Sunday, November 18, 2007

lorena ochoa

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."
Golf | Ochoa, Creamer, Kim charge into final round
By The Associated Press

AP Golf Writer



Lorena Ochoa of Mexico watches her tee shot on the 18th hole during the third round of the ADT Championship on Saturday in West Palm Beach, Fla. She shot a 6-under-par 66.


PGA leaderboard
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Lorena Ochoa continued to play nearly flawless golf in posting a bogey-free round of 6-under-par 66 Saturday at the ADT Championship, joined atop the leaderboard by Paula Creamer.

Creamer holed out a wedge for an eagle on the 15th hole during the third round of the LPGA Tour's season-ending tournament.

Meanwhile, Christina Kim was running on adrenaline as she stood in the 18th fairway, somewhat lucky to still be in the hunt for $1 million and knowing she was one bad shot from going home with nothing.

When Kim's 7-iron from 153 yards settled 2 feet behind the hole, the Californian charged toward her caddie, leaped and spun and collided for a football-style body bump. Her pro-am partners did that throughout their round Wednesday, and told her to do it on the 18th hole during the tournament.

"The moment was right," Kim said.

Her timing could not have been better. Kim's shot, followed by Nicole Castrale hitting into the water on the 18th for the second time, gave her the eighth and final spot in the final round today for an 18-hole shootout with $1 million going to the winner.

As if players needed additional pressure, LPGA Tour officials placed $1 million cash — or what looked like it, anyway — in a glass case with a big lock on it and a bodyguard nearby.

"I'm not Rain Man, so I wasn't able to calculate whether it was actually a million dollars," Kim said. "You always see in the movies they've got the million, and it's a very thin briefcase. I don't know."

Karrie Webb, whose 50-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole Friday enabled her to avoid a playoff, made it easier on herself in the third round by racing out to five birdies in 12 holes and shooting a 68.

Other qualifiers were Cristie Kerr, Natalie Gulbis, Sarah Lee and Mi Hyun Kim.

The Kims had to go through a playoff to advance. Four players competed for two berths. The Kims had birdies on both playoff holes. Castrale and Sophie Gustafson lost in the playoff.

As was the case for the third round, 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 on the LPGA Tour.

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

Other tournaments

• Sweden's Robert Karlsson shot a 4-under 66 to maintain a four-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.

"I am very happy with the way I played today and that is the most important thing," Karlsson said. "Both me and Miguel had a fantastic start and if you play well the first few holes, you get into the rhythm of the round and we made the most of it."

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

• Tommy Armour III shot a 7-under 65 at Del Monte Golf Course to take a two-stroke lead over Nick Watney after the third round of the Callaway Golf Pebble Beach Invitational in California.

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.

Watney, the 2005 Callaway winner, shot a 67, also at Del Monte, one of three courses used in the tournament that features pros from the four major tours as well as minitour players, club pros and amateur teams.

• 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 in 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 at 6 under. Defending champion Padraig Harrington (73) of Ireland was at 4 under.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Nov. 17 — For the first time in a long time, the L.P.G.A. has what appears to be a "can't miss" story line as it closes out 2007 and looks ahead to the coming season.

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L.P.G.A. | Champions European With the dramatis personae firmly established and other elements already in place — youth versus age, a rising and a falling, one era giving way to another — the story of "The Once and Future Queen," starring Annika Sorenstam, 37, and Lorena Ochoa, 26, should be a golf battle for the ages.

It began in the spring of this season, with a quiet usurpation of the throne, when Ochoa ascended to No. 1 in the Rolex World Rankings during a week off on the Tour. At the time, Sorenstam had only recently received a diagnosis of bulging disks in her neck and was home in Orlando, the figurative crown having been replaced by a very real brace on her neck. Ochoa was home in Mexico playing in the Corona Morelia Championship.

"Today is one of the most special days in my life," Ochoa said at the time. "It's really special because I am at home, and I am able to celebrate the news with the people in my country. This is a huge accomplishment for me."

Just how huge Ochoa's accomplishment was may not have been apparent at the time. Because the Rolex World Rankings were not established until 14 months before, the length and breadth of Sorenstam's period of dominance was not fully appreciated. It really began 12 years ago, in 1995, with her first of eight player of the year awards. That is when her United States Open win and two other victories started a streak of multi-win seasons that did not end until this year.

In effect, Sorenstam dominated women's golf for a longer period than Tiger Woods dominated men's golf. His reign began in 1997. What will now be determined is whether Ochoa's position at the top will endure or whether it will evaporate like the brief challenges to Woods's supremacy, first by David Duval in 1999, then by Vijay Singh in 2004.

For her part, Sorenstam is determined to regain the throne. She felt the injury robbed her of the opportunity to put up any kind of fight during the 2007 season.

"It's not a year that is something you really put on a résumé," she said Tuesday. "It's been a tough year with the injury. It really kind of set me back. I've only played 12 times and I would say that probably 5 of those 12 I've been competitive, I mean, not even to my full potential."

