Ochoa Now Focused on Grand Slam

By Associated PressApril 16, 2008, 4:00 pm
2007 Ginn OpenREUNION, Fla. -- After Tiger Woods won his first three events this year, Lorena Ochoa turned to some of her friends and jokingly said, OK, we need to catch up.
 
Now, Ochoa might be pulling away.
 
The 26-year-old Mexican star has won three consecutive tournaments on the LPGA Tour, including the first major of the year, and acknowledged Wednesday that shes already thinking about winning a Grand Slam.
 
Thats something that as a player would be something great to achieve, Ochoa said. And of course my eyes are on that.
 
The way shes played in 2008, few would bet against her.
 
Ochoa has won four of five events'by a combined 34 strokes, no less'and entered this weeks Ginn Open near Orlando looking for a fourth straight victory for the first time in her career.
 
I like my chances, she said.
 
Ochoa had an opportunity to win four in a row last fall. She won the British Open, the Canadian Open and the Safeway Classic in August, but took the next event off. She returned to the Navistar Classic in Alabama and had a one-stroke lead heading into the final round, but closed with a 73 and finished two shots behind Maria Hjorth.
 
Annika Sorenstam is the last to win four straight on tour, accomplishing the feat in 2001. She was clearly the top player in the world back then, a title she held until Ochoa took over a year ago.
 
The roles are a little reversed, said Sorenstam, who missed the Ginn Open last year because of a ruptured disk in her back. Im chasing her and Im not giving up by any means. Shes playing fantastic golf. Shes really, really been consistent, driving and putting well, winning majors and winning consecutive tournaments.
 
But inside of me I believe theres still a way that I can beat her, and Im just looking forward to this week. Heres my chance, and if it doesnt happen, theres next week. Thats what keeps me going. I love the competition.
 
Ochoa has pretty much dominated the competition recently, winning 18 titles over the last 24 months and solidifying her spot atop the sport.
 
Shes coming off an 11-stroke victory at the Corona Championship in her native Mexico, a win that qualified her for the Hall of Fame.
 
I dont mind that a lot of players are trying to catch me, she said. It feels good to be in the No. 1 position. Id like to stay there hopefully for a long time. Im going to do everything it takes to stay in that position.
 
Im just trying to enjoy my moment. Ive been working hard. This has been something that took me a long time to achieve. Its not something that happened in a couple days or in a couple months. You know, so Im going to continue that, just motivating myself, practicing hard, and hopefully I stay at the top for a long time.
 
Winning all four majors surely would keep her there for a while.
 
Woods felt good enough about his game after winning his first three events that he suggested a Grand Slam was easily within reason. His shot ended Sunday at the Masters, where Trevor Immelman held on for a 3-over 75 to win the first major of the PGA Tour.
 
Ochoas chances are still very much alive.
 
And maybe within reach, even though only two players (Babe Zaharias in 1950 and Sandra Haynie in 1974) have ever swept every LPGA major in a single season. Neither of them did it when there were four majors.
 
Everything that shes done this year has been phenomenal, said Brittany Lincicome, who won last years Ginn Open after Ochoa and Laura Davies faltered down the stretch.
 
Lincicome started the final round four shots back, but ended up atop the leaderboard after both faded in blustery conditions.
 
Ochoa was 6 over on her final six holes, capping a 77 by missing a 10-foot bogey putt that would have forced a playoff.
 
Ochoa would like to make amends for the stunning collapse this week'and extend her winning streak.
 
What happened last year (was) a learning experience, she said. But it was tough losing here with a double bogey on 18. So here I am, Im going to give myself a good chance, and hopefully I can get that beautiful trophy on Sunday.
 
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    Johnson, Moore co-lead Valero Texas Open through 36

    By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 11:32 pm

    SAN ANTONIO - Zach Johnson was going nowhere in the Valero Texas Open when it all changed with one putt.

    He made an 8-foot par putt on the 13th hole of the opening round to stay at 2 under. He followed with a big drive, a hybrid into 12 feet and an eagle. Johnson was on his way, and he kept right on going Friday to a 7-under 65 and a share of the early 36-hole lead with Ryan Moore.

    ''You just never know. That's the beauty of this game,'' Johnson said. ''I felt like I was hitting some solid shots and wasn't getting rewarded, and you've just got to stay in it. You've got to persevere, grind it out, fight for pars. You just never know.''

    Moore had three birdies over his last five holes for a 67 and joined Johnson at 9-under 135.

    Ben Crane (66), Martin Laird (65) and David Hearn (68) were three shots out of the lead among those who played Friday morning. Billy Horschel and Keegan Bradley shot 71 and were four shots behind at 5-under 139.

    Sergio Garcia, who consulted Greg Norman on the design of the AT&T Oaks Course at the TPC San Antonio, might have a long stay in his first time at the Texas Open since 2010. Garcia shot an even-par 72, and at one point became so frustrated he threw his driver into the shrubs.


    Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

    Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos


    Garcia finished at 2-over 146 and was outside the cut. He was in jeopardy of missing his second straight cut, depending on afternoon scoring.

    Johnson, a two-time winner of the Texas Open, appeared to be headed to a short week until the key par save on the 13th hole, followed by his eagle, par and three straight birdies. He began the second round Friday with five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine, a sixth birdie on the par-4 first hole, and then an eagle on the short par-4 fifth when he holed out from a greenside bunker.

