Morgan Pressel, 18, fired a 3-under round of 69 Sunday at the Kraft Nabisco Championship in Rancho Mirage, Calif., the first major of the LPGA's 2007 season. Then, she waited.
She walked off No. 18 three shots out of it - until the field fell back to her.
In a series of remarkable collapses, Catriona Matthew, Brittany Lincicome and Suzann Pettersen all dropped strokes in the late stages of their rounds (Pettersen herself blew a four-shot lead with four holes to play). At the end of the day, Pressel's 69 was good enough to win the championship by one stroke over Pettersen, Matthew and Lincicome, and she became the youngest woman ever to win a major on the LPGA Tour.
Here is what Pressel had to say after the championship.
Question: Just winning the Kraft Nabisco Championship, becoming a Rolex first-time winner; the youngest player to win a major championship at 18 years old, 10 months, nine days. The third player to make the Kraft Nabisco Championship, your first career win; 28th player in history to win a major as your first win. You also qualify for the ADT Championship, since this is the first winner's event of the year. Talk about how excited you are right now.
MORGAN PRESSEL: That's a long list. That's exciting. You know, really an overwhelming week. And I got off to a little bit of a rough start with the 2-over on the front the first day. And I just said to myself stay patient. This golf course is playing tough. The pins are going to get more difficult and the greens are going to get firmer. And I managed to play better when the conditions got tougher. So it's just exciting. This is a dream come true.
Q. Was it an advantage to be kind of under the radar today?
MORGAN PRESSEL: Yeah, I a little bit. I'm definitely a scoreboard watcher, and I like to know what's going on, who is playing well. I thought Stacy was playing well. Obviously Suzann was at 6. And so I knew that I had to make some birdies. And I missed a few opportunities, missed one on 9 and one on 11 that I thought I could make. But in there I made some great clutch par putts of four, five and six feet. Especially 15, 16, 17, I made three putts probably about five feet each. And I knew those were going to be some pretty -- especially the one on 17 I knew because I was 2-under, had a pretty good chance. And actually going into 17, I turned to my caddie and I said, "I'd like to get this 3 going into the last two holes. I'd like to be at 3 under." He said that certainly would give them something to think about. And that was what I did.
Q. Could you kind of take us through the after round, kind of a play-by-play in terms of what was going through your mind. At one point you see the board change from 5 to 3. How nervous were you doing nothing and --
MORGAN PRESSEL: A lot more nervous. A lot more nervous doing nothing, because you can't control what's going on. When you're out there and when you're playing, it's a lot easier to control what you do than to wait and see what somebody else does. And I was waiting around there by the 18th, by the putting green, and it was a little hectic and a little chaotic. I decided to go over to the range where it was a little bit quieter and was getting updates from Donna Andrews, where Suzann was hitting it and whether Brittany made her putt or not. There was a lot going on. I was a little shaky. I was hitting balls to try to calm myself down.
Q. Morgan, you're probably used to being the youngest to accomplish feats. Does this mean anything to you, is this different?
MORGAN PRESSEL: This is a dream to be out here and to win a major championship, and especially with my first win. And I didn't play as well as I would have liked last year. And this year I worked really hard in the off season, worked hard in the gym, worked hard on my swing with my coach, Martin Hall, and I came out a little bit more prepared to play well this year. And I got a lot of experience last year. And I was certainly ready to compete and ready to win.
Q. There's so much going on, I don't think a lot of us saw your 18th hole. How long was the putt? You said you wanted to get to 3. What was that hole like being ahead of the leaders and trying to get to a number?
MORGAN PRESSEL: It's a little bit easier when you're not in the last group. But I knew I had to make that putt. And considering that I've been struggling with my putting, to make that putt was a really big thing for me. And it was about 10 feet, broke about a few inches left-to-right, and it was a little bit downhill. I hit a perfect putt. At least it went in. That's good enough.
Q. Morgan, was there a point today that you suddenly thought, "Yes, I can win this"?
MORGAN PRESSEL: Yeah, I think so. I think when I got to 2-under, on 12, I mean I guess I always thought that I would be able to -- there's definitely birdies out there. They're hard to find. But when you get lucky enough to find them, things work out pretty well. But when I got to 2 and I birdied 12 and I was playing very well, and I thought that I could certainly make at least one or two more birdies. But then again Suzann was at 6. I know the last few holes enjoyed taking their tolls on people and lucky it wasn't me today.
Q. Morgan, you had that heart-breaking loss in the U.S. Open a couple years ago. Were there any thoughts about that today and does this make it much more, does it make this much more meaningful?
MORGAN PRESSEL: Not at all, never thought about that until somebody mentioned it quite a ways after, when I was, after I had jumped in the lake. I didn't really think about that. If I thought about it, I just drew on the experience that I did play so well under pressure there. Even though it was a completely different situation. I was in the last group there. And here I was coming a little bit from behind, and every tournament is different and this golf course is different.
Q. Two-part question. First of all, what's the spelling of your grandma and caddie, those two who jumped in with you?
MORGAN PRESSEL: J-o-n Y-a-r-b-o-r-o-u-g-h, Jon Yarborough is my caddie. And my grandma is Evelyn, E-v-e-l-y-n and Krickstein, K-r-i-c-k-s-t-e-i-n.
Q. You mentioned this is a dream come true. I imagine in the dream you're making a 35-footer for birdie on the last hole. How odd was it to finish an hour ahead and wait around for the dream to come around?
MORGAN PRESSEL: I don't mind.
Q. Morgan, I know that your grandparents are in the room, and I guess I would just ask you: They certainly stood by you all these years and you're still so young. I'm just wondering what you'd say to them, and also was your mom at any point today in your mind?
MORGAN PRESSEL: I know my mother is always with me. And I'm sure she's proud of me, as my grandparents are. And I mean (crying) -- sorry. I would just like to thank my grandparents for everything they've done for me and all their support and their love. And I'm sure they're just as happy as I am. So thank you very much.
Q. Morgan, can you just look ahead to the rest of the season, what do you think? What else can you look forward to?
MORGAN PRESSEL: What about the Solheim Cup? I'm sorry --
Q. For the rest of the season what are you looking forward to?
MORGAN PRESSEL: I'm definitely looking forward to the Solheim Cup. I've been out there twice in the junior Solheim Cup, and I love it. And I'm very hopeful that I'll represent my country this year and hopefully it will be a fun rest of the year.
Q. Morgan, I know it's very emotional, but you're still just a kid. What are you going to do for fun or to celebrate a little afterwards?
MORGAN PRESSEL: I don't know. I haven't quite got there yet. I can tell you I'll go shopping when I get home. That I can tell you.
(Laughter) And they're not going to stop me. I'm going to go.
Q. Morgan, thinking of being young and whatnot, Brittany was up there with you. Is it pretty cool to have two of the younger kids?
MORGAN PRESSEL: Excuse me?
Q. Brittany was up there with you, cool to have two of the younger kids?
MORGAN PRESSEL: Yeah, I mean it was a great leader board. And I played with Stacy Lewis today, who we can't quite call her old yet, considering she's not even out here yet. She played great. Was very impressive today. Brittany played well all week. And there was definitely some youth on the leader board. Meaghan Francella played well. And there were some good young players out there.
Transcripts provided by ASAP Sports.
April 2, 2007
Coming off his thrilling British Open victory over Sergio Garcia in 2007, Padraig Harrington sat down to discuss his game and his chances at the 2008 U.S. Open. "I have spent my last 10 years trying to adapt my swing to play U.S. Open golf," Harrington said. "I'd say the last two years, that and the Masters have attracted my attention more than anything else."
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