Pressel's decision looks good now

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:45 AM ET

Morgan Pressel had a decision to make after graduating from high school.

She could have taken a full-ride scholarship to Duke University or fight for an opportunity to play on the LPGA tour.

She chose the latter.

And less than a year after graduating from Saint Andrew's School in Boca Raton, Fla., Pressel was celebrating her first LPGA win.

"I don't think that was really something where I said 'Oh now that I've won I made the right decision,' " Pressel said. "I think that almost right away I kind of knew - I got off to a good start in the season last year and I just knew that this is where I wanted to be.

"I wanted to be out here competing against the best players in the world and this was going to further my education in golf that I wasn't going to get at Duke.

"Duke is a great place and I would have had a great experience, but I've always thought that this was the right decision."

MILESTONE VICTORY

By winning the Kraft Nabisco Championship in March, Pressel, 19, became the youngest player to win an LPGA title.

She turned pro at 17 after being granted an age exemption allowing her to apply for her tour card a year early.

Pressel then went on to earn her card by finishing in a sixth-place tie at the LPGA final qualifying tournament.

Today she'll tee off on the 10th hole with Seon Hwa Lee of South Korea and Japan's Ai Miyazato (8:49 a.m.) in the first round of the CN Canadian Women's Open at the Royal Mayfair Golf Club.

"I'm excited to come back to the Canadian Open," she said. "Obviously it's a different venue, but I really like playing here. It's a beautiful place and a great golf course. I had a great experience last year. I didn't really play so well and I think that my game is in a much better spot, so hopefully I can play better this year."

Currently, Pressel sits eighth on the LPGA money list with $836,048 in earnings.

She followed up her win at the Nabisco in Rancho Mirage, California with a second-place finish at the Jaime Farr Owens Corning Classic in Sylvania, Ohio in July. There she recorded her first hole-in-one as a professional.

Two weeks ago, she failed to make the cut at the Women's British Open.

FIRST-TIME WINNERS

"I think that's one of the great things about the LPGA Tour this season is that there have been so many first-time winners. So in a tournament there are so many different people that are good enough to come out on top any given week and that's great," she said. "It shows the depth of the LPGA and how many really great players we have out here."

Pressel is one of a number of rising stars on the tour.

Having so many young players on tour has helped the teenager make the transition to the professional ranks.

"I think there's a lot of players out here who I grew up with through junior golf," Pressel said. "All these players who I've known since I started playing junior golf at 12, 12 and they're all out here competing and playing against the best in the world. So just to have that familiarity is helpful. But I've made so many great friends, so it's wonderful."


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