Meaghan Francella of Port Chester, NY, came onto the LPGA Tour in 2007 with a bang by defeating defending champion Annika Sorenstam in a four-hole sudden death playoff at the MasterCard Classic in Mexico City, just her third tournament after moving up to the big show.
“I was a little intimidated when I first shook her hand on the tee,” she told me at the time. “But after that I just tried to stay in my game and play patient.”It was an auspicious debut that led her to 29th on the money list that year. She also scored three other top-ten finishes in 25 events, taking home over $500,000 in winnings for the year.
Twenty-two-year-old Nan Hill qualified her way into the Open this year. Nan's no stranger to competition, having tied for sixth at the 2009 NCAA Division I Championship and finished fourth at the 2009 Atlantic Coast Conference Championship. She also won the 2007 Landfall Tradition, leading Wake Forest to its first team title since 2004.
I talked to her the first time when she was a senior at Pelham (NY) High School, where she anchored the boys golf team. By that time, Nan had won the NY State Girls Amateur three times.
"I love the pressure. I love that it's just me out there. No matter whether it's golf or whatever sport I play, I think I would always try to be the best because that's always how I am."She'll have a great chance to test her mettle this week at Saucon Valley.
Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a romantic thriller about blood diamonds in the Congo