Full-court Pressel

ERIC FRANCIS, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:43 AM ET

CALGARY -- Good thing Priddis Greens, like most good golf tracks in the world, bans the use of cellphones on the course.

Otherwise, you get the feeling Morgan Pressel would be a lot like that pal of yours who spends every round pounding away mindless messages between shots.

As one of the leading personalities on the LPGA Tour, she's always got something to say.

Case in point: Minutes before reaching for her driver to open the CN Canadian Women's Open Thursday, she grabbed her BlackBerry to make an important observation.

"Love a paper with hockey on the front page...even if it's the Flames," she posted on Twitter.

Yesterday, after getting back into contention by firing the low round of the day -- a 5-under 66 -- the 21-year-old LPGA star signed her scorecard and immediately turned on her electronic lifeline.

"Just checking messages," beamed Pressel, one of the reasons women's golf appears poised to become more relevant than its ever been by reaching out to fans in every way possible.

"I've gotten a pretty good response to Twitter. It's been interesting -- people come up to me and say 'Hey, I love following you on Twitter.' It's like, 'really?' Like, what could I possibly have to say that'd be of any interest to anybody else? But people seem to like it because I guess people just like knowing what it's like out here."

Wearing a diamond-encrusted Canadian flag pin on her hat and interacting occasionally with the large gathering of fans following her on course, the youngest player ever to win an LPGA major at age 17 seems to be enjoying her time here, unlike others who are all business.

On Friday night, she posted twitpics of her and her grandparents cowboying it up at a private LPGA party at a local nightspot.

"They forced me to wear the cowboy hat -- I didn't want to," laughed Pressel, who is embracing Calgary every bit as much as Calgarians have embraced her.

"I wasn't going to ride that mechanical bull, though. I hurt my back riding a roller-coaster. My physical therapist was there and she said, 'You're not getting on that bull.'

"It's fun to be here. We were in that western bar last night and there was a Flames flag. I just thought that was so cool -- they wouldn't have that at home (in Florida). Nobody cares about the Panthers."

Despite being born and raised in Florida, Pressel is a die-hard Detroit Red Wings fan who cites several players and GM Ken Holland as friends.

"I just love hockey. It's so exciting," said Pressel, whose hockey-playing father is from Motown.

"I actually got interested in it at the Olympics (in 2002) when Team USA did really well -- sorry, not Team Canada."

Informed it was Canada that actually won the Olympic tourney, she admitted she knew nothing about any team outside her Wings.

She shrugged when asked about Panther-turned-Flame Jay Bouwmeester and confirmed she couldn't name a Flame. Who cares? She's a fan, nonetheless.

Moving from 49th to 10th with a round matched only by tourney leader Suzann Pettersen yesterday, Pressel may be a longshot to catch the red-hot Norwegian given her nine-stroke deficit.

But the attractive youngster who qualified for the U.S. Open at age 12 is guaranteed to be a hit with locals again today.

"Another round like that and you never know what can happen," said Pressel, sporting a unique black outfit with gold accents yesterday.

"Everything from the course to the crowds have been great this week."

Or, as she tweeted:

"Another great party by CN... this is a great event."

ERIC.FRANCIS@SUNMEDIA.CA


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