Ochoa in Command at St Andrews

By Associated PressAugust 4, 2007, 4:00 pm
Ricoh WomenST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- Lorena Ochoa equates playing golf tournaments to running marathons.
 
After going six shots ahead of the field at the Women's British Open on Saturday, the top-ranked Mexican can at last see the finishing line for her first major victory in her 24th attempt.
 
Ochoa shot a second straight par 73 and was the only player under par on the Old Course at St. Andrews. She is at 6-under 213, six shots ahead of Linda Wessberg of Sweden (72).
 
The biggest danger may come from Annika Sorenstam (77), one of four players seven shots back at 1-over 220.
 
'I'm not going to pay attention to other players and just play my own game and try to be aggressive and make some birdies,' Ochoa said. 'I think once you try to start doing something different you get in trouble. I just want to play my game and hopefully, I can win maybe by more.'
 
Ochoa is lithely built but physically strong, something she attributes to marathons. She ran a half-marathon in her home city of Guadalajara, and a marathon at Tucson when she was studying at the University of Arizona.
 
'I like to train for half-marathons,' she said. 'Even on the tour, I like to think we are running in a marathon and we are just training. You can go really, really far. It helps me to know just how far I can go and never to give up, and just keep on going and be tough.
 
'In a way you can relate it to golf. Just always be strong and have a mind-set that you can do it and that you want to make it.'
 
After twice finishing second in majors -- as well as coming third and fourth -- this may be the first time she crosses the line first.
 
With winds gusting up to 35 mph at the home of golf, virtually all of Ochoa's rivals dropped shots. The only three sub-par rounds of the day came from golfers way back in the field who played in the calmer part of the day.
 
One of those was Wessberg. She was tied for 19th at the start of her round, but recorded her fourth birdie of the day at the 18th to compensate for a double-bogey 6 at the 13th.
 
Sorenstam bogeyed four holes on the outward nine but made a good recovery.
 
'I was just trying to be smart, hit fairways and greens and go from there,' Sorenstam said. 'I believe I shot level-par the last 10 or 11 holes. I'll take that any time in a championship like this. I just didn't get off to a good start.'
 
Ochoa punctuated her solid round with some spectacular play.
 
She sank a 30-foot birdie putt at the third and just missed a 60-foot eagle at the fifth. The ball rolled up one slope and down another to creep past the rim of the cup and leave her a 1-foot birdie.
 
She also benefited from a two-shot swing at the 12th, where she holed a 2-foot birdie putt and playing partner Wendy Ward missed a 7-foot putt for bogey.
 
Starting one shot behind and tied for second, Ward had six bogeys and a double-bogey 7 at the 17th, where she needed four shots to reach the green. She finished with an 80 for a share of seventh at 2-over 221.
 
While most players were shooting high 70s or into the 80s in the strong wind, Stacy Prammanasudh shot a 1-under 72. The American had three birdies and moved up from 52nd to a tie for 12th at 3-over 222.
 
Juli Inkster has had three wildly erratic rounds. The seven-time major winner threatened for the lead during a second-round 68, which was an 11-shot improvement on her opening 79. Her third-round 82 was a 14-stroke swing the other way as she finished tied for 51st at 10-over 229.
 
Lotta Wahlin of Sweden justified her decision to walk off the course in near darkness after 16 holes on Friday and continue her round just after dawn on Saturday. She birdied the 17th and finished at 5 under to just make the cut. After a short break, she was back on the first tee and finished at 78 for a 229.
 
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    Gooch chooses 'life over a good lie' with gators nearby

    By Ryan LavnerApril 26, 2018, 11:31 pm

    AVONDALE, La. – A fairway bunker wasn’t Talor Gooch’s only hazard on the 18th hole at TPC Louisiana.

    Gooch’s ball came to rest Thursday within a few feet of three gators, leading to a lengthy delay as he sorted out his options.

    Chesson Hadley used a rake to nudge two of the gators on the tail, sending them back into the pond surrounding the green. But the third gator wouldn’t budge.

    “It woke him up from a nap,” Gooch said, “and he was hissing away and wasn’t happy.”

    The other two gators remained in the water, their eyes fixed on the group.


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    “I’m sure we would have been fine, but any little movement by them and no chance I would have made solid contact,” he said.

    A rules official granted Gooch free relief, away from the gator, but he still had to drop in the bunker. The ball plugged.

