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.
 
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    McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

    One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

    McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

    It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

    McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

    Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

    Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

    Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

    The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

    The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

    Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

    The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

    A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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    Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

    Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

    Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

    South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

    Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

    The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

     

     

    Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

    By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

    It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

    Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

    Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

    "We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."


    Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout


    Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

    Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.