Ochoa Storms to Lead in Mexico

By Sports NetworkOctober 6, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 Corona Morelia ChampionshipMORELIA, Mexico -- Bad news for the rest of the field: Lorena Ochoa believes she can do better.
 
Ochoa, from the nearby city of Guadalajara, fired a 9-under 64 on Friday to set a course record and take the lead after two rounds of the Corona Morelia Championship.
 
Spurred on by a cheering and supportive gallery, Ochoa had an eagle, eight birdies and one bogey in her second round. She stands at 11-under-par 135 for a three-shot lead over Sun Young Yoo.
 
Ochoa's 64 broke the previous Tres Marias course record of 66 set by Natalie Gulbis in the inaugural event last year. Her 135 is a tournament record for 36 holes, beating by two shots the previous record held by defending champion Carin Koch.
 
But the LPGA Tour's leading money winner was serious when she said she can do better.
 
'This is my best round in my country with my people,' Ochoa said. 'It was very special day and I will remember for many, many years. Right now, I believe I can do better.'
 
Friday's round will be a tough one to beat.
 
Ochoa had two early birdies at the first and second holes, but her round really took off when she holed an 8-iron from 131 yards for an eagle at the par-4 seventh.
 
Not nearly content, Ochoa birdied four straight holes after that. She drained 2-foot putts at the eighth and ninth, two-putted from 30 feet at the 10th and rolled in a 13-footer at the 11th.
 
She got to 11 under with another birdie at the par-3 14th, where she made a 10-foot putt.
 
'It's one of the things I've been working on with my coach -- when you start making birdies just to keep making them,' Ochoa said. 'I was hitting good shots and making putts. It was just one of those days when things are easy.'
 
Ochoa dipped to 10 under when she bogeyed 15 from the sand, but she got the shot back with a 15-foot birdie putt at the 18th.
 
Feeling no relief, even with a three-shot lead, Ochoa has the weekend to improve upon her 16th place finish last year.
 
'We still have two more days to go, but I like my position,' Ochoa said. 'I'm feeling good. It was a great day today and hopefully I'll play good the next two days and I will be in good shape.'
 
Yoo had a 6-under 67 on the par-73 layout to get to 8-under 138. She played bogey-free on Friday and has made just one bogey so far in 36 holes.
 
Kelli Kuehne shot a 3-under 70 and is alone in third place at 7-under 139. Julieta Granada and Heather Young are one shot further back at 140 following their second consecutive rounds of 70.
 
The cut fell at 5-over 151 with 70 players moving on to the weekend.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Corona Morelia Championship
  • Full Coverage - Corona Morelia Championship
  • Getty Images

    McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

    By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

    The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

    McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

    McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

    ''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

    Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

    ''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

    McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

    ''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

    The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

    ''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

    The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

    Getty Images

    Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

    By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

    If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days of engaging in pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

    Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

    If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

    Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

    Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

    I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

    A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

    And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

    Getty Images

    Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

    Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

    The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

    Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

    “I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

    Getty Images

    Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

    Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

    Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.