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Notes Pressel in Right Spot For Dramatic Endings

McDonaldHAVRE DE GRACE, Md. -- The LPGA Tour has delivered some dramatic conclusions to their majors during the last year'notably Birdie Kim holing a bunker shot on the 72nd hole at the U.S. Womens Open, and Karrie Webb holing out a 116-yard wedge from the 18th fairway for eagle to get into a playoff at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
The common thread? Morgan Pressel watched them both.
Pressel was in the 18th fairway, tied for the lead at the Womens Open when she saw Kim make an improbable birdie.
I had put myself in a great position and just kind of watched it all disappear quickly, Pressel said Tuesday. But thats what happens. That happens in sport all the time.
It happened again at Mission Hills. This time, Pressel was well out of contention but paired with Webb, who wound up shooting 65. Pressel cant recall a better shot than the wedge struck by Webb.
It was one line from the moment it came off her club face, Pressel said. You can just tell. And the way that hole was set up with everybody on the right side and this huge stadium setting, it was the weirdest feeling. Even over my birdie putt, I was still shaking after having watched that shot. It was really neat.
Her goal to witness another spectacular ending of her own doing.
Michelle Wie arrived at Bulle Rock last Monday and played practice rounds for the LPGA Championship until leaving for Canoe Brook in New Jersey to start getting ready for the U.S. Open qualifier.
She finished at 1-over 143 after the 36-hole qualified and missed out on a playoff by five shots.
No wonder she showed up Tuesday at Bulle Rock looking like she needed a day off.
I felt like I was 80 years old when I woke up this morning because I couldnt move, the 16-year-old from Hawaii said. And Im a little bit stiff today. Im a little bit sore. But I think if I stretch well today that Im feeling my energy level is really up right now.
The LPGA Championship created a criteria for Wie last year, allowing an amateur to play for the first time. She finished second, three shots behind Sorenstam. This time, she made it into the field as a pro because of her top finishes in the majors last year.
The U.S. Open isnt for everybody, especially those who have been through its rigors.
Paul Azinger didnt bother entering U.S. Open qualifying this year, and it wasnt an oversight. He tied for 29th in the 97 PGA Championship at Winged Foot, then played their last year during the week of the Barclays Classic.
All I know is I played my 18 holes there last year and decided I wasnt even going to qualify, Azinger said. I was playing terrible, and it just seemed too hard. And I dont need that beating.
Azinger last played a U.S. Open in 2002 at Bethpage Black. He is using a one-time exemption from career money to play the PGA Tour this year, and is in his last year with ABC in the broadcast booth. His schedule is important, and even after a 10th-place finish at the Memorial, he had no regrets.
I stuck to my guns on that one, Azinger said. Im hitting it great, but I need a week off. And thats a good week to take off. Because that week will take two weeks out of you.
Beth Daniels case is different.
She is entered in the U.S. Open qualifier outside Baltimore on Monday, but never had any intention of playing. When she turned in her entry form, when asked to mark where she would like to play sectional qualifying, Daniel wrote Top 35 on the LPGA money list.
That meant two things. She hoped she would be exempt through the money list, and she wasnt about to qualify. She is playing a major this week, and would be have to play 36 holes on a course she would not have no time to see before the qualifier.
Besides, the 49-year-old Daniel is already in the Hall of Fame.
Perhaps these words from her mother persuaded her not to bother'Youre usually miserable that week.
Then there was John Daly, who withdrew from the U.S. Open qualifier in Columbus. He had other plans Monday, playing in Jim Furyks charity exhibition Monday called the Exelon Invitational. Daly won six skins worth $130,000, which is probably $130,000 more than he might have earned at Winged Foot.
Brett Wetterich is having a terrific year, but it might not include golfs two oldest majors.
He appeared to have qualified for the British Open as among the top three on the PGA TOUR money list not otherwise exempt through Memphis, but the PGA TOUR player handbook incorrectly listed the cutoff for the world ranking criteria on the same date.
In fact, the top 50 from the world after the Memorial were exempt.
Three players in the top 50 were ahead of Wetterich on the money list'Arron Oberholser, Rory Sabbatini and Rod Pampling'and got the exemption from that category. And when the world ranking came out Monday after the Memorial, Wetterichs tie for second moved him up to No. 54.
That day, he went to U.S. Open qualifying in Columbus and failed to make it.
The security officer assigned to Michelle Wie this week at the LPGA Championship wore a white cap Tuesday with Morgan Pressels autograph on the bill. ... There was a Steve Williams sighting in Columbus, Ohio, last week before the Memorial, which made no sense considering his boss, Tiger Woods, wasnt playing and the caddie lives in New Zealand. But it turned out to be true. Williams was there to do an outing with Valvoline, his top sponsor as a race car driver. ... More renovations are under away on the Blue Monster at Doral. With a World Golf Championship coming in March the greens will be redone with TifEagle Bermuda, and the bunkers will be renovated. As long as the tour doesnt tinker with the Monster Grill, where burgers are served behind the 18th green, the players probably wont mind. ... Retief Goosen and David Howell have signed endorsement deals with CA, title sponsor of the WGC event at Doral.
Vijay Singh has failed to finish under par in his last three tournaments, the first time he has done that in regular PGA Tour events since 1998.
I just earned a ticket to hell.'Mark Brooks, after qualifying for the U.S. Open.
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