Ochoa to Battle Demons on Sunday

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 Safeway International pres by CocaColaSUPERSTITION, Ariz. -- A fast start and strong finish to a long day has Lorena Ochoa well on her way to her 10th LPGA Tour victory and first of the year.
 
As long as she can ignore those Superstition Mountain demons of two years ago.
 
The tour's reigning player of the year shot a 3-under 69 on Saturday to take a four-stroke lead into the final round of the Safeway International.
 
The Mexican star, who finished off a second-round 64 on Saturday morning, had a 14-under 202 total on the Prospector Course.
 
Norway's Suzann Pettersen (69) and South Korea's Jeong Jang (68) were second at 10-under 206. Shi Hyun Ahn (68) was 8 under, six behind the leader. Annika Sorenstam (69) was in a group of four at 6 under.
 
Overall, Ochoa played 22 holes Saturday, the first four to finish her weather-disrupted second round. She birdied two of those holes, then two of the first four of her third round to reach 13 under.
 
After that, as the sky cleared, she ran off a string of 13 pars before a near-eagle on the 18th. She hit a 3-wood some 240 yards onto the green, then just missed a 23-foot putt for eagle, tapping it in for a birdie to end a day she said began at 4:45 a.m.
 
Two years ago, Ochoa had one of her most heart-wrenching days in golf, blowing a four-shot lead with three holes to play, then losing in a playoff to Sorenstam. Since then, though, the 25-year-old Mexican has matured into a player so talented she's challenging Sorenstam's long hold on supremacy on the tour.
 
'I don't even remember what happened in 2005,' Ochoa said. 'You made a mistake and just put it in the trash. You've got to keep moving. ... I think I'm just more in control of my emotions, the adrenaline, the pressure.'
 
Ochoa won six tournaments last year to end Sorenstam's five-year run as player of the year.
 
'I'm really thankful. I'm really happy,' Ochoa said. 'Last year was a great season. I learned so much that year. It made me a better player and a stronger player.'
 
Ochoa's strong finish early Saturday completed a second round of 8-under 64, giving her a three-shot lead over Catriana Matthew entering the third round. Matthew faded to a 2-over 72 and was in the group with Sorenstam at 6 under.
 
Ochoa's lead reached six shots at one point on the 6,620-yard course -- in the shadow of the rugged, barren Superstition Mountains about 50 miles east of Phoenix.
 
Pettersen, never a winner on the tour, had an erratic round that featured eight birdies and five bogeys. After 16 holes, she was within two shots of Ochoa, but bogeyed the 17th, then settled for par on No. 18.
 
Jang birdied the final two holes for her 68.
 
Like Sorenstam, Ochoa was a standout at the University of Arizona. She also appreciates the strong following she has in the state because of her Mexican roots.
 
'This is a special place for me,' she said. 'I want to get this trophy, not for me, but for the grounds crew and for the Mexicans that are out here watching me play. Tomorrow I have my coach at the university coming, the golf team, family, my roommate. They support me the whole year and they're very important in my life.'
 
A victory also would be a good warmup heading into next week's Kraft Nabisco Championship, the year's first major.
 
'I think this is a great preparation for the Nabisco,' Ochoa said. 'The greens are in great shape, really fast. The rough is getting higher, the narrow fairways. It's going to make me feel more comfortable next week, knowing my golf is in good shape.'
 
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    Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

    Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)

    The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...


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    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

    He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

    Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

    Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.


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    In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

    Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

    Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

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    Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

    By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

    The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

    They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

    Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

    Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

    Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

    ''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

    The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

    In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

    Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.