Ochoa Primed for LPGA Tour Stop in Mexico


MORELIA, Mexico - For the second time this year and for only the fourth time in the history of the LPGA, the Tour ventures south of the border this week into Mexico for the Corona Morelia Championship.
The inaugural $1 million event will be played at the Tres Marias Residential Golf Club in Morelia, Mexico, and it is certain to be a special week not just for the person who wins the event, but also for Mexico native Lorena Ochoa.
Ochoa, coming off a runner-up finish at the LPGA Takefuji Classic where she carded a personal-best 63, is one of the clear favorites to win this week.
She knows the course and will be bolstered by the throngs of family and friends in attendance cheering her on as she attempts to capture the title in her homeland.
Of course, being at home surrounded by loved ones and the mounting pressure to win a tournament in Mexico could also work against Ochoa. She did have a seesaw first couple of days at the MasterCard Classic honoring Alejo Peralta earlier this year on the outskirts of Mexico City when she carded two opening rounds of 71 and 75.
Ochoa, who set an LPGA record last year for numbers of rounds in the 60s with 51, settled down in the final round shooting a 4-under-par 68 to climb into a fifth-place finish, five shots behind winner Annika Sorenstam.
If Ochoa falters or fails to capitalize on her advantage of knowing the golf course, then there will be several LPGA professionals more than willing to polish off a new trophy with their name on it. Two of whom, Wendy Ward and rookie Paula Creamer, are playing extremely well right now.
Ward, who held off Ochoa at the LPGA Takefuji Classic to earn her first victory in nearly four years, is in the field this week and is playing some tremendous golf as of late. Ward was the only player last week to shoot every round in the 60s-the first time that has happened on the LPGA Tour this year-and is bringing a new can-do attitude with her to Mexico.
Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year points leader Paula Creamer would like nothing more than to deny Ward and Ochoa a victory by earning her first.
She too played excellent last week (tied for third) and also played well at the high-altitude MasterCard Classic honoring Alejo Peralta in March (tied for sixth). A win for Creamer, who always seems to close well, is certainly possible this week.
Before this year, the LPGA last played in Mexico in 1974 and 1975 for the Bing Crosby International Classic with both events being played at San Isidro Country Club in Guadalajara. Jane Blalock won the 1974 event, while Sue Roberts triumphed in 1975.
Related links:
  • Full Coverage - Corona Morelia Championship