Ochoa Starts Strong Wie Even Par

By Associated PressAugust 2, 2007, 4:00 pm
Ricoh WomenST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- If Lorena Ochoa has been saving her first major for the home of golf, it gave her the ideal start.
 
The Mexican compiled a bogey-free 6-under 67 at St. Andrews in calm, sunny conditions on Thursday to take a two-shot lead in the Women's British Open. It was the first time the women pros had played at the famous course and she came up with the best opening round.
 
Lorena Ochoa
Lorena Ochoa got off to a running start at the Women's British Open. (Getty Images)
'It was just a really good day, one of those days when things are easy and really good. There was only a little bit of a breeze and I took advantage of that and made some birdies.
 
'I had in my head 2 or 3 under so it's even better than I thought.'
 
Ochoa finished well before lunch and then sat back to see if any of her rivals could catch up.
 
Sweden's Louise Friberg and South Korea's In-Bee Park are two behind after 69s with Japan's Ai Miyazato and England's Rebecca Hudson three off the lead after 70s. Annika Sorenstam had a 1-under 72 while Michelle Wie showed signs of straightening out her game with an even-par 73.
 
The strong winds that often blow across this part of Scotland took the day off and Ochoa took full advantage. The forecast for Friday and Saturday includes winds of up to 35 mph.
 
'I believe in myself and I was feeling good in the morning,' said Ochoa, who tied for second at the U.S. Women's Open a month ago and finished second, third and fourth in other majors. 'We are all excited to be here and I'm just glad I did it right on my first try and take as much advantage as you can and now I'm feeling good.
 
Many of the star names teed off early -- before 7 am local time -- for the benefit of live TV coverage in Asia and that suited Ochoa.
 
'It was a really early wakeup call but I don't mind that,' she said. 'I'm a morning person. I don't know how the next three days look and how the weather is going to be, but I'm happy I did it today.'
 
By the time she walked off the 18th green, few players out on the course were threatening her lead.
 
The 17-year-old Wie was two shots behind Ochoa until bogeys on two of the final five holes.
 
'It was semi-disappointing and semi-successful,' said Wie, who is recovering from an injured left wrist and has failed to break 70 in more than a year.
 
'It's the first time I've played really solidly, but I missed some reasonably easy putts. I'm starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel now.'
 
In perfect weather at St. Andrews, Ochoa birdied three straight holes and stretched her lead to three shots when her long approach to the 15th settled 2 feet from the pin.
 
That was her fifth birdie, and another followed at the 17th, the usually tough Road Hole which has been made a par 5 for the Women's Open and became the easiest to score under par.
 
Ochoa's second shot finished at the back of the green and her first putt left her with a 5-footer for birdie. After Miyazato bogeyed the 16th, Ochoa walked onto the 18th green four ahead of the field, then narrowly missed a 15-foot birdie on the final hole.
 
After winning her first title at the Evian Masters on Sunday, Natalie Gulbis didn't expect to be five behind at the turn. Without a birdie on the front nine, the American was 1 over after her bogey 5 at the second and went on for par 73, along with Paula Creamer.
 
U.S. Women's Open champion Cristie Kerr struggled to a 77, beginning her round with two bogeys.
 
'I've been putting way too much pressure on myself since the Open and it has backfired on me,' she said. 'I'm pushing it way too hard.'
 
Another major winner Morgan Pressel, who won the Kraft Nabisco, had even more problems. She finished at 80, which included nine bogeys.
 
Defending champion Sherri Steinhauer, who is going for her fourth title in this tournament, had a 72.
 
Related Links:
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    After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

    Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

    Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

    Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

    It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


    On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

    There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

    He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

    His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

    Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

    He picked up one more No. 2, too.

    The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

    In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

    Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

    “It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

    Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

    Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

    He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

    Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

    Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

    His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

    “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

    Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

    Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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    Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

    Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

    Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

    What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

    Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

    Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

    Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

    Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

    Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

    Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry