One week after winning the U.S. Women’s Amateur, Morgan Pressel got taken down by a giant killer.
Ya-Ni Tseng, who beat Michelle Wie to win the 2004 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship, defeated Pressel on the 39th hole to capture the North and South Women’s Amateur Championship Aug. 14 at Pinehurst No. 2.
The 16-year-old Taiwan native won with a routine par on the third playoff hole after Pressel failed to get up-and-down out of a greenside bunker.
“This was a lot harder (than beating Wie),” Tseng told The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer with a laugh. “I only had to play 36 holes against Michelle. Playing 39 is harder.
“Morgan played so well this afternoon. I was nervous the whole time. I just tried to stay focused and stay up with her.”
Tseng took a 3-up lead early in the afternoon round before Pressel rallied to square the match by winning three consecutive holes. Tseng regained the lead with a birdie on the par-5 10th before Pressel made eagle on the par-5 16th to pull even again.
Pressel, 17, missed a 20-footer for birdie on the final hole that would have won the title in what could have been her last amateur competition as an individual. The U.S. Women’s Open runner-up has applied to join the LPGA and will be allowed to attend qualifying school this fall. She plans to play in two LPGA events, the Wendy’s Championship for Children Aug. 25-28 and the State Farm Classic Sept. 1-4, followed by the U.S. Junior Solheim Cup, an amateur team event, Sept. 5-7.
On the third playoff hole, Pressel hit her approach into a bunker, then landed her third shot 9 feet from the pin but missed the putt. Tseng two-putted from 30 feet for the victory, then fell to her knees and buried her face in her hands.
“It was definitely extremely exciting the whole way,” Pressel told The Observer. “It was a great crowd and a great gallery. It was truly a lot of fun, and I don’t say that too many times when I lose.”
Both players also were pushed to extra holes in Saturday’s semifinals. Pressel fought back after being 2 down with three to play against University of Mississippi coach Meghan Bolger, making birdies on Nos. 16 and 17 to square the match, then winning with another birdie on the 20th hole. Tseng won her match against University of Washington senior Paige Mackenzie with a par on the 19th hole.
Pressel, Golfweek’s top-ranked amateur and the tournament’s defending champion, was trying to become the second player to win the U.S. Women’s Amateur and the North and South Women’s Amateur in the same year. Meredith Duncan won both events in 2001.