LPGA FIELDS OPEN
Pressure puts away Pressel
If anybody thinks Morgan Pressel doesn't take this game seriously, they weren't standing by her at the scorer's tent yesterday after her final-round 71 left her five shots behind Michelle Wie in their personal match-play pairing at yesterday's Fields Open in Hawaii.
Pressel tried her hardest to hold back the tears after she finished bogey-bogey, but they wouldn't listen as she cried steadily for 15 minutes. It was clear she wanted to give Wie a go. Unfortunately for her, the golf gods didn't shine down upon her as she wound up in a tie for 11th.
"I don't know what I can take from this," Pressel said of playing in front of one of the largest galleries of her young career. "It might be something to forget. You want to remember all the positives and this final day certainly wasn't one of them."
She and Wie began the final round tied for ninth, six strokes off the pace set by South Korean rookie Seon Hwa Lee, who lost to Meena Lee in a three-hole playoff. She had a hint on Friday that this might not be her week as her iron play let her down. But yesterday, her normally reliable putting stroke left the course early on.
"On Friday, my iron play was pretty poor," Pressel said. "My driving was good, but today everything just bottomed out. Like, I don't know why I putted that line at 17 and let it get away from me. If I birdie 17 and 18, it looked like it would be right in there. I guess that's what I had in mind, but I shouldn't have hit my shots so hard. I don't know."
Pressel played the front nine in 2 under thanks to her second birdie of the day at the par-5 fifth, but would have to wait another eight holes before birdieing again. She had a 15-footer for eagle at the par-5 13th that slipped by, leaving a tap-in birdie to go to 10 under to trail Wie by only one after she bogeyed the hole.
Wie got it back with a birdie at the par-5 14th as Pressel parred. Wie picked up another birdie at the 17th to go to 13 under as Pressel bogeyed to fall to 9. It was all academic after that.
"Yeah, it was great playing with her," Wie said. "She's a nice girl. She played great. She struggled there at the end, but she's a very talented player who will play well this year."
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Morgan Pressel shot a final-round 71 yesterday and finished tied for 11th, five shots behind playing partner Michelle Wie.
Pressel had a solid two-week stay in Hawaii. She managed a tie for fifth last week at the SBS Open and a tie for 11th yesterday to earn a little more than $50,000 total, but she didn't see it that way.
"I mean, it was a good start, but still very disappointed, still not happy," Pressel said. "Hopefully, I can do better the rest of the season. It was fun (playing with Michelle). We had a great time. She played really well. I've got to hand it to her, she really putted well today and it looked like she could close it out.
"The galleries were fun. They were obviously pulling for her. They were very nice. I like playing in front of people, I just didn't have it today. There were definitely some people out there cheering. I just didn't give them much to cheer about. Sorry, but it's terribly disappointing."
Creamer makes a run: If Paula Creamer is interested in becoming the top player in the world, she needs to play better than she did the past two weeks in Hawaii. At last week's SBS Open at Turtle Bay, Creamer finished in a tie for 13th.
She began yesterday's final round in a tie for 37th, but a closing 67 shot her up 26 spots to a tie for 11th with eight other golfers, including Pressel and 2005 Women's British Open champion Jeong Jang.
Now, whether it's enough to hold off Wie for the No. 2 spot in the world remains to be seen. Wie needed only 15 points to pass Creamer. Her third-place finish might be just enough to put Wie into the lead. The list comes out Tuesday. Stay tuned.
Inside the numbers: Yesterday's scoring average of 71.795 was the highest of the week, which was unusual since there were only 73 golfers in the field as opposed to the 132 who teed it up on Thursday. Friday's 71.400 was the lowest for the week.
There were only 18 golfers who shot in the 60s compared to 33 on Friday. The hardest hole for the week was the par-4 18th with a weekly scoring average of 4.270. Yesterday the golfers averaged 4.356 at the picturesque closing hole with nine birdies, 41 pars, 13 bogeys, nine double bogeys and one quadruple bogey by Karen Stupples.
Stupples had back-to-back bogeys on the two holes prior to posting the dreaded snowman. Those six shots cost her nearly $14,000. The easiest hole for the week was the par-5 14th with a scoring average of 4.620. Yesterday, the golfers averaged 4.548 shots at that hole with 36 birdies, 34 pars and only three bogeys.