Amateur Pressel Suffers the Cruelest of Fate of All

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2005 U.S. WomenCHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. -- Morgan Pressel was walking up the 18th fairway, on the way to the shot that might have won her the U.S. Women's Open. She looked up, squinted into the distance and suddenly, cruelly, she watched that dream disappear.
 
Just 24 hours earlier, it was Pressel who insisted that nobody remembers the person who finishes second.
 
Morgan Pressel
Morgan Pressel's dreams of becoming the youngest major champion in golf history were dashed with Birdie Kim's heroics at the 18th.
On Sunday, it was Birdie Kim, with a spectacular chip-in from the sand with the tournament on the line, who proved Pressel knew what she was talking about.
 
As Pressel watched Kim's blast from the bunker drop, she looked behind her, put her hands on her head in dismay and smiled.
 
'It was like, `I can't believe that actually just happened,'' Pressel said.
 
Indeed, it had to have been a jolt after a round in which she played well enough to win, shooting a 4-over 75 to stay tied or within a shot of the lead all day.

Playing in the final group, Pressel headed to the 18th hole knotted with Kim at 4 over. Not a single player had made birdie there all day. After Pressel knocked her drive safely into the fairway, and with Kim bunkered 30 yards from the hole up ahead, it figured the 17-year-old amateur was two decent shots away from no worse than a tie and an 18-hole playoff.
 
Kim changed that story line and forced Pressel to try to pull off a miracle of her own.

Instead, Pressel hit her second shot in the rough, short of the bunker, and when she hacked out to 20 feet from the hole, the tournament was officially lost.

She flipped her wedge aside, bent down and put her hands on her knees, tore off her golf glove and slapped it on her leg.

Moments later, after a two-putt that left her tied at 289 for second with 19-year-old amateur Brittany Lang, Pressel was crying -- and not for the first time during this grueling week at Cherry Hills.
 
'I don't hide (my emotions) well,' she said, still crying 30 minutes after the last shot. 'I try. But I don't hide them well, as you can see.'
 
After the emotion of the moment has subsided, she might look at this as a good experience that could set her up for the win she thought she might get this year.
 
But on Sunday, she was thinking about missed opportunities -- a putt that wound up one revolution short of a birdie on No. 16, another one like that on No. 4, an approach shot that wound up too short after being in perfect position on No. 14.
 
'I know I can win,' she said. 'I know I can play well. I was there the whole day.'
 
But, she reiterated, 'I finished second and I'm not holding a trophy.'
 
Her grandfather, Herb Krickstein, said he was proud of what Morgan did on this day, but wasn't discounting the pain she felt.
 
'You'd like to say she'll get more chances to win the U.S. Open, but she may never get another chance,' he said. 'She might and I hope she will, but you don't know. You'd like to just toss this one off, but it's a tough one. It didn't work out, and it's no fault of hers.'
 
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