Ochoa Leads with Second Straight 66 in Mexico

By Associated PressApril 11, 2008, 4:00 pm
LPGA Tour _newMORELIA, Mexico -- Lorena Ochoa shot her second straight 7-under 66 on Friday to take a one-stroke lead in the Corona Championship and move a step closer to becoming the youngest player to qualify for the LPGA Tour Hall of Fame.
 
It was a great day, Ochoa said. No bogeys. I enjoyed that very much.
 
South Koreas Inbee Park was second after a 9-under 64 that tied the course record set by Ochoa in 2006 and 2007.
 
Park was excited about playing alongside the top-ranked Mexican star on Saturday.
 
Ive always wanted to, but never got a chance to because she always plays in the last group and I never do, said Park, who had 10 birdies Friday,
 
Ochoa, the Kraft Nabisco Championship winner Sunday for her second straight major victory and third win in three starts this year, said she liked the close competition because it pushed her to focus.
 
It makes me more aggressive and try to catch up, but either way, tomorrow Im going to play like Im three or four shots behind and try to win the tournament, the 20-time LPGA Tour winner said.
 
If the 26-year-old Ochoa wins Sunday, she will earn the last of the 27 points needed to qualify for the Hall of Fame. The youngest to qualify previously was Se Ri Pak, who was 26 years when she won the Michelob Ultra Open in 2004.
 
The LPGA Tour awards one point for every victory and major award and two points for a major victory. Ochoa still must play 10 years on the LPGA Tour before she becomes eligible for the Hall of Fame, a goal she would reach in the 2012 season.
 
A victory Sunday also would also be her second at the rugged Tres Marias, a steep and often rocky course carved into a mountain valley in western Mexico. She was the Corona champion in 2006, her only tournament win on Mexican soil.
 
On Thursday, Ochoa eagled two par 5s in a 66 to tie for the lead with South Koreas Song-Hee Kim. On Friday, Ochoa eagled the par-5 10th.
 
Kim was three strokes back after a 69.
 
It was tougher than yesterday, she said. I had some tough shots. Did you see me (on) 18? It was terrible.
 
Ochoa has been trailed by a growing crowd of Mexican fans, many young, budding golfers who hope to follow in her footsteps. As she shuttled between media interviews Friday on a terrace overlooking the clubs pool, several kids stood up in a hot tub, waving and shouting in unison: Lorena! Congratulations!
 
She paused, looked up, and waved back: Gracias!
 
Ochoa said she was enjoying the attention.
 
We had great galleries and a lot of people who came to watch us play, which is very good, she said. I just really enjoyed the day. Hopefully we have a couple more of those and take a run at the title on Sunday.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage
  • Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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

    Getty Images

    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.”

    Getty Images

    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.