Morgan Pressel Named Girls Rolex Junior Player of the Year

Morgan Pressel, 17, of Boca Raton, Fla., was named the Girls Rolex Junior Player of the Year by the American Junior Golf Association, the AJGA announced Wednesday.

Pressel's esteemed accomplishments during the 2005 season will be heralded Nov. 20 during the Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet held at Jekyll Island Convention Center in Jekyll Island, Ga.

Pressel’s AJGA Invitational victories at the Thunderbird International Junior, Rolex Girls Junior Championship and McDonald’s Betsy Rawls Girls Championship coupled with her performances in the amateur and professional ranks helped secure her spot as the Rolex Junior Player of the Year.

"My major goal in junior golf has always been to win the Player of the Year award," Pressel said. "It represents not just one victory, but consistent results over the course of an entire AJGA year. Now that I have actually won it, I am absolutely thrilled, and very proud of myself," Pressel added.

Along with her dominance in AJGA events, Pressel won the U.S. Women’s Amateur, finished tied for second at the U.S. Women’s Open and competed in six other LPGA Tour events this season, finishing tied for 25th or better every time, including a tie for fifth at the State Farm Classic.

Pressel first made national headlines before she was a member of the AJGA. As a 12-year-old, she became the youngest player to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open in 2001 – a distinction she still holds. She has since qualified for two more Opens (2003, 2005), including her run to the top of the leaderboard this year at Cherry Hills, finishing tied for second.

Once she joined the ranks of the AJGA, Pressel lived up to the expectations she created as a 12-year-old. Since she played in her first AJGA event in 2001, she won 11 of the Association’s events, including all five AJGA Invitational events in which she was eligible to play. In doing so, she matched Kellee Booth as the only players to win the career “AJGA-slam.” The only difference is that there were only four invitationals in the early 90s when Booth dominated junior golf. Grace Park and Beth Bauer are the only players to come close, winning three of the four invitationals shortly after Booth.

Even more impressive is the rapid pace at which Pressel claimed these five titles, taking slightly more than a year to do it. Her first invitational win came at the Rolex Tournament of Champions July 9, 2004. She then won the Polo Golf Junior Classic (Nov. 26, 2004), Thunderbird International Junior (May 30, 2005), Rolex Girls Junior Championship (June 17, 2005), and finally the McDonald’s Betsy Rawls Girls Championship (July 28, 2005). Add to this distinction that she earned spots on two U.S. PING Junior Solheim Cup Teams (2002, 2005) and two Canon Cup East Teams (2002, 2004), and there is little doubt that Pressel is one of the all-time great junior golfers.

Her accomplishments are well documented in the AJGA record books. Her 11 AJGA titles puts her tied for sixth with Paula Creamer, behind Kellee Booth (18), Grace Park (18), Leigh Anne Hardin (18), Beth Bauer (17) and Vicki Goetze-Ackerman (15). Her four wins in 2004 is tied for fourth, the record being held by Kellee Booth and Grace Park with seven. She is tied for second in consecutive years with a win at five after claiming at least one title from 2001-2005. Only Grace Park can boast a longer winning streak when she won an AJGA event six straight years from 1992-1997. Along the way, she has been named a Rolex Junior All-American five times, including first-team selections in 2003, 2004 and 2005, tying her for third all time.

Introduced by the AJGA in 1978, Rolex Junior Players of the Year are annually honored at the Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet, which officially ends the AJGA’s season. Past recipients have gone on to become some of the most esteemed players on the PGA and LPGA Tours, including Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr and Paula Creamer.

None of this would be possible without the support of Rolex Watch USA, the AJGA’s Premier Partner and supporter of the Association since 1983.

Along with the sponsorship of the Rolex Junior Players of the Year, Rolex Junior All-America Teams and Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet, the distinguished timepiece maker also continues to support two of the AJGA’s most competitive major championships: the Rolex Tournament of Champions and Rolex Girls Junior Championship.
Rolex is also the inaugural Founding Partner of the Achieving Competitive Excellence Grant. The ACE Grant is designed to give top-flight junior golfers the ability to play a national junior golf schedule despite their financial resources. In 2005, with the help of Rolex and various individual donors, 54 junior golfers were able to compete in events they otherwise could not afford.

Rolex was also an Official Partner of the PING Junior Solheim Cup that took place Sept. 5-8, 2005, at The Bridgewater Club in Westfield, Ind.

For more information, please contact Steve Ethun in the AJGA Communications Department at (770) 868-4200.