Ochoa Zeros in on Historic Victory

By Sports NetworkOctober 7, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 Corona Morelia ChampionshipMORELIA, Mexico -- Lorena Ochoa moved closer to her first LPGA Tour victory in her homeland, shooting a 5-under 68 on Saturday to maintain a three-stroke lead with one round left in the Corona Morelia Championship.
 
The 24-year-old star from Guadalajara, seeking her fourth victory of the season, had a 16-under 203 total. She stayed consistent, hitting straight drives and safe approaches that kept her out of trouble on the hilly Tres Marias course.
 
Paraguay's Julieta Granada (66) was second at 13 under. First-round leader Brandie Burton (67) was 9 under, and Christina Kim (65) and Young Jo (69) were another stroke back. Wendy Ward (71) and 18-year-old Morgan Pressel (71) were 7 under.
 
The third round did not feature the same fireworks for Ochoa as Friday, when she shot a course-record 64 to move atop the leaderboard. Still, she got aggressive at times, recording an eagle on the 466-yard, par-5 10th. She also converted five birdies to offset a pair of bogeys.
 
Ochoa's success Friday swelled the crowds following her from hole-to-hole to more than 600 a day later. Every long putt she made was greeted by whoops and whistles, chants of 'Let's Go Lorena!' and even a couple of marriage proposals. Many fans wore red caps embroidered with Ochoa's 'L' logo.
 
The former University of Arizona player was a non-factor at last year's inaugural Corona Morelia Championship and at the LPGA Tour's MasterCard Classic played outside Mexico City in March 2005 and 2006. She faltered under pressure, seemingly pressing too hard to impress droves fans, who hung on her every swing.
 
But a solid day Sunday should dispel forever questions about Ochoa's struggles south of the border, where her success has made golf front-page news -- even in a soccer-obsessed nation. Charming and colonial Morelia is 175 miles from Guadalajara and dozens of Ochoa's friends and family members were among those who followed her round.
 
Ochoa leads the LPGA Tour in earnings with $1,974,122 and if she wins or comes close in Morelia -- the purse is $1 million, with $150,000 going to the winner -- she will top $2 million for the season, becoming just the second player to do so after world No. 1 Annika Sorenstam.
 
Sorenstam, who did not travel to Morelia, has led the money list every year since 2001, but is third behind Ochoa and Karrie Webb this season.
 
Many in the crowd also supported the Spanish-speaking Granada, cheering when she birdied or holed long putts to save par. The 19-year-old, who is seeking her first LPGA Tour victory, has a smaller, lighter bag than most players and uses her mother, Rosa, as her caddie.
 
Granada, who has said she considers Ochoa a kind of older sister on the LPGA Tour, also had an eagle on No. 10 and had three straight birdies on Nos. 15 to 17. She made a bogey on 345-yard, par-4 11th for the third straight day, however.
 
'Lorena's a great player, but you have to go out and play golf and try to win,' she said. 'I think the fans are going to be split pretty evenly between us.'
 
Granada said she will feel pressure being so close to her first victory, but that Ochoa will likely be nervous while trying to close out a win in her country.
 
'Both us are going to be a little bit nervous,' she said.
 
Kim had the day's best round at 8 under, hitting a 5-wood from 215 yards to 4 feet from the hole for an eagle on par-5 eighth, then reaching the green with her 4-iron from 208 yards out and sinking a 16-foot putt for another eagle on No. 10. She also had five birdies, but missed a 4-foot putt for par on No. 4.
 
But she said was already planning to celebrate a win here with her friend Ochoa, saying, 'I may spray her with some champagne.'
 
'I think they say they've got some good discos in town so, if she's willing to go, I'd like to go,' Kim said. 'I would mean a lot to me if Lorena won here in Mexico.'
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Corona Morelia Championship
  • Full Coverage - Corona Morelia Championship
  • Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

    Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

    In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

    "It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

    “Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

    “That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

    Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

    The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

    Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

    Lexi Thompson:

    Baking time!!

    A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

    David Feherty:

    Jack Nicklaus:

    GC Tiger Tracker:

    Steve Stricker:

    Golf Channel:

    Frank Nobilo:

    Ian Poulter:

    Tyrone Van Aswegen:

    Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

    By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

    Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.

    Tributes pour in for legendary caddie Sheridan

    By Randall MellNovember 23, 2017, 2:54 pm

    Tributes are pouring in as golf celebrates the life of Greg Sheridan after receiving news of his passing.

    Sheridan, a long-time LPGA caddie who worked for some of the game’s all-time greats, including Kathy Whitworth and Beth Daniel, died Wednesday in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., at 63. He was diagnosed in July 2016 with brain and lung cancer.

    Sheridan worked the last dozen years or so with Natalie Gulbis, who expressed her grief in an Instagram post on Wednesday:

    “Greg…I miss you so much already and it hasn’t even been a day. 15+ seasons traveling the world you carried me & my bag through the highs and lows of golf and life. You were so much more than my teammate on the course…Thank you.”

    Sheridan was on Whitworth’s bag for the last of her LPGA-record 88 titles.

    “When I first came on tour, I would try to find out how many times Greg won,” Gulbis told Golfweek. “It’s a crazy number, like 50.”

    Matthew Galloway, a caddie and friend to Sheridan, summed up Sheridan’s impressive reach after caddying with him one year at the LPGA Founders Cup, where the game’s pioneers are honored.

    “Best Greg story,” Galloway tweeted on Thanksgiving morning, “coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes, `Yep, caddied for her, her and her.’ Legend.”

    In a first-person column for Golf Magazine last year, Gulbis focused on Sheridan while writing about the special bond between players and caddies. She wrote that she won the “looper lottery” when she first hired Sheridan in ’04.

    “Greg and I have traveled the world, and today he is like family,” Gulbis wrote. “Sometimes, he’s a psychologist. Last year, my mom got sick and it was a distraction, but he was great. When I used to have boyfriend issues and breakup issues, he was my confidant. In a world where caddies sometimes spill secrets, Greg has kept a respectful silence, and I can’t thank him enough for that. He’s an extension of me.”

    Four months after Gulbis wrote the column, Sheridan was diagnosed with cancer.

    “The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time tour caddie, Greg Sheridan,” the LPGA tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP.”

    Dean Herden was among the legion of caddies saddened by the news.

    “Greg was a great guy who I respected a lot and taught me some great things over the years,” Herden texted to GolfChannel.com.

    Here are some of heartfelt messages that are rolling across Twitter:

    Retired LPGA great Annika Sorenstam:

    LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a retweet of Gulbis:

    Golf Channel reporter and former tour player Jerry Foltz:

    Christina Kim:

    LPGA caddie Shaun Clews:

    LPGA caddie Jonny Scott:

    LPGA caddie Kevin Casas:

    LPGA pro Jennie Lee: