Pressel knows path to success

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:21 AM ET

WINNIPEG -- At a young age, Morgan Pressel knew exactly what she wanted to do with her life.

Sure, there were plenty of sacrifices to be made on the long road to becoming a professional golfer but enduring the bumps on that path has been well worth it.

Pressel started out wanting to become a tennis player, but was "too slow" so she focused her energies out on the golf course instead.

"Playing at the U.S. Open when I was 13, that was the eye opener for me," said Pressel, who is one of the favourites going into the $2.2-million CN Canadian Women's Open at St. Charles Country Club, which officially gets underway on Thursday. "That was when I said, 'this is what I want.' I knew what I wanted.

"I felt a little different than the other kids I went to school with, knowing the path I had to take and what it took to get there."

Having an uncle who was a former Top-10 tennis pro in Aaron Krickstein -- who became the youngest player to win a men's professional tennis tournament in 1983 -- has been a huge resource for Pressel to tap into during her journey.

"Aaron has been tremendous," said Pressel, a 22-year-old who lives in Boca Raton, Fla., and is coached by her grandfather, Dr. Herb Krickstein. "We've always had a great relationship. He started to play golf when he retired from tennis and in four years, he was a scratch golfer. It was unbelievable."

Pressel spent a good chunk of Tuesday morning at a Callaway function, which included breakfast and a clinic at Glendale Country Club.

During both her meeting with the media and in dealing with fans young and old, Pressel was engaging and personable.

Pressel is the youngest player to win a major championship, accomplishing the feat in 2007 at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

"It's unbelievable," said Pressel, who currently sits 11th on the LPGA Tour money list with $581,941 in earnings. "When it happened, I was probably more in shock than anything else. It's very exciting and it's an honour. Having major champion next to your name is something I'll have for my whole career and it'll never go away."

Through her foundation, Morgan and Friends, Pressel has been able to leave her mark off the course as well, raising money and awareness for breast cancer, a the cause that is dear to her heart after losing her mother Kathy to the disease in September of 2003

"My mother was always my biggest supporter," said Pressel, whose foundation has already raised more than a million dollars since 2007. "She came to watch me play at Pine Needles (in the U.S. Open) when I was 13 and that was a thrill for me. She encouraged me to play golf, she moved my family from Tampa to Boca Raton to be closer to my grandfather, so that he could mentor me and really help me grow in the game of golf.

"She jumpstarted my career and has always been an inspiration."

As a parting gift Tuesday, Pressel was presented with a white Winnipeg Jets jersey with her name and No. 10 on the back.

After finishing second at the CN Canadian Women's Open in 2009, she would love to take it one step further and earn her third LPGA Tour victory.

"I love this event and I've always enjoyed coming to Canada," said Pressel. "I've always said we should have more events in Canada. The crowds are so tremendous and everybody loves their golf here. The people are so nice and they're very supportive of me and I appreciate the support I get when I'm out here.

"This is probably my best year of golf that I've ever had, in terms of consistency and the way I've played. As tough as the competition is, I'm playing better and my results are improving."


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