    “I chose life over a good lie in that situation,” he said.

    He splashed out short of the green, nearly holed out his pitch shot and made par to cap off an eventful 6-under 66 with partner Andrew Landry.

    “It was my first gator par,” he said. “I’ll take it.”

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    Koepka's game 'where it should be' even after injury

    By Ryan LavnerApril 26, 2018, 11:18 pm

    AVONDALE, La. – Brooks Koepka didn’t look rusty Thursday while making six birdies in the first round of the Zurich Classic.

    Making his first start in four months because of a torn ligament in his left wrist, Koepka and partner Marc Turnesa shot a 5-under 67 in fourballs at TPC Louisiana.

    “It felt good,” Koepka said afterward. “It was just nice to be out here. I played pretty solid.”


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    The reigning U.S. Open champion felt soreness in his wrist the week after he won the Dunlop Phoenix in the fall. He finished last at the Hero World Challenge in December and then the following month at the Tournament of Champions before shutting it down.

    He only began practicing last week and decided to commit to the Zurich Classic after three solid days at Medalist. He decided to partner with one of his friends in South Florida, Marc Turnesa, a former PGA Tour winner who now works in real estate.

    Koepka hasn’t lost any distance because of the injury – he nearly drove the green on the 355-yard 16th hole. He’s planning to play the next two weeks, at the Wells Fargo Championship and The Players.

    “I feel like I’m playing good enough to be right where I should be in April,” he said. “I feel good, man. There’s nothing really wrong with my game right now.”

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    Like a tattoo: Ko shares early Mediheal lead

    By Randall MellApril 26, 2018, 10:45 pm

    Lydia Ko put herself in early position Thursday to try to extend her birthday celebration through Sunday at the LPGA Mediheal Championship.

    Ko, who turned 21 on Tuesday, is off to a strong start at Lake Merced Golf Club, where she has a lot of good memories to draw upon as she seeks to regain the winning form that made her the greatest teen phenom in the history of the women’s game.

    With a 4-under-par 68, Ko moved into a four-way tie for the lead among the morning wave in the first round. I.K. Kim, Jessica Korda and Caroline Hedwall also opened with 68s.

    All Ko has to do is look at her right wrist to feel good about returning to San Francisco. That’s where she tattooed the date April 27, 2014, in Roman numerals. That’s how she commemorated her Swinging Skirts victory at Lake Merced, her first title as an LPGA member. She won there again the following year.

    “This is a golf course where I've played well,” Ko said. “The fans have been amazing. They’ve been super supportive every single time I've come here, even since I played the U.S. Juniors here.”


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    Ko made it to the semifinals of the U.S. Girls’ Junior at Lake Merced in 2012.

    “It just brings back a lot of great memories,” she said.

    Ko got this week off to a good start with friends from South Korea and New Zealand flying to California to surprise her on her birthday. She was born in South Korea and grew up in New Zealand.

    “Turning 21 is a huge thing in the United States,” Ko cracked. “I’m legal now, and I can do some fun things.”

    Ko is looking to claim her 15th LPGA title and end a 21-month winless spell. Her ball striking was sharp Thursday, as she continues to work on improvements under her swing coach, Ted Oh. She hit 11 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens in regulation.

    “My ball striking's been getting better these last few weeks, which has been really nice,” Ko said at week’s start. “But then I've been struggling with putting, which was the aspect of the game that was going really well. I feel like the pieces are there, and just, sometimes, the hardest thing is to kind of put all those pieces together. Just have to stay patient, I know there are a lot of good things happening.”

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    Watch: Rose drops trou despite gator danger

    By Golf Channel DigitalApril 26, 2018, 10:12 pm

    We all know how fashion-conscious pro golfers are, and sometimes that even trumps modesty.

    Take Justin Rose, whose tee shot on the par-3 third hole in Thursday's opening round of the Zurich Classic found the water. But the ball was close enough to shore for Rose to try to play it. Not wanting to get his light-colored pants dirty - what is up with all the white pants on Tour these days, anyway? - he took them off to play the shot.

    If there were any gators in the water hazard - and this being Louisiana, there almost certainly were - they showed no interest in the Englishman.

    It was only appropriate that Rose should strip down for a shot, as his partner, Henrik Stenson, famously did the same thing (to an even greater degree) at Doral in 2009.

    Finally, just to provide some closure, Rose failed to get up and down.