Her eyes are green; her smile is wide. She really has that younger sister kind of look.
This is Morgan Pressel: newly-turned teenage professional; LPGA Tour hopeful; and future superstar.
Pressel, who officially declared professional status Thursday, is not Michelle Wie. She doesnt have Wies physical characteristics. She doesnt have her money. She doesnt have her fame.
But Wie doesnt have Pressels amateur record. She doesnt have her trophies. And she doesnt have that ber confidence that comes along with all that success.
My goal is to be No. 1. Theres nothing better than to be No. 1, Pressel said.
Pressel has been the No. 1 junior player, the No. 1 amateur player, and now she wants to be the No. 1 player in all of womens golf.
First, she has to make through Q-school.
Pressel will compete in the final stage of the LPGA Tour Qualifying Tournament in two weeks. She will be one of 144 players vying for 24 tour cards for the 2006 season.
But even if she gets through, she wont be an official LPGA Tour member until May 23. Thats when she turns 18. And thats when tour officials have decided to award her full status.
She applied for early membership earlier this year, but was denied by then commissioner Ty Votaw. So now ' assuming that she can get one of those two dozen cards ' she will have to rely on her allotment of six sponsors exemptions in order to compete over the first five months of next year. And while shell be able to pocket her earnings, none of it will be official.
Its still why? Whats the point? Pressel asked incredulously. Why cant I play sponsors exemptions and be a tour member? It doesnt make any sense to me.
Its a good bet that Pressel will graduate from Q-school, but its not a guarantee.
She barely made it out of the first stage, where she was over par and near the cut line after three rounds of the 72-hole qualifier. But she didnt get frustrated or flustered. She got aggressive. And she shot 9-under 63 to bolt into the final stage.
Pressel is aggressive by nature. Her grandfather, Herb Krickstein, says she gets her competitiveness from her mother, Kathy, who died of cancer two years ago.
Morgan still gets teary-eyed when the subject of her mother enters into conversation. She also cries when she wins, and cries when she loses.
She cried even more a month later, when she won the biggest amateur prize of them all, the U.S. Womens Amateur Championship.
Shes quite emotional because she takes everything personally, and expects so much out of herself.
Those expectations are warranted. And they wont diminish simply because her level of competition is about to greatly increase.
The goal is to win. Not just to beat Michelle, not just to beat Paula (Creamer), not just to beat Annika (Sorenstam), but the goal is to win, she said.
Thats Pressels goal for the Q-school finals. She doesnt want to be among the 24 card recipients. She doesnt want to have to worry about needing a closing 63 to graduate.
Im going to go out and try to win, because first place is going to get in for sure, she said.
Winning is always at the forefront of Pressels mind, because winning makes her the best. Its what shes always been at every level of golf, and what she wants to continue to be.
It wont be easy. Sorenstam isnt going to go away anytime soon. Creamer will be a formidable foe for many years to come. The tour has a bevy of talented 20-somethings from around the world. And there are plenty of other accomplished teenagers just waiting to make their mark.
And then theres Wie.
Pressel has been vocal in her criticisms of her 16-year-old rival, the one she defeated 3 and 2 in the 2003 Girls Junior ' about her lack of amateur pedigree, about her exposure, about the merits of her things given.
Because of Wies eschewing of most amateur tournaments and penchant for playing in professional events, the two have rarely gone head-to-head.
But Pressel cant wait for the opportunity to match their skills over the coming years.
Rivalries can be a great thing; they can bring a lot of attention to the tour, she said, and then added with a broad smile of confidence. Im not going to shy away from it.
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