Miyazato tops Wie Ochoa in Mexico

By Associated PressMay 3, 2010, 2:16 am

LPGA Tour _newMORELIA, Mexico – Ai Miyazato was fine moments after her third LPGA title of the season. She only started to tear up when she began talking about Lorena Ochoa.

Miyazato shot a 6-under 67 on Sunday to win the Tres Marias Championship, but was overshadowed by Ochoa’s last round before stepping into retirement to raise a family and focus on her charity foundation.

During the trophy ceremony on the 18th green, Miyazato broke down crying as she thanked Ochoa. Ochoa, a few feet away, also rubbed tears from her eyes in bright sunlight on the mountainside course. Ochoa choose Miyazato as her playing partner for the first two rounds.

“I want to say thanks to Lorena,” Miyazato said. “I really appreciate what she did for the LPGA and what she did for her country here in Mexico.”

“She is one of my best friends,” Miyazato said, beginning to cry. “I’m going to miss her.”

Miyazato, the 24-year-old Japanese star who swept the season-opening events in Thailand and Singapore after winning the Evian Masters last year in France for her first LPGA title, finished at 19-under 273.

Stacy Lewis (66) was a stroke back, and Michelle Wie (68) was third at 17 under. Ochoa, the tournament winner three of the last four years, shot a 71 to finish sixth at 12 under.

Ochoa has held the No. 1 ranking since April 2007 but she will lose it when the rankings come out Monday, with Jiyai Shin taking over. Shin won in Japan on Sunday.

Michelle Ellis, president of the LPGA players’ association, was one of several people who saluted Ochoa on the 18th green.

“She is going to be dearly missed by the players and all member of the LPGA family,” Ellis said. “I think her heart and her spirit out does her golf game by 1,000 yards.”

Ochoa won 27 tournaments, including two majors, and won the Player of the Year title four straight years.

“For the last eight years all of you have been there,” Ochoa said, sobbing as she spoke to fellow players. “First when I got here everybody was friendly and welcoming. So thanks for being friends, for the inspiration. It is hard to put into words, but this has been eight years of a lot of fun and I made friends I will never forget in my life.”

Ochoa found find time for everyone, even on the final day of her career.

Walking down the first fairway she stopped to kiss two young boys on the cheek who were carrying the scoreboard.

Approaching the second green, she stopped to embrace fellow player Christina Kim, who ran from the eighth green to hug her.

“I’m not going to be able to wait to see her when she finishes, so I wanted to do it here,” Kim said.

Kim described Ochoa a few days ago as a near-saint in Mexico.

“I’ve been saying for years she going to be canonized one of these days,” Kim said.

Elizabeth Arroyo and husband Jose drove three hours from the city of Guanajuato.

“Lorena is important for golf, but she is more important for the image of women in Mexico,” Elizabeth said.

Dante Aleman, a 24-year-old selling ice cream, placed Ochoa up there with Mexico’s best-known football players. He also acknowledged he knew little about her until a few weeks ago, reminding that golf is followed in Mexico by a tiny minority.

“She is famous for her achievements, but now there is more attention on her since she is retiring,” he said.

All day, the crowds chanted “Go Lore!” or “You can do it!” Near the ninth tee hundreds of fans held up red, yellow, blue and pink cards spelling out “Lorena.” Moments before she stopped just short of throwing her club to the ground when a poor chip fell short of the green.

As she walked up the 18th fairway, thousands began waving white handkerchiefs – like they do at a bullfight to salute the bullfighter – and shouted “Lo-Re-Na! “Lo-Re-Na!”

“This is pretty special,” said Ellis, the LPGA player president.

Wie started the day a shot behind Miyazato but climbed into the lead – one shot ahead of Miyazato and Lewis – with an eagle on the par-4 ninth. Wie was 17 under, two strokes ahead of Miyazato and Lewis. But she fell to 15 under with a double bogey on the par-3 13th.

In the meantime, Miyazato began moving away. She birdied six of seven holes between No. 8 and 14 to move to 20 under.

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Fowler among 5 to skip WGC-Match Play

By Ryan LavnerMarch 17, 2018, 2:24 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Five of the top 64 players in the world will skip next week’s WGC-Dell Match Play.

Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Brooks Koepka and Adam Scott all will miss the second WGC event of the year, held next week at Austin Country Club.

As a result, the last man into the field is world No. 69 Luke List. Kevin Na, Charles Howell III, Joost Luiten and Keegan Bradley also got into the field.

Julian Suri and Bill Haas are the first two alternates, if anyone else withdraws from the round-robin-style match-play event.

This is the second year in a row that Rose, Fowler, Stenson and Scott will not play in Austin. Koepka reached the quarterfinals each of the past two years, but he is still recovering from a wrist injury.

The final seeding for the event will be determined after this week’s tournaments. The bracket show is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, live on Golf Channel.

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Korda happy to finally be free of jaw pain

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 2:43 am

PHOENIX – Jessica Korda isn’t as surprised as everyone else that she is playing so well, so quickly, upon her return from a complex and painful offseason surgery.

She is inspired finally getting to play without recurring headaches.

“I’d been in pain for three years,” she said after posting a 4-under-par 68 Friday to move two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

Korda had her upper jaw broken in three places and her low jaw broken in two places in December in a procedure that fixed the alignment of her jaw.

Korda, 25, said the headaches caused by her overbite even affected her personality.

“Affects your moods,” Korda said. “I think I was pretty snappy back then as well.”

She was pretty pleased Friday to give herself a weekend chance at her sixth LPGA title, her second in her last three starts. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago in her first start after returning from surgery.

“I'm much happier now,” Korda said. “Much calmer.”

Even if she still can’t eat the things she would really like to eat. She’s still recuperating. She said the lower part of her face remains numb, and it’s painful to chew crunchy things.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“Chips are totally out of question,” Korda said.

She can eat most things she likes, but she has to cut them into tiny pieces. She can’t wait to be able to eat a steak.

“They broke my palate, so I can't feel anything, even heat,” Korda said. “So that's a bit difficult, because I can't feel any heat on my lip or palate. I don't know how hot things are going in until they hit my throat.”

Korda has 27 screws in her skull holding the realignment together. She needed her family to feed her, bathe her and dress her while she recovered. The procedure changed the way she looks.

While Korda’s ordeal and all that went into her recovery has helped fans relate to her, she said it’s the desire to move on that motivates her.

“Because I was so drugged up, I don't remember a lot of it,” Korda said. “I try to forget a lot of it. I don't think of it like I went through a lot. I just think of it as I'm pain-free. So, yeah, people are like, `Oh, you're so brave, you overcame this and that.’ For me, I'm just going forward.”

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Finally adapted to short putter, Martin near lead

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 1:54 am

PHOENIX – Mo Martin loved her long putter.

In fact, she named her “Mona.”

For 10 years, Martin didn’t putt with anything else. She grew up with long putters, from the time she started playing when she was 5.

While Martin won the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2014, about nine months after giving up Mona for a short putter, she said it’s taken until today to feel totally comfortable with one.

And that has her excited about this year.

Well, that and having a healthy back again.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“I've had a feeling that this year was going to be a good one,” Martin said. “My game is in a special place.”

Martin was beaming after a 6-under-par 66 Friday moved her two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

“Just a beautiful day,” Martin said. “I was able to play my game, make my putts.”

Martin hit all 14 fairways in the second round, hit 15 greens in regulation and took just 27 putts. After struggling with nagging back pain last year, she’s pain free again.

She’s happy to “just to get back to a place now where my ball striking is where it has been the last few years.”

Martin, by the way, says Mona remains preserved in a special place, “a shrine” in her home.

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Clanton rides hole-out eagle to lead at Founders

By Associated PressMarch 17, 2018, 1:47 am

PHOENIX - Cydney Clanton holed out from the fairway for eagle on the par-4 13th and closed with a birdie Friday to take the second-round lead in the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

Clanton shot a 5-under 67, playing the back nine at Desert Ridge in 5-under 31 to reach 9-under 135.

Clanton's wedge on the 13th flew into the cup on the first bounce. She also birdied the par-5 11th and 15th and the par-4 18th. The 28-year-old former Auburn player is winless on the LPGA.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Ariya Jutanugarn, Marina Alex, Karine Icher and Mariajo Uribe were a stroke back on a calmer day after wind made scoring more difficult Thursday.

Jessica Korda and Mo Martin were 7 under, and Michelle Wie topped the group at 6 under.