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Golf's Girl Power

Peter Yang Michelle Wie at a private estate in Oahu, Hawaii.

Photo: Peter Yang

The Sensation: Paula Creamer

THE BUZZ In a breakout year for young stars, Paula Creamer, 19, has had the biggest breakout of all. Since taking medalist honors (by five strokes) at last fall's LPGA qualifying tournament, she has won three times on three continents and was the star of this summer's Solheim Cup. Not to mention that she graduated from high school. Is it too early to anoint Creamer the Next American Superstar?Maybe not. In the lead-up to the Solheim Cup, she brassily promised that the Europeans would fall, and then backed it up with a three-win performance, crushing Laura Davies 7-and-5 in their singles match with six birdies in the first eight holes.
THE Backstory At fourteen, Creamer moved with her family from California to Florida to study with David Leadbetter. In 2004, as the nation's top-ranked female amateur, she made the cut in all seven of the LPGA events she entered, including a second at the ShopRite.
Bonus Points On the 2005 LPGA Tour (through September), Creamer had two wins, five other top threes and only one missed cut, good for second on the money list behind Annika Sorenstam. She also won a non-LPGA event in Japan and became the first rookie ever to qualify for the Solheim Cup.
Quotes "To be called the next great American, that does put a lot of pressure on me. But I thrive off pressure. It makes me practice harder."
The Future Unlike Michelle Wie, who is still all potential, Creamer has proven she knows how to win.

The Upstart: Morgan Pressel

THE BUZZ Seventeen-year-old Morgan Pressel may not have won this year's U.S. Women's Open (she tied for second), but coming down the stretch she demonstrated the kind of cocky, steamrolling confidence that hints at greatness. Only Birdie Kim's improbable hole out from a bunker at eighteen denied Pressel the win. When she's on, Pressel is a scoring machine. In winning this summer's U.S. Women's Amateur, she made forty-seven birdies and one eagle in 142 holes. Pressel's e-mail address ends with "54," the score she believes she can shoot one day.
THE Backstory Pressel—known to bristle at all the attention paid to Michelle Wie—has superior athletic genes. Her mother was a tennis champion at Michigan, her father a hockey player, and her uncle, Aaron Krickstein, was once number six in men's tennis. At twelve, she became the youngest ever to qualify for the U.S. Women's Open. Devastated by her mother's death from cancer two years ago, Pressel has since been living with her grandparents.
Bonus Points Pressel is the only player ever to win all five American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) majors and is currently the nation's top-ranked ­female amateur. In 2005, she finished in the top twenty-five of all seven LPGA events she entered, including two top fives. She scored 790 out of 800 on her math SAT but decided against playing college golf.
Quotes "People look at my age as a thing that should set me back, but I don't think so. I have so much experience."
The Future If Pressel earns her card at the LPGA qualifying school in December (she easily sailed through the first stage, concluding with a sixty-three), she will be eligible to join the tour on her eighteenth birthday next May.


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