MOBILE, Ala. – Morgan Pressel’s stature is larger now in Japan.
She has earned champion's status on the Japan LPGA Tour after winning the Salonpas Cup last weekend. She'll be trying to make it back-to-back victories on opposite sides of the planet when she tees it up to start the Bell Micro LPGA Classic Thursday morning.
Pressel was as impressed with Japanese golf fans as they were with her.
“They’re like Solheim Cup crowds,” Pressel said of the enthusiastic and giant galleries.
“It is amazing the support the women’s tour gets there. I was absolutely blown away.”
Pressel played with Japan’s Ai Miyazato and Taiwan’s Yani Tseng in a marquee grouping in the first two rounds. Miyazato is a mega-star there.
“But they were very polite to me,” Pressel said.
Pressel, 21, beat a quality field. Miyazato is No. 2 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, Tseng No. 3.
It was Pressel’s fourth appearance in a tournament in Japan but easily her best showing.
“I’ve never really played well internationally,” Pressel said.
Her new secret?
“I just tried to enjoy it a little more,” she said.
Pressel might be fighting some jet lag this week. She went from her Boca Raton, Fla., home to the Tres Marias Championship in Mexico and afterward flew directly to Japan. She flew from Japan back to Mobile this week. That's approximately 18,800 frequent flier miles in 15 days.
Pressel’s victory made an impression on American stars.
“Morgan flipped the coin,” Angela Stanford said of the fact that Asians have won all five LPGA events played so far this season. Stanford said she’ll be checking out opportunities to play in Japan, too.