Ochoa Continues Strong Play in Mexico

By Associated PressApril 10, 2008, 4:00 pm
LPGA Tour _newMORELIA, Mexico -- Lorena Ochoa shrugged off any home-turf jitters Thursday in the Corona Championship, eagling two par 5s in a 7-under 66 and tying for the lead with South Koreas Song-Hee Kim at the rugged Tres Marias course in western Mexico.
The top-ranked Mexican star, fresh off her second consecutive major victory at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, eagled the fifth and eighth holes, with her fans filling the steep, rocky valleys with cheers of Bravo! and Vamos, Lorena!
Ochoa has three victories in four starts this year to push her LPGA Tour total to 20. She also has moved within a victory of the performance criteria for the World Golf Hall of Fame, although she wont be eligible for induction until 2012.
She said she wasnt thinking about qualifying for the Hall of Fame on Thursday.
I managed to have that out of my mind and to stay relaxed, she said.
She also put aside the pressure of playing at home, where she only has one victory in seven tour starts'the 2006 Corona Championship. She lost last years tournament by two strokes to Italys Silvia Cavalleri.
Last month, in the MasterCard Classic outside Mexico City, Ochoa opened with a 4-over 76'her worst score in nearly a year'and ended up tying for eighth place.
But that was at Bosque Real, a course that gives her trouble. Tres Marias, a par-73 layout carved across dry gullies and into steep hillsides, is one she enjoys.
This is a tournament where I feel very comfortable, she said. Its easier in Morelia than in Mexico City.
Playing the back nine first, she made the turn at 2 under. She got to 4 under with a 25-foot eagle putt on the fifth hole, birdied the par-3 sixth and reached 7 under with a 22-foot eagle putt on No. 8.
I was just trying to be patient and I guess the payback was the two eagle putts, she said. I have no complaints. Im happy.
Kim had a chance to take the lead, but a bogey on her final hole'the par-4 ninth'dropped her into a tie for the lead with Ochoa. Still, Kim was happy with her score.
Every shot felt really perfect today, she said.
Carin Koch, the 2005 winner, was three strokes back along with Kim Williams, Audra Burks, Inbee Park, Na Yeon Choi and Hee Young Park.
Cavalleri struggled, shooting a 75.
But the real star, even before she pulled into the lead, was Ochoa.
After her final hole, she was surrounded by a pack of fans asking for autographs and straining above the crowd to take her picture. Many were young girls hoping to follow in her footsteps, including 3-year-old Mariana Mena, who held a golf ball scribbled with Ochoas signature.
Mena already plays golf, as does her 4-year-old sister, Bianca, their father, Mario Mena, said proudly. The whole family follows Ochoas career.
The girls, they know her, he said.
Shes pretty, Bianca chimed in.
Ochoa said playing at home was extra special and she looked forward to the larger crowds expected this weekend.
Im ready for it, she said. I cant wait to get the feel of the big crowd and hopefully play good for all of them.
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    Van Rooyen holes putt after ball-marker ruling

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:50 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Erik van Rooyen was surveying his 10-footer for par, trying to get a feel for the putt, when his putter slipped out of his hand and dropped onto his ball marker.

    The question, then, was whether that accident caused his coin to move.

    The rules official looked at various camera angles but none showed definitively whether his coin moved. The ruling was made to continue from where his coin was now positioned, with no penalty.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

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    This was part of the recent rules changes, ensuring there is no penalty if the ball or ball maker is accidently moved by the player. The little-used rule drew attention in 2010, when Ian Poulter accidentally dropped his ball on his marker in Dubai and wound up losing more than $400,000 in bonus and prize money.

    After the delay to sort out his ruling Friday, van Rooyen steadied himself and made the putt for par, capping a day in which he shot even-par 71 and kept himself in the mix at The Open. He was at 4-under 138, just two shots off the clubhouse lead.

    “I wanted to get going and get this 10-footer to save par, but I think having maybe just a couple minutes to calm me down, and then I actually got a different read when I sat down and looked at it again,” he said. “Good putt. Happy to finish that way.”

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    Lyle birdies last hole in likely his final Open start

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:32 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – If this was Sandy Lyle’s final Open appearance, he went out in style.

    Playing on the final year of his automatic age exemption, the 60-year-old Scot buried a 30-foot birdie on the last hole. He missed the cut after shooting 9-over 151 over two rounds.

    “I was very light-footed,” he said. “I was on cloud nine walking down the 18th. To make birdie was extra special.”

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    Lyle, who also won the 1988 Masters, has missed the cut in his last eight majors, dating to 2014. He hasn’t been competitive in The Open since 1998, when he tied for 19th.

    To continue playing in The Open, Lyle needed to finish in the top 10 here at Carnoustie. He’d earn a future exemption by winning the Senior British Open.

    “More punishment,” he said.

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    DJ, Thomas miss cut at Open; No. 1 up for grabs

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 3:35 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The top two players in the world both missed the cut at The Open, creating the possibility of a shakeup at the top of the rankings by the end of the weekend.

    Dustin Johnson became the first world No. 1 since Luke Donald in 2011 to miss the cut at the year’s third major.

    Johnson played solidly for all but the closing stretch. Over two rounds, he was 6 over par on the last three holes. He finished at 6-over 148.

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    Thomas added to what’s been a surprisingly poor Open record. Just like last year, when he struggled in the second round in the rain at Royal Birkdale, Thomas slumped to a 77 on Friday at Carnoustie, a round that included three consecutive double bogeys on Nos. 6-8. He finished at 4-over 146.

    It’s Thomas' first missed cut since The Open last year. Indeed, in three Open appearances, he has two missed cuts and a tie for 53rd.  

    With Johnson and Thomas out of the mix, the No. 1 spot in the rankings is up for grabs this weekend.

    Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm all can reach No. 1 with a victory this week.

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    TT Postscript: Woods (71) makes cut, has work to do

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 3:32 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Here are a few things I think I think after Tiger Woods shot a second consecutive even-par 71 Friday in the second round. And yes, he made the cut:

    • Tiger said all 71s are not created equal. On Thursday, he made three birdies and three bogeys. On Friday, he made four birdie and four bogeys. Which round was better? The first. His theory is that, despite the rain, conditions were easier in the second round and there were more scoring opportunities. He didn't take advantage.

    • This is the first time since the 2013 Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that Tiger shot par or better in each of the first two rounds of a major. That’s quite a long time ago.

    • Stat line for the day: 11 of 15 fairways, 13 of 18 greens, 32 total putts. Tiger hit one driver and two 3-woods on Thursday and four drivers on Friday, only one which found the fairway. An errant drive at the second led to him sniping his next shot into the gallery


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    • In his own words: “I could have cleaned up the round just a little bit. I got off to not exactly the best start, being 2 over through three, but got it back. The golf course was a little bit softer today, obviously. It rains, and we were able to get the ball down a little bit further, control the ball on the ground a little bit easier today, which was nice.”

    • At some point Tiger is going to have to be more aggressive. He will be quite a few shots off the lead by day’s end and he'll have a lot of ground to make up. Hitting irons off the tee is great for position golf, but it’s often leaving him more than 200 yards into the green. Not exactly a range for easy birdies.

    • Sure, it’s too soon to say Tiger can’t win a fourth claret jug, but with so many big names ahead of him on the leaderboard, it’s unlikely. Keep in mind that a top-six finish would guarantee him a spot in the WGC: Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks. At The Players, he stated that this was a big goal.

    • My Twitter account got suspended momentarily when Tiger was standing over a birdie putt on the 17th green. That was the most panicked I’ve been since Tiger was in contention at the Valspar.