It wasn't a pretty chip, it wasn't even a good chip, it actually appeared to be somewhat of a miss-hit... and yet somehow a shot that barely made it out of the bunker by Birdie Kim miraculously found the bottom of the cup. It had no business going in, no business even being close. No one had birdie the 18th at Cherry Hills in two days and every player that had found the bunker on 18 hadn't even made it up and in to save par. So when Morgan Pressel was walking up to her ball in the middle of the fairway on the 18th hole watching Kim setting to hit out of the bunker she had to think just as everyone else did that par wins it. She was the youngest player to ever qualify for the open 4 years previously at the age of 12 (though she was 13 by the time she actually played) and she was about to become the youngest to ever win the Open and only the 2nd amateur to ever do so. That's when things went wrong. The thin sounding chip managed to make its way out of the bunker and started down toward the hole, somehow falling in for birdie, breaking the tie between her and Pressel, giving her a one shot lead. The cameras flashed to Pressel back in the fairway and all she could do is cover her face and look up wondering why. The US Open should have been hers. Knowing she needed to birdie to force a playoff, Pressel got an unlucky bounce up near the green leaving her ball just off and in the rough. That basically ending any chance she might have had as she bogeyed the hole after trying to chip in, though still finishing second. While walking up to the green after her second shot, her caddie was overheard saying, "Lets get up and in from there now.", to which Morgan replied, "Up and in doesn't get me anything!". Morgan knew very well that as an amateur, second isn't any better than 22nd, she's not allowed to receive money. She was there to win. She should have been the youngest to ever win the Open, but this weekend proved Morgan Pressel is the real deal and we can expect to see her in position to win a major again soon.
So, where does that leave Michelle Wie, the amateur receiving most of the attention leading up to the Open. For the last month, she put all the talk to rest about needing to beat girls her own age before playing in the bigger tournaments. Saturday, she looked as if it were her tournament to lose, playing with the poise of a seasoned professional. But on Sunday, that wasn't the case. It's one thing to play well and be the novelty of an event, but it's another thing to produce the goods in "crunch time". While the moment was too much for Wie, who hadn't been in a situation like this since winning the Girls Junior Amateur two years ago, it wasn't too much for Pressel and Brittany Lang, both experienced and seasoned amateurs who HAVE won frequently. Granted, everyone, including the pros, had trouble on this golf course. But, this is also the only major tournament where the best US amateurs can play, making this the toughest event in women's golf because as was seen this week, as many of the best women's golfers are the young 'uns. I wouldn't be surprised if the likes of Pressel and Lang played in all of the majors, they would finish near the top because they know how to win. As much as Michelle Wie has gotten better and as talented as she is, she needs to learn how to win.