Morgan Pressel chased an elusive score of 59 on Thursday at the JTBC Founders Cup, ultimately settling for a 65 and second place behind Mi Rim Lee after the first round.
Pressel was on fire early in the round, and after birdies on the 10th and 11th holes found herself sitting at 9 under par. However, Pressel was unable to sustain this torrid pace, finishing the round at 7 under par. Pressel explained her mindset during the round, acknowledging the possibility that the low number may have affected her play.
“I don’t know if I was necessarily thinking 59, but I probably just got a little bit excited, because I had never been that many under par in that short of a span,” Pressel said. “I just got a little bit quick and came back to earth.”
The 25-year old Pressel ran into trouble on the 12th hole, pulling her ball into some brush and ultimately bogeying the hole. Another bogey followed on the next hole, and Pressel proceeded to par out the remainder of the round. Pressel was understandably disappointed with the finish, but pleased overall with her performance:
“It wasn’t the finish that I would have hoped for, but it gives me a little bit of confidence knowing how many birdies I can make and I’m capable of,” Pressel explained. “I don’t know that I’ve ever gotten off to that hot of a start.”
It was indeed a hot start to the round for Pressel, and her chase of the magical 59 only served to reinforce just how difficult it is to put up such a number. In fact, the only 59 in LPGA Tour history still belongs to Annika Sorenstam, who put up her number back in the 2001 Standard Register Ping tournament.
Pressel joined the professional ranks at the young age of 17, similar to Michelle Wie, who is also competing at the Founders Cup and became a professional at 15 years of age. Sorenstam was critical of Wie last year, suggesting she has failed to live up to her potential. Pressel is still the youngest player in LPGA history to win a major championship, something she accomplished by taking the 2007 Kraft Nabisco tournament.
Pressel shot a second round 72 to fall back a bit, but rebounded on Saturday with a 67, placing her four strokes behind the leader Lee heading into Sunday’s final round.
[Video courtesy of LPGA/You Tube]