Sorenstam's definition of full potential is this: from 2001 through 2005, she won 43 times, finished second 19 times and third 5 times. She had 86 top-10 finishes and set the record scoring average of 68.7 in 2001 and equaled it in 2002.

This is the type of player Sorenstam hopes to be again, a tall order made even more imposing by the number of outside interests currently competing for her time. There is the building of ANNIKA, a brand that she and her fiancé, Mike McGee, oversee together and includes her golf and fitness academy in Orlando, her fledgling golf course design business and a successful clothing line. She also plays host to two golf tournaments, the Ginn Tribute in May and the Scandinavian TPC in August.

Ochoa's off-course responsibilities are growing, but they do not yet approach Sorenstam's. Her first love is the Fundación Lorena Ochoa, the charitable foundation that finances, among other things, a school for children in La Coronilla, an impoverished area outside her hometown, Guadalajara. She has said that her work with the children there gives her more satisfaction than her wins.

Now, though, she is enjoying the moment. She was laughing off questions about whether she — with her seven tournament wins, including a major championship at the British Open — or Woods, with an identical win total and one major, had a better 2007.

"I saw something on TV where they were trying to compare the two years," she said. "I'm O.K. with both being the same and both having a great year. Maybe next year I improve on this year."

It was just two years ago that Sorenstam was being asked the same type of questions, and she was e-mailing messages back and forth with Woods, her friend, to compare major championship win totals. Now, Ochoa has entered the comparison picture.

The reality is, there is only room for one at the top. With no men to compare with Woods, it falls upon the dominant L.P.G.A. player. The expectation is that Sorenstam will not be pushed so easily out of the frame.
ADT victory caps year of dominance for Ochoa
IN: News | LPGA | ADT Championship (2007) | Round Four | by Bruce Young | 19 Nov 2007
Lorena Ochoa's brilliant year got a whole lot better today when she added her 8th title of the season and another US$1 million to her already record earnings in 2007 after winning the ADT Championship by two shots over Natalie Gulbis.

Lorena Ochoa

Lorena Ochoa poses with the trophy and a box containing US$1 million dollars after winning the ADT Championship

(Photo: Getty Images)
The victory will move Ochoa to US$4,363,000 in season 2007, more than US$2.5 million ahead of her nearest rival, Suzann Pettersen, and exactly US$1.5 million ahead of the previous season's earning record of Annika Sorenstam's in 2002. Not only did Ochoa win eight events in season 2007, she finished runner up on five other occasions and there is every reason to believe things can only get better for the charismatic, brilliant and marketable Mexican.

In today's final round of the ADT Championship at the Trump International in West Palm Beach, eight players remained to battle for the US$1 million dollar first prize after 16 had been eliminated after 36 holes and another eight eliminated after 54 holes. With a difference of US$900,000 between first and second and another US$80,000 back to the third place finisher there was a lot at stake to say the least.

Ochoa quickly served notice of her intentions when she raced to the turn in 5 under 31 and it was all but over for the rest of the field. A double bogey at her second to last hole gave Gulbis some hope but a birdie at the last hole, after what Ochoa described as the best shot of her career to date, gave the 26-year-old a two shot victory. From 150 yards or so and from a horrible lie, she placed her approach close enough to make birdie and the title was hers.

Afterwards Ochoa gave her rivals further cause for concern when asked if things could get any better.

"No, there is always room to improve. I want to get much better in my short game, especially 100 yards, 110, 100, 90, 80," she said. "I hit them just okay, maybe 10 feet. But at the same time with a 9 iron, 8 iron, 7 iron, I need to improve on my short distances."

"My putting, when I putt good, I win tournaments. I want to make sure I putt good more often. Sometimes on Sundays when I'm under pressure, my speed is a little bit off, so I want to work on that a lot, long putts, and just make sure I get better on that, as well as my swing.

"I think I improved a lot from last year to this year, but I still go over my head a little bit, my hands come a little from behind, so I want to make sure I shorten maybe a little bit my swing, come from in front of the ball and have more room because that really helps me. I'm more consistent doing that."

Natalie Gulbis completed her second best season in terms of money list position when she finished alone in second place and secured the US$100,000 second place cheque. Given that she won her first LPGA Tour event this year, Gulbis may well consider 2007 her most significant season in the game. Paula Creamer was third and finished fourth on the ADT Money List.

Karrie Webb rallied back to make the top eight but had a horror last round of 84. It completed Webb's second worst season on the LPGA Tour despite having won twice in Australia before the 2007 LPGA Tour started.

