Madison Pressel came to Texas to help bring the golf program to the next level. She has made strides in accomplishing that, but she is still building the legacy she will leave at Texas.
Pressel still has two more years at Texas and is looking to become the first women’s golfer in UT history to be a part of three straight Big 12 titles, after the team won the conference championship last spring.
But before she was helping the Longhorns light the Tower orange, she was playing a different sport. Her family has a background in Tennis. Her mother and aunt played in college, and her uncle played professionally for years on the ATP tour.
Naturally the first sport she ever picked up was with a racket and a net, but thankfully for her and her older sister Morgan, they were moved over to the links at a young age.
“I played tennis until I was about six, and then my grandpa realized I wasn’t quite quick enough to play because I didn’t really like running. So he had me and my sister switch over to golf. It’s turned out to been a great decision,” Pressel said with a laugh.
A great decision might be a bit of an understatement. Madison is one of the top collegiate golfers in the country, and her sister Morgan has had unparalleled success on the LPGA tour at a young age. She became the youngest major winner in tour history when she won the Kraft Nabisco Championship at 18, and has won multiple events since.
Considering Morgan’s significant talent level, there was never really much competition between the two sisters. Morgan was always an inspiration for Madison as she moved through the amateur ranks, and also serves as a mentor.
The pair played quite a bit over the winter break, and Madison picked up some useful short game tips that will serve her well in the spring.
“We have very similar games, we hit the ball basically the same with a slight draw and virtually the same yardages,” she said. “To be able to play with a player of that caliber that is so similar to me every day that I’m home definitely helped me.”
But the most important thing that Madison has taken away from her sister’s game is her demeanor. Morgan is confident and level-headed on the course, and over time Madison has learned from watching her sister and her own personal experience that keeping cool on the course can save you a few strokes a round.
“Watching her game I have definitely learned attitude can make or break your round,” Pressel said. “If you hit a bad shot and get mad about it, it can cost you a couple of strokes a round. You just have to compose yourself well.”
Madison will take those lessons into the spring season in hopes of retaining her individual Big 12 title. More importantly to her, however, is helping her team advance out of the regional round and reach the NCAA championships, something they fell short of last season.
“We learned just because we won doesn’t mean you’re automatically into nationals, you have to compete every day and work to get better,” Pressel said. “This season, winning just one event is not enough for us.”
If the Longhorns do manage to win a second straight Big 12 championship, it will be a first for the program. Winning multiple titles is exactly the kind of thing Pressel set out to do when she headed to the 40 Acres from her home in Florida.
“I came here to help the program move forward. To be able to win the Big 12 for the first time in eight years really meant a lot to me, and showed me how much you could impact a program by excelling,” Pressel said. “To be able to do that a couple more times would be unreal.”