Rancho Mirage, Calif. Morgan Pressel never lost hope, even after she walked off the 18th green Sunday still three shots out of the lead with little reason to believe she would return an hour later for the greatest swim of her life.
Typical of her career, everything happened so quickly.
Pressel closed with a 3-under 69 at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, playing the final 24 holes without a bogey.
Then she watched a series of collapses unfold on a sun-baked afternoon in the desert, none more shocking than Suzann Pettersen blowing a four-shot lead with four holes to play that made the 18-year-old Pressel the youngest major champion in LPGA Tour history.
About the only thing anyone could have predicted was Pressel in tears.
"Oh my God! Oh my God!" was all she could manage with a camera in her face when Pettersen's 25-foot birdie putt to force a playoff stopped a few inches short.
These were tears of celebration as a major champion, not even a year after she finished high school. And she sobbed remembering her mother, Kathy, who died of breast cancer four years ago.
"I know my mother is always with me," she said. "And I'm sure she's proud of me."
Pressel was at 3-under 285 and on the practice range when she entered the record books, winning a major at 18 years, 10 months and 9 days. Sandra Post of Canada won the 1968 LPGA Championship at 20 years, 19 days.
The youngest man to win a major was Young Tom Morris, who was 17 when he captured the 1868 British Open.