Lorena Ochoa
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Lorena Ochoa
Personal Information
Birth November 15, 1981 (1981-11-15) (age 26) Mexico
Height 5 ft 6.1 in (1.69 m)
Nationality Mexico
Residence Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
College University of Arizona
(two years)
Turned Pro 2002
Current tour LPGA Tour (joined 2003)
Past tour Futures Tour (2002)
Professional wins 20 (LPGA Tour: 17, Futures Tour: 3)
Major Championships Top Finishes
Wins: 1
Kraft Nabisco 2nd: 2006
LPGA Championship T5: 2005
U.S. Women's Open T2: 2007
Women's British Open Won 2007
Awards listed here
Lorena Ochoa (born in Guadalajara, Jalisco on 15 November 1981) is a Mexican golfer who plays on the U.S.-based LPGA Tour and is currently the number one ranked woman golfer in the world. She was only the second Mexican to become a member of the world's leading women's golf tour, where she quickly became one of the tour's top players and the first Mexican golfer of either gender to be ranked number one in the world.[1]

1 Childhood and amateur career
2 Professional career
3 Professional wins (20)
3.1 Futures Tour (3)
3.2 LPGA Tour (17)
4 Results in LPGA majors
5 LPGA Tour career summary
6 Honors
7 Awards
8 Notes and references
9 External links

[edit] Childhood and amateur career
Ochoa grew up next door to the Guadalajara Country Club[2] and took up golf at the age of five. She won her first state event at the age of six and her first national event at seven. All told as a junior she captured 22 state events in Guadalajara and 44 national events in Mexico. She won five consecutive titles at the Junior World Golf Championships[3][4][5][6][7] and in 2000 she enrolled at the University of Arizona in the United States.

She was very successful in women's collegiate golf in the next two years, winning the NCAA Player of the Year Awards for 2001 and 2002, finishing runner-up at both the 2001 and 2002 NCAA National Championship[8] and being named to the National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA) 2001 All-America First team.[9] She won the 2001 Pac-10 Women's Golf Championships,[10] was named PAC-10 Freshman/Newcomer of the Year 2001 and was All Pac-10 First team in 2001 and 2002.[11]

In her sophomore year she had eight tournament wins in ten events she entered[1] and set an NCAA record with seven consecutive victories in her first seven events.[12] She won the Golfstat Cup, which is given to the player who has the best scoring average versus par with at least 20 full rounds played during a season in both 2001 and 2002,[13] setting the single-season NCAA scoring average record as a freshman at 71.33 and beating her own record the next year by just over a stroke per round with a 70.13 average.[8]

In November 2001, Ochoa was presented with Mexico's National Sports Award by Mexican President Vicente Fox. She was the youngest recipient of her country's highest sporting accolade,[2] and the first golfer to receive it. In 2006 she was named NCAA Division I Women's Golf Most Outstanding Student Athlete, an award which was bestowed as part of the 25th Anniversary of Women's Championships celebration, taking into account outstanding performances over the past 25 years.[8] She was the recipient of the 2003 Nancy Lopez Award which is presented annually to the world's most outstanding female amateur golfer.[14]

[edit] Professional career
Ochoa left university after her sophomore year to turn professional. She won three of her ten events on the 2002 Futures Tour, and topped the money list to earn membership on the LPGA Tour for the following season.[15] She was also Duramed FUTURES Tour Player of the Year.[16]

In her rookie season she gained eight top-10 finishes including two runner up finishes at the Wegmans Rochester and Michelob Light Open at Kingsmill ending the season as the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award[17] and ninth on the money list. In 2004 she won her first two LPGA Tour titles, the Franklin American Mortgage Championship (where she became the first Mexican born player to win on the LPGA Tour) and the Wachovia LPGA Classic.[18] That same year she placed in the top ten in three of the four majors.

In 2005, she won the Wegman's Rochester LPGA. In 2006, her first round score of 62 in the Kraft Nabisco Championship tied the record for lowest score ever by a golfer, male or female, in any major tournament. Her playoff loss to Karrie Webb marked her best finish until 2007 in an LPGA major. By the end of the year she won six tournaments, topped the moneylist and claimed her first LPGA Tour Player of the Year award which goes to the player who gains the most number of points throughout the season based on a formula in which points are awarded for top-10 finishes and are doubled at the LPGA's four major championships and at the season-ending ADT Championship.[19] She also won the LPGA Vare Trophy for lowest scoring average on the LPGA Tour.[20]

Her achievements were recognized outside the sport of golf when Ochoa won the 2006 Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year award and received the National Sports Prize for the second time.[21]

In April 2007, Ochoa overtook Annika Sörenstam to become World number one ranked golfer.[22]

In August 2007, Ochoa won her first major championship at the historic home of golf, the Old Course at St. Andrews, with a wire-to-wire win by four shots at the Women's British Open.[23] She won the next two LPGA events, the CN Canadian Women's Open and the Safeway Classic, the first to win three consecutive events since Annika Sörenstam in 2005.[24]

Also in 2007, Ochoa became the first woman ever to earn more than $3,000,000 in a single season, surpasing Annika Sorenstam's previous record of $2,863,904.


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