Stacy Lewis deserves ultimate kudos at Kraft Nabisco while Pressel's bogeys give amateur golfers new attitude
Stacy Lewis is the big story as winner of the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Rancho Mirage in California this past weekend and by no means should we divert our attention from this plucky player’s first LPGA career win. Carding a 69 and finishing with a three-shot lead over the number one player in the world, Yani Tseng, it was Lewis who took the joyful leap into Poppie’s Pond along with her caddie, Travis Wilson, her father, Dale; her mother, Carol and her younger sister, Janet.
This is a 26 year old who 15 years ago had her spine fused to correct scoliosis and now plays with five screws and a steel rod in her back. Yet already in her young life she has won several amateur tournaments and in 2008, as a member of the winning U.S. Curtis Cup team, became the first player ever to go 5–0 in a single Curtis Cup match.
But there’s another story here worth telling: 22 year-old Morgan Pressel’s amazing performance. Pressel won the Nabisco in 2007, the youngest LPGA ever to make the Poppie’s Pond plunge. This year she was in the hunt again carding 70, 69,69 on the first three days.
Just four shots off the lead going into Sunday, she made a formidable charge with two birdies during the first five holes bringing her to just two off the lead.
Then the bad stuff hit the fan and she dumped her ball in the water on the 6th. Her next shot went to the right of the green and she pitched long, two-putting for a triple bogey. In a blink of an eye, Pressel was now five off the lead.
So what did she do next? She birdied the 7th and 9th holes and was back in business. But another disaster loomed on no. 13 when she took a double then on no. 16, she hit her second shot out of bounds, hit her next shot through the green and ultimately took a quad.
The roller coaster ride this plucky young player road ended with five birdies, a double, a triple and a quad and when the dust settled, she turned in a round of 76, nine strokes behind Lewis’ winning score. There would be no watery leap this time around for Pressel.
But what there would be is a growing respect for the cool way Pressel handled herself and what she achieved: a tie for third and winnings of $106.763. Not a bad pay day at all.
Those who watched this incredible tournament can take heart from Pressel’s performance.
Ever seen someone scoop up their ball without finishing the putt after their numbers had been racking up, then leaving the green mumbling, “Give me a double.”
You know they are in triple or quad territory. Or more. But these are people who just cannot, cannot fathom, taking anything more than a double.
What is so shameful about playing and scoring the way the game is meant to be played? You’ve got to respect those who can admit to taking an 8 or 9 or even more. If you ever get into a jam, these are the guys you want in your corner. If the boat rolls over, you want them holding out the oar.
Sure we all want to score well, play perfectly, but even pros make mistakes. So suck it up when you screw up and take it like a man (we’re talking women here too).
And remember this 22 year-old girl who took bogeys, triples and quads, bounced back with birdies, and still shot in the mid-70s. She’s a winner too.
There is a plaque commemorating the feat of one golfer who took the most strokes (22) in playing the notorious 13th at the Dunes Club Golf Course in Myrtle Beach. Known as the “Waterloo” hole, it plays around a large lake. Love to meet this guy.
Ever seen “Tin Cup?”
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Also of interest is WorldGolf member, Mike Bailey's real life eagle 3 on that tough Dune's #13. He says, "I hit 6-iron, 3-wood and then holed a sand wedge. It was the best back nine I ever had in a tournament -- think I shot 33 or 34 and wound up finishing second in my flight. And it was cool, because it was one of those shots that went past the hole by three or four feet and then spun backwards. We had forecaddies that year, and ours was going nuts after the shot. I didn't realize it was that big a deal at the time, but apparently they never had an eagle there during the Senior Tour Championship either. "I think I've had my share of doubles and bogeys on that hole as well." Bailey received a plaque for this feat at the Golf Writers Association Dinner that night.