Ochoa Wins Bound for Hall of Fame

By Associated PressApril 13, 2008, 4:00 pm
LPGA Tour _newMORELIA, Mexico -- Lorena Ochoa wasnt distracted when the fans chanted her name on only the second hole. She stayed focused on her game, even as the crowd grew to thousands by the end of the day.
 
But by her last stroke on the 18th hole Sunday, the emotions were too much. The Mexican star had just won her third straight tournament and qualified for the LPGA Tour Hall of Fame, all at home, surrounded by family, friends and fans. She was overcome.
 
I did fine, but once I was on 18, and had a short putt, everything came into my head, she said. Im glad I had a short putt.
 
Thats when the crowd went crazy. Shouts, whistles, songs, they all echoed in the mountain valley. Ochoa held up the Mexican flag, and was sprayed with champagne. A sign hung from a clifftop home read: Super Lorena, with the insignia of Superman.
 
This was no ordinary tournament win. This was Mexico celebrating one of its finest.
 
Ochoa didnt just win the Corona Championship. She claimed the victory by 11 strokes for her fourth win in five starts this year.
 
The Mexican star became the second-youngest player to qualify for the Hall of Fame, though she still must be a tour member for 10 years'in her case, until 2012'to be eligible for induction.
 
It was very special to do it here in my home country, she said.
 
The LPGA Tour had previously said incorrectly that Ochoa would be the youngest to qualify at 26 years, 4 months, 29 days. But the youngest was actually Karrie Webb, who was 25 years, 7 months, 2 days when she qualified at the 2000 U.S. Womens Open.
 
The tour awards a point for every victory and major award and two points for a major victory.
 
Ochoa said she was honored to be among players she has always admired.
 
They are my motivation, and when I played college, I always looked up to them and I wanted to be like them, so just to be part of that group is a very special feeling, she said.
 
After opening with three straight 7-under 66s, Ochoa closed with a 69 for a 25-under 267 total. She earned $195,000 for her 21st victory on the LPGA Tour.
 
It also was her second win in three years on the rugged Tres Marias course, a par-73 layout carved into a mountain valley in western Mexico.
 
After winning eight times last year, Ochoa opened the season with an 11-stroke victory in the HSBC Champions in Singapore, tied for eighth in the MasterCard Classic at Bosque Real in the tours first Mexican event of the year, then successfully defended her Safeway International title with a seven-stroke romp. Last week, she won the Kraft Nabisco Championship by five strokes for her second straight major victory.
 
Ochoa had a seven-stroke lead entering play Sunday. She birdied the first, sixth and eighth holes, but dropped three strokes with a triple bogey on the 11th hole. She came back with birdies on the 13th, 14th, 16th and 18th holes.
 
She had described her play at the tournament as among her best.
 
It was an amazing week, she said.
 
South Koreas Song-Hee Kim (72) was second at 14 under.
 
Ochoa has brought thousands of players to the game in Mexico, where it was traditionally played mostly by super rich Mexican men and vacationing foreigners.
 
Those who followed her play this weekend showed that her success translates across age, gender and even economic lines. She was trailed by small children carrying plastic golf clubs and women in three-inch high heels and matching designer handbags. Even course employees collecting trash would pause and watch in awe as she passed.
 
Monica Garcia, 30, and her husband, Luis Ortiz, were among the crowd and described themselves as Lorena fanatics. They bring their two children to watch her play each year at Tres Marias.
 
Shes a role model for all Mexicans, Ortiz said.
 
And even more so for women, added Garcia, her familys only golf player. She makes you believe you can do anything you want and be the best at it.
 
Ochoa was always thankful for the support, spending time signing autographs and stopping in the middle of press conferences to acknowledge a group of fans. She savored her homecoming Sunday, kissing her trophy as she was serenaded by a mariachi band. Several times, she put her hand on her chest and looked around in wonder. She seemed to fight back tears.
 
This is a best I have ever felt, and it gives me goose bumps, she said. It feels very nice.
 
But, before long, she was focused again on the game. Asked how she would celebrate, she said: Im going to go home, right now. I need to unpack and pack because tomorrow I leave to Orlando at 9 a.m. (for the Ginn Open).
 
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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.