Ochoa aims for 4th straight win at Sybase in May

By Associated PressApril 15, 2009, 4:00 pm
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CLIFTON, N.J. ' When it comes to the LPGA Sybase Classic, nothing seems to upstage Lorena Ochoa.
 
A year ago, Annika Sorenstam announced her retirement on the eve of the $2 million tournament at the Upper Montclair Country Club.
 
No sweat. Ochoa offered Sorenstam her own little goodbye, taking command over the final two days to win the 72-hole event for the third straight year.
 
With the course reminding her of one she plays at home in Mexico, Ochoa said Tuesday she has a shot at winning a fourth straight year. Thats something she has never done since joining the LPGA Tour.
 
Ive never been in that situation, but like I said before, its more than pressure. Its motivation, Ochoa said in a conference call from Guadalajara. I have the opportunity to do something special.
 
So, Im just going to enjoy it. Im going to get there with a smile on my face. I know that if I play the way I played, I can be there on Sunday.
 
While Sorenstam wont be around to challenge Ochoa, the field for the May 14-17 event already includes Michelle Wie and 23-year-old Korean sensation Jiyai Shin, who currently leads the LPGA earnings.
 
Ochoa, who has replaced Sorenstam as the face of the LPGA, admits she misses the Swede. However, she believes the competition is not lacking.
 
I think we are in a great place because there are so many good players, more Americans this year, which I think is good for the LPGA, for the media, Ochoa said. Michelle Wie is back and everybody likes that. Hopefully, she plays better in the next few tournaments. Shes struggled a bit the last couple of weeks.
 
I dont feel pressure at all. Like I said, Im very motivated, I am at the top and Im going to do whatever it takes to stay there.
 
Staying on top at the Upper Montclair Country Club has not been hard for Ochoa. The tournament moved here two years ago from Wykagyl Country Club in the northern suburbs of New York City, and Ochoa has owned it.
 
I feel like home, she said. I love the Northeast golf courses, just old, traditional with a lot of trees. I like the small greens, poa annua greens, the same type of greens that I play here in Guadalajara. It just makes me feel comfortable.
 
Ochoa has played in five events this year, winning her first start in Thailand and posting three Top 10s. Her 70.16 scoring average is the best on the tour, and her earning of $430,205 is second to Shins $470,895. She is also second to Brittany Lincicome in the race for player of the year.
 
I can see good things about my game, said the 27-year-old, who has won 25 LPGA Tour events. Ive been practicing hard this season trying to make changes and make a stronger break with my left hand and change a little bit my putting stroke. Im really excited to see that Im going in the right direction.
 
If there is a concern for Ochoa, its the economy. The LPGA tour lost a couple of events this season. There are only two events in April.
 
We are looking to get a couple of new sponsors, but its not easy, Ochoa said. I think what we can do is just to really spend more time with our sponsors, trying to support as much as we can.
 
I believe that the LPGA is very strong, and that we should be in good shape. We are working together and for sure spend more time with the sponsors, thats one of our responsibilities and its going to help our tour.
 
Ochoa plans to defend her title April 23-26 in the Corona Championship in Mexico. The week before the Sybase event, she intends to play in Michelob ULTRA Open at Kingsmill in Williamsburg, Va.
 
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    Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

    Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

    Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

    As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

    "That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

    Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

    Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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    Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

    If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

    Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

    But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

    Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

    Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

    Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

    Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

    Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

    Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

    Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

    Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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    Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

    Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

    “It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

    “What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

    Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

    “When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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    Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

    SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

    Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

    Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

    Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.