    The only sour taste to his second round was a three-putt bogey from about 30 feet on his final hole. Even so, the view was much better than it was Thursday afternoon.

    Moore thought he had wasted a good birdie opportunity on the par-5 14th hole when he left his 50-foot eagle putt about 6 feet short. But he made that, and then holed a similar putt from 8 feet for birdie on the next hole and capped his good finish with a 15-foot putt on the 17th.

    ''That was a huge momentum putt there,'' Moore said of the 14th. ''It was a tough putt from down there with a lot of wind. That green is pretty exposed and ... yeah, really short and committed to that second putt really well and knocked it right in the middle.''

    The birdies on the 14th and 15th were important to Moore because he missed a pair of 10-foot birdie tries to start the back nine.

    ''So it was nice to get those and get going in the right direction on the back,'' he said.

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    Daly-Allen team grabs Legends of Golf lead on Day 2

    By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 11:14 pm

    RIDGEDALE, Mo. - John Daly and Michael Allen took the second-round lead Friday in the cool and breezy Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf.

    Daly and Allen shot an 8-under 46 on the Top of the Rock par-3 course with wind gusting to 15 mph and the temperature only in the high-50s at Big Cedar Lodge. They had three birdies on the front nine in alternate-shot play and added five more on the back in better-ball play to get to 13 under.

    ''Michael and I go back to the South African days in the late 80s and playing that tour,'' Daly said. ''We've been buddies since. He's just fun to play with. We feed off each other pretty good. And if he's not comfortable guinea-pigging on one hole, I'll go first.''

    On Thursday, they opened with a 66 on the regulation Buffalo Ridge course. They will rotate to the 13-hole Mountain Top par-3 course on Saturday, and return to Top of the Rock for the final round Sunday.

    ''I went to high school in Jeff City, so it's cool to have the fans behind us,'' Daly said.

    Allen won the PGA Tour Champions team event with David Frost in 2012 and Woody Austin in 2016.

    ''I'm just here to free up John,'' Allen said. ''It was fun. Luckily, I started making good putts today. We just want to keep the good times rolling.''


    Full-field scores from the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf


    Defending champions Vijay Singh and Carlos Franco were a stroke back along with Bernhard Langer-Tom Lehman and Paul Broadhurst-Kirk Triplett. Singh and Franco had a 7-under 32 in best-ball play at Mountain Top, and Lehman-Langer and Broadhurst-Tripplet each shot 6-under 48 at Top of the Rock.

    ''Part of the issue here is all the tees are elevated, so you're up high hitting to a green that's down below and the wind is blowing, and there is more time for that wind to affect it,'' Lehman said. ''If you guess wrong on the wind, you can hit a really good shot and kind of look stupid.''

    Former UCLA teammates Scott McCarron and Brandt Jobe were two strokes back at 11 under with Steve Flesch and David Toms and the Spanish side of Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez. McCarron-Jobe had a 47, and Jimenez-Olazabal a 48 at Top of the Rock, and Tom Flesch shot 34 at Mountain Top.

    First-round leaders Jeff Maggert and Jesper Parnevik had a 52 at Top of the Rock to fall three shots back at 10 under. Madison, Wisconsin, friends Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly also were 10 under after a 32 at Mountain Top. Jay Haas aced the 131-yard seventh hole at Mountain Top with a gap wedge. Haas and fellow 64-year-old Peter Jacobsen were 8 under after a 32.

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    Football coach hates golf: Don't need practice swearing

    By Jason CrookApril 20, 2018, 10:15 pm

    Some football coaches are a little more talkative than others. On one side of the spectrum, there's Bill Belichick. On the other sits Washington State football coach Mike Leach.

    Leach always delivers the goods, and when asked recently if he liked golf, he didn't hold back:

    As wrong as the 57-year-old is on the topic (golf is awesome), the man makes some hilarious points:

    • “It’s boring. I don’t care where that ball goes.”

    • "Golfers are always practicing their swing. But you know what I never did? I never practice fishing in my living room.”

    • "They'll line up over the ball and they'll say they're going to do something that you can't do with a sniper rifle and a scope, but they're going to do it with a stick and a ball."

    • “Golf’s pretty much for people that don’t swear effectively enough or need practice. And so there are people that need golf, and I don’t think I do.”

    So in conclusion, it's confirmed: Mike Leach - not a golf guy.

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    Quiros takes 1-shot lead in Morocco

    By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 8:22 pm

    RABAT, Morocco - Alvaro Quiros shot a solid 2-under 70 in windy conditions to push into a one-shot lead after two rounds of the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco on Friday.

    Quiros fought the elements, carding seven birdies and five bogeys to move to 7 under overall and take the outright lead at the halfway point of the European Tour event.

    The Spaniard was one clear of Andrew Dodt, who moved into contention with a 4-under 68 at the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam course. Dodt dropped two shots in his first six holes but the Australian recovered from that shaky start to collect four birdies and an eagle.


    Full-field scores from the Trophee Hassan II


    Erik van Rooyen of South Africa was another shot back in third on 5 under after his 71.

    Bradley Dredge of Wales, who shared the first-round lead with Quiros, slipped off the pace with a 1-over 73. He's tied for fourth with Austin Connelly of Canada (71), 4 under par and three shots behind Quiros.