Sunday, November 18, 2007

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Ochoa Wins ADT Championship in Stunning Fashion
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Published: November 19, 2007
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Nov. 18 — Lorena Ochoa picked the perfect time and place Sunday to permanently bury any lingering doubt about her ability to finish. On the frightening final holes of the course built by the author of "The Art of the Deal," Ochoa, 26, wrote a chapter of her own on how to close the deal on the richest season a female golfer has had.

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L.P.G.A. | Champions European She did it by hitting the best shot of her five-year pro career and the shot of the year on the L.P.G.A. Tour. She did it after making a double bogey at the 17th hole while Natalie Gulbis made birdie, turning her comfortable four-stroke lead in a very nervous one-stroke margin. She did it with $1 million on the line, from the deep Bermuda grass rough on the 18th hole at Trump International, with Gulbis already on the green with a birdie putt.

With 161 yards to the pin from a lie she called "horrible," Ochoa hit a 6-iron that was right on the money — bouncing on the front of the green and rolling out, inside Gulbis's ball mark, creeping to 40 inches from the hole, a kick-in birdie for $1 million. The stunned crowd encircling the green erupted in the loudest roar heard all week at the ADT Championship, and Ochoa broke into her wide, winsome smile.

"I was feeling good, very calm," she said. "I aimed on the left side of the green, just over the edge of the bunker. I wanted to make sure I left enough room on the left side and it came out perfect.

"Because of the conditions and because I was only one shot leading the tournament, I think it was my best shot so far in my career."

Hers is a career on a rocket straight up. The victory was her eighth this season, the 17th of her career and her 13th in two years. The $1 million first-place check put her at $4.36 million for the year, eclipsing the previous season high, $2.8 million, set by Annika Sorenstam in 2002.

And, once and for all, it expunged memories of Ochoa's previous collapses at crunch time. The two infamous incidents occurred in 2005, at the 18th hole of the United States Open at Cherry Hills and at the Safeway International in Phoenix. At the Open, Ochoa had the opportunity to post an early score of three over if she parred the 18th. Instead, she hit the worst shot of her career and made quadruple bogey to finish sixth. Birdie Kim won the tournament at three over with a stunning hole out. At the Safeway, Ochoa was four strokes ahead with three holes to go. She finished double bogey, bogey, par and lost a playoff to Sorenstam.

All that is ancient history now, subdued by the dogged persistence of Ochoa, the small, powerful woman from Mexico. Ochoa has worked hard to refine her unorthodox technique, and this season has tightened up the loose action in her backswing and improved her consistency in judging the speed of greens.

She also has a new resilience that helps her rebound quickly from mistakes that once would have ruined her chances of winning.

She overcame a quadruple-bogey 7 at the 17th hole in the first round and the double bogey at that hole today. In fact, had this been a stroke play event, Ochoa would still have won it with a 14-under-par total of 274, five strokes clear of Paula Creamer.

Much of Ochoa's success rebounding from big numbers lies in accepting the dangers inherent to the power game she plays and strategizing ways to overcome the mishaps.

This week, it was in the back of her mind to play today's round aggressively from the outset, to build a large cushion in preparation for the very difficult finish.

"Just joking with my friends, and family and my caddie I said, 'O.K., we need to have a three- or four-shot lead in case something happens,' and that's exactly what happened," Ochoa said. "So I'm happy I did that."

Ochoa is as generous off the golf course as she is competitive on it. She said she will donate a portion of her winnings to help build a high school, to her Lorena Ochoa Foundation and to help victims of the recent floods in Tabasco, Mexico.

"I always want to give back," she said. "We send them food and we pray for them and we're always asking how they're doing, but I think that right now this" — $100,000 — "could be a big help."

Next Article in Sports (5 of 28) »Sorenstam eliminated in playoff at ADT Championship
Former top-ranked player ends year without a victory for the first time since 1994.
From Times Staff and Wire Reports
November 17, 2007

Annika Sorenstam's worst year since she was a rookie offered one last hope Friday afternoon in the ADT Championship at West Palm Beach, Fla., when she was among three players trying to earn the last two spots in the chase for $1 million.

She hit a hook with a five-iron into the face of a bunker, blasted over the green and was eliminated in a playoff, ending her year without a victory for the first time since 1994.

Ai Miyazato saved par with a seven-foot putt on the 17th hole in the playoff and two-putted from 35 feet on the 18th hole for par to clinch one spot. The other went to Natalie Gulbis, who also had pars on the two playoff holes.

