing several sports when they are 10.

She said parents are also more committed to their children's advancement than ever before.

"I think that parents want their kids to be the best at an earlier age," she said.

Of the Asian competition flooding the links, Pressel said it is also because they "work very hard and are dedicated.

"They all have the same swing and they are good. You can't deny that. They must be doing something right."

TODAY'S PRO-AM TEE TIMES

7 a.m.: 1st tee Stacy Prammanasudh; ; 10th tee Young Kim

7:10 a.m.: 1st Heather Young; 10th Nancy Harvey

7:20 a.m.: 1st Lindsey Wright; 10th Sarah Lee

7:30 a.m.: 1st Sherri Turner; 10th Natalie Gulbis

7:40 a.m.: 1st Michelle Redman; 10th Tina Barrett

7:50 a.m.: 1st Angela Standford; 10th Rachel Hetherington

8 a.m.: 1st Lorie Kane; 10th Mi Hyun Kim

8:10 a.m.: 1st Alena Sharp; 10th Nancy Scranton

8:20 a.m.: 1st Jee Young Lee; 10th Jennifer Rosales

8:30 a.m.: 1st Sophie Gustafson; 10th Dawn Coe-Jones

8:40 a.m.: 1st Becky Morgan; 10th Beth Daniel

8:50 a.m.: 1st Meg Mallon; 10th Cristie Kerr

9 a.m.: 1st Aree Song; 10th Chrinstina Kim

9:10 a.m.: 1st Meena Lee; 10th Wendy Ward

Noon: 1st Se Ri Pak; 10th Brittany Lincicome

12:10 p.m.: 1st Laura Diaz; 10th Patricia Meunier-Lebouc

12:20 p.m.: 1st Seon-Hwa Lee; 10th Reilley Rankin

12:30 p.m.: 1st Morgan Pressel; 10th Erica Blasberg

12:40 p.m.: 1st Pat Hurst; 10th Jeong Jang

12:50 p.m.: 1st Candie Kung; 10th Nicole Castrale

1 p.m.: 1st Brandie Burton; 10th Gloria Park

1:10 p.m.: 1st Stephanie Louden; 10th Hilary Lunke

1:20 p.m.: 1st Beth Bauer; 10th Marcy Hart

1:30 p.m.: 1st Joo Mi Kim; 10th Julieta Granada

1:40 p.m.: 1st Virada Nirapathpongporn; 10th Young Jo

1:50 p.m.: 1st Il Mi Chung; 10th Karine Icher

2 p.m.: 1st Amy Hung; 10th Kyeong Bae


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