GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Lorena Ochoa is right at home at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, this time off the course just weeks before the birth of her first child.
“It’s something that I’m trying to enjoy,” Ochoa said Wednesday, a day before the start of play in the 36-player event at Guadalajara Country Club. “It’s different, that’s for sure. It’s also great for me to say `Hi’ to the players and be more involved outside the ropes and in interviews and spending time with my sponsors. I like it a lot. I’m going to enjoy every day of the tournament from the outside.”
The 27-time LPGA winner retired last year. She’s expecting a boy, who will be named Pedro.
“(Her belly) is huge,” top-ranked Yani Tseng said. “I guess it’s a boy. I was really happy to see her. I wish she could play, but I’m very happy to see her going to have a baby soon. It’s always great to have her back in Mexico to see all her friends here. She looks very happy.”
Tseng is coming off victories in the LPGA’s Taiwan Championship and Ladies European Tour’s Suzhou Taihu Ladies in China. The Taiwanese star has seven LPGA wins this season, including major victories in the LPGA Championship and Women’s British Open, and four other worldwide wins. She tied for 18th in 2008 in the inaugural event in Guadalajara, tied for eighth in 2009 and was 27th last year.
“This is a really tough golf course,” Tseng said. “You are hitting all different shots on this golf course. Hitting 14 clubs. You need a different kind of shot. I feel I can get used to it on this golf course. I need to trust more, trust my instincts and trust the club I pick. I think this year I will be fine. I feel very comfortable and confident right now to play well this week.”
Michelle Wie won the 2009 tournament for the first of her two LPGA titles, then withdrew last year because of a back injury after an opening 78.
“This tournament is very special to me,” Wie said. “Obviously, having my family here is pretty cool. I love this golf course. Unfortunately, it was very sad last year that I couldn’t finish four rounds. Hopefully, this year, I’m feeling good. The weather is great. The golf course is awesome, as always. I’m very excited.”
South Korea’s In-Kyung Kim won last year, closing with an 8-under 64 for a tournament-record 19-under total and a three-stroke stroke victory over Norway’s Suzann Pettersen. Kim donated her $220,000 winner’s check to charity, giving $110,000 to the Lorena Ochoa Foundation.
Kim returned to Guadalajara in April to visit La Barranca, a primary school in Guadalajara with 250 underprivileged students that is operated by Ochoa’s foundation.
“It was very nice of her and her foundation to make efforts for me to come back to see the school,” Kim said. “I was really humbled going there and seeing all the kids so happy.”
“Her visit was very special,” Ochoa said. “It’s different when you see the real school activities and see how much fun they have and how happy they are. … We put her plaque and her name in one of the classrooms. So you know she’s appreciated for the rest of her life.”