Mi Hyun Kim shot a two-under-par 70 and finished atop the 16 players who qualified for the weekend at seven-under 137, one shot better than Morgan Pressel.

Former major league pitcher Rick Rhoden shared medalist honors with Gene Jones in the Champions Tour's qualifying event at Coral Springs, Fla., earning a spot next year into open qualifiers at all co-sponsored events. Rhoden closed with a three-under 69 to match Jones (68) at nine-under 287.


Benson finishes first; Hornaday wins title

Ron Hornaday Jr. won his third NASCAR Craftsman Trucks Series championship, finishing seventh in a Chevrolet to edge Mike Skinner by 54 points after the season-ending Ford 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Hornaday trailed by 29 points entering the race, but benefited when the left rear wheel of Skinner's Toyota broke away midway through the race. Johnny Benson won the race in a Toyota.

Formula One's governing body rejected McLaren's appeal to penalize four drivers for fuel irregularities at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix, letting Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen keep his world championship title.

The FIA said there was not enough evidence to punish BMW and Williams, whose drivers finished fourth, fifth, sixth and 10th in the Oct. 21 race at Sao Paulo.

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton finished seventh, and would have won the title if two of the three drivers who finished ahead of him had been disqualified. Hamilton finished second in the standings, one point behind Raikkonen.


Once again, Federer too tough for Roddick

Top-ranked Roger Federer defeated fifth-ranked Andy Roddick, 6-4, 6-2, at the ATP Tour Masters Cup in Shanghai. The win raised his record against Roddick to 15-1.

Federer will next play No. 2 Rafael Nadal in the semifinals of the year-end tournament for the top eight men in the rankings. Roddick will play No. 6 David Ferrer in the other semifinal.


UCLA, USC advance in NCAA tournament

McCall Zerboni, Christina DiMartino and Kristina Larsen scored first-half goals to lead top-seeded UCLA to a 3-1 victory over Cal State Fullerton at Drake Stadium in the first round of the NCAA Division I women's tournament.

The Bruins (17-1-2) will play Oklahoma State in the second round on Sunday. Oklahoma State defeated San Diego, 2-1.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- It's down to a one-in-eight shot at a million dollars at the ADT Championship.

After another nerve-racking afternoon at Trump International, eight players who qualified for the 18-hole shootout today had every reason to dream of the biggest payoff in women's golf.

After two qualifying rounds, 16 players began the day with an even slate.

Lorena Ochoa was solid as ever, playing bogey-free for a 6-under 66 to tie for the low round yesterday with Paula Creamer.

Karrie Webb had no stress in her round of 68. The other qualifiers were U.S. Women's Open champion Cristie Kerr, Natalie Gulbis, Sarah Lee, Mi Hyun Kim and Christina Kim, who claimed the final spot with a win in a playoff over Sophie Gustafson and Nicole Castrale.

Just like the third round, the scores will be wiped out for the final 18 holes, where the winner gets $1 million and second place gets $100,000, the biggest disparity of prize money in golf.

"It's all-or-nothing," Creamer said.

Yesterday in Hong Kong, Mike Weir narrowly missed out on a prize of a one-kilogram gold bar -- worth roughly C$27,000 -- to the first player to ace the 144-yard 12th hole at the Hong Kong Open, and couldn't make up any ground on leader Robert Karlsson.

Weir's shot on the 12th went partially in the hole before lipping out en route to a 67 that left him six shots back after three rounds. Miguel Angel Jimenez is four shots back with four other five strokes behind Karlsson.

Christina Kim hit a 7-iron that stopped 2 feet behind the hole for a birdie to claim the eighth and final spot in the final round of the ADT Championship at West Palm Beach, Fla., giving her just as much of a chance as anyone to win the $1 million prize.

With a bleacher full of sun-baked fans still cheering, Kim charged over to caddie Donna Southam and leaped with a twist, slightly higher than when Phil Mickelson won his first Masters, and they bumped each other to celebrate the clutch moment.

It got even better when Nicole Castrale hit her approach into the water, just as she did in regulation, to fall into the playoff.

Another nerve-racking afternoon at Trump International concluded when eight of the 16 players who qualified for today's 18-hole shootout had every reason to dream of the biggest payoff in women's golf.

Lorena Ochoa was solid as ever, playing bogey-free for a 6-under 66 to tie for the low round Saturday with Paula Creamer, who was helped by a wedge she holed out for eagle on the par-5 15th.

