Ochoa Knocks Off Annika

By Sports NetworkOctober 15, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 Samsung World ChampionshipPALM DESERT, Calif. -- Lorena Ochoa overcame a three-shot deficit on Sunday by firing a 7-under 65 to better Annika Sorenstam and win the Samsung World Championship. Ochoa finished at 16-under-par 272 and won by two over the No. 1-ranked player on the LPGA Tour.
'I'm excited,' said Ochoa. 'It's great to be here with my friends and family. Finally winning here in Palm Desert, it feels great.'
Lorena Ochoa
Lorena Ochoa gets doused with beer and champagne after her victory.
Ochoa collected her fifth victory on the season and the $218,750 first-place padded her lead on the LPGA Tour money list. She also moved closer to securing the Player of the Year honors with her eighth title all-time on the LPGA Tour.
Perhaps most importantly for Ochoa, who won last week in her native Mexico, is that she beat Sorenstam heads up. Of Ochoa's four previous wins this season, Sorenstam was in the field for only one.
While Sorenstam, the two-time defending champion, did not have a Tiger Woods' like record with the 54-hole lead, it was still impressive. She had only lost a three-shot lead with one round to play six times in her career before Sunday.
Ochoa, more than anyone, knew the pressure coming into the final round.
'I knew I needed to be 100 percent on every shot,' said Ochoa. 'I fought with all of my heart. It's been a fun battle. She knows I can do it. I know I can do it.'
Ochoa wasted little time in cutting into the margin as she sank a 25-foot birdie putt at the first. Sorenstam answered at the next with a 6-footer for birdie to reclaim her three-shot lead, but Ochoa kept coming back thanks to her flat stick.
At the par-5 third, Ochoa ran home a 30-foot eagle putt, while Sorenstam made birdie to cut the gap to two. Ochoa drained a 20-foot birdie putt at five and Sorenstam missed from 6 feet to tie the pair at 13 under par.
That tie was short-lived. Sorenstam holed an 8-foot birdie putt at seven and hit a 6-iron to 8 feet to set up birdie at the ninth. The Swede moved two ahead, but another two-shot swing awaited.
It came at the 10th when Ochoa slammed in a 40-footer for birdie and Sorenstam could not get up and down from a bunker. The two were tied again and this time Ochoa moved ahead.
At the 11th, Ochoa hit her approach inside 5 feet, while Sorenstam could only get his ball to settle 35 feet from the stick. Ochoa converted her birdie putt and Sorenstam two-putted for par to fall one off the lead.
The cushion was padded for Ochoa at the par-5 15th. Sorenstam elected not to go at the green in two and her third barely cleared the water in front of the putting surface. Ochoa knocked her third to 18 feet and made the birdie putt. Sorenstam took three to get down from in front of the green and now Ochoa was three in front.
Sorenstam got one back at the 16th as her 23-foot birdie putt found the bottom of the cup. She holed a clutch 6-footer for par at 17, but missed a birdie try at 18.
Sorenstam would have had to birdie all three of her final holes, because Ochoa was unflappable down the stretch. Ochoa's speed was good on all three of her birdie tries and only at 17, where she made a 4-footer, was she challenged for par.
Ochoa not only distanced herself from Sorenstam in the two major races, she also cost Sorenstam another chance to put her name in the LPGA Tour history books.
A win on Sunday by Sorenstam would have been 70th and put her 18 off the all- time lead of Kathy Whitworth. If Sorenstam would have hoisted the trophy, she would have become the first player in tour history to win the same events six times.
Sorenstam will have another chance to win the same event six times next month at the Mizuno Classic. She already owns an LPGA Tour record thanks to that event because she has won it five years in a row, which is the record for most consecutive wins at the same event.
Sophie Gustafson, the 2003 champion, shot a 3-under 69 and finished alone in third place at 11-under-par 277. Stacy Prammanasudh shot a 2-under 70 on Sunday for fourth at minus-9, two shots better than Paula Creamer, who managed a 1-under 71 in round four.
Juli Inkster fired a 7-under 65 and tied for sixth place with Cristie Kerr, who posted a 1-over 73 on Sunday. The pair came in at 5-under-par 283.
Michelle Wie never got anything going this week and Sunday was no different. She struggled to a 3-over 75 and came in 17th place at 5-over-par 293.
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    Chamblee comments on Choi's unique step-through swing

    By Golf Channel DigitalJune 24, 2018, 3:55 pm

    The golf world found itself enamored with a largely unknown journeyman this weekend.

    Ho-sung Choi went from 554th in the world to No. 1 in the hearts of all those who swing the golf club just a little bit differently thanks to his run at the Korean Open.

    The 44-year-old with the exaggerated step through impact found himself two off the pace through 54 holes and in contention for one of two available invitations to this year's Open Championship at Carnoustie.

    Choi fell out of the hunt for tournament title and the Open exemption with a final-round 74, but nonetheless left an impression with his tie for fifth.

    Asked about Choi's swing Saturday night, Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee offered the