Lorena Ochoa tops Suzann Pettersen in Mexico

By Associated PressApril 26, 2009, 4:00 pm
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LPGA Tour _newMORELIA, Mexico ' Mexican star Lorena Ochoa shot a 5-under 68 on Sunday to hold off Norways Suzann Pettersen by a stroke in a dramatic final round and win the Corona Championship for the second straight year.
 
Ochoa, who also won the tournament in 2006, had back-to-back birdies on the 15th and 16th holes to break a tie with Pettersen and finish at 25-under 267.
 
Suzann Pettersen and Lorena Ochoa
Suzann Pettersen and Lorena Ochoa put on a heated battled down in Mexico. (Getty Images)
The charismatic star played without regular caddy Dave Booker, who got hurt playing a soccer match on Saturday and was unable to help the 27-year-old Ochoa around Tres Marias Residential Country Club. She ended up calling on childhood coach Rafael Alarcon to caddie for her.
 
I hope Dave gets well soon, we dont know for how long hes going to be out, but Rafa was very important today. He knows my game very well and we will make a decision for the future later on this week, Ochoa said.
 
Rafa has been giving me advice since I was little, so we didnt do anything different out there, just enjoy it.
 
Alarcon helped Ochoa win her 26th career title and second this season. It was also Ochoas third win in her home country, where she has played 11 of the 13 LPGA events staged there.
 
South Koreas Na Yeon Choi finished third at 18 under, Wendy Ward was another shot back and Christie Kerr and Yani Tseng tied for fifth at 16 under par.
 
Ochoa, who won last years tournament by 11 shots, didnt have such an easy time on Sunday despite finishing the tournament with the exact same score.
 
In a golf tournament, where one (stroke) is enough to win, there is no difference. This is a complicated year, there are many players who want to win, you can see that every week, Ochoa added. This year, it will be very hard to win by 10. That is why I keep practicing, trying to improve ' to remain on top of them.
 
Pettersen tied for the lead with a birdie on the third hole, Ochoa recaptured it with a birdie on the fourth, and the Norwegian birdied again at the fifth to tie it once more.
 
Ochoa took a two-stroke lead with birdies on the sixth and eighth, but a bogey at the 11th and Pettersons birdie at the 12th tied it again.
 
Ochoa took the lead for good with birdies at No. 15 and No. 16, calling her putt there one of the best of her career and denying Petterson her first LGPA win since 2007.
 
I had a one-stroke lead over her after the 15th, she missed her putt and I knew that, with a birdie, I was going to take a two-stroke lead with two holes left to play, so I made the decision to go for it, Ochoa said. I had a good putt, a little bit soft, but it fell. That was beautiful.
 
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    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

    While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

    He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

    "A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

    Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

    "If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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    Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

    When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

    Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

    "I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


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    The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

    "It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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    DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

    World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

    Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

    "It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

    Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

    Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

    "I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

    Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

    "If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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    LPGA lists April date for new LA event

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

    The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

    When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

    The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

    The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.