Karrie Webb, whose 50-foot birdie putt Friday enabled her to avoid a playoff, had no stress in her round of 68. The other qualifiers were U.S. Women's Open champion Cristie Kerr, Natalie Gulbis, Sarah Lee and Mi Hyun Kim, who had the best turnaround of all.

Hong Kong Open: Sweden's Robert Karlsson shot a 5-under 66 to maintain a 4-stroke lead after the third round of the Hong Kong Open.

Karlsson had a 16-under 194 total on the Hong Kong Golf Club course. Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez, the 2004 champion, was second after a 66.

South Korea's K.J. Choi (65), Australia's Marcus Fraser (64), Sweden's Peter Hanson (65) and India's Shiv Kapur (65) were 11 under, and Canada's Mike Weir (67) was in a group at 10 under.

Pebble Beach Invitational: Tommy Armour III shot a 7-under 65 on Saturday at Del Monte Golf Course to take a 2-stroke lead over Nick Watney after the third round of the Callaway Golf Pebble Beach Invitational.

The 48-year-old Armour, a two-time PGA Tour winner who finished 110th on the money list this season, has a 14-under 202 total.

Dunlop Phoenix: England's Ian Poulter shot a 3-under 67 to take a two-stroke lead over countryman Luke Donald after the third round of the Dunlop Phoenix at Miyazaki, Japan.

Poulter had a 10-under 200 total on the Phoenix Country Club course. Donald also shot a 67. Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (69) and Japan's Daisuke Maruyama (70) were 6 under. Defending champion Padraig Harrington (73) was 4 under.
LPGA Playoffs at The ADT
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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The LPGA Playoffs at The ADT, also known as the ADT Championship, is the season-ending golf tournament on the United States-based LPGA Tour.

The tournament was played for the first time in November 2006, the winner of the event, Julieta Granada, received $1 million, the highest first-place prize in the history of women's golf. The event took place at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida.

From 1996 through 2006 the tournament was a standard-format, 72 hole stroke play event. It had a purse of $1,000,000 in its final season with the winner receiving $215,000.

The playoff event was the first time golf has ever used a postseason of any kind on any tour. Beginning in 2007, the PGA Tour also employed a playoff system.

The title sponsor is ADT, a worldwide supplier of electronic security and fire alarm systems, communication systems and integrated building management systems, with headquarters in Boca Raton, Florida.

1 How the competitors are selected
1.1 2007 selection process
1.2 2006 selection process
2 2007 Qualifers
2.1 First half qualifiers
2.2 Second half qualifiers
2.3 Wild cards
3 How The Playoffs at The ADT work
4 Controversy surrounding $1 million prize
5 Winners
5.1 LPGA Playoffs at The ADT
5.2 ADT Championship
6 Tournament record
7 External links

[edit] How the competitors are selected

[edit] 2007 selection process
The 2007 LPGA regular season was split into two halves with 15 players from each half qualifying for the ADT Championship using a performance-based points system. In addition, two wild card players were chosen at the end of the regular season. This means 32 players competed in the ADT Championship. The first half began with the SBS Open at Turtle Bay and ended with the Wegmans LPGA. The second half began with the US Women's Open and ended The Mitchell Company Tournament of Champions, one week before the Playoffs.

LPGA members qualified for the ADT Championship by accumulating ADT Points during each half of the season or by winning an automatic entry by winning one of ten designated "winner" events throughout the season. Winner events are any events with a purse of $2 million or more. The two wild cards were the top two players from the LPGA Official Money List who were not otherwise qualified after The Mitchell Company LPGA Tournament of Champions.

More details on selecting competitors for the 2007 Playoffs can be found at:

[edit] 2006 selection process
The 2006 LPGA campaign was split into two halves. The first half began with the SBS Open at Turtle Bay and ended with the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic. The second half began with the Evian Masters and ended with The Mitchell Company Tournament of Champions, one week before the Playoffs. The top 15 points scorers and one wild card from each half qualified for the Playoffs, making for a total of 32 players who will take part in the season-ending event.

Most of the events on 2006 LPGA schedule were "points" events, in which the top twenty finishers were awarded points. In addition, all winners of the LPGA's majors and five limited field events, such as the HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship, automatically qualified for the Playoffs.

Once the first half ended, and the first 16 players were awarded spots in the Playoffs, the point totals from the first half were wiped out, and the second half began with a fresh scoresheet, meaning points did not carry over from half-to-half.

More details on selecting competitors for the 2006 Playoffs can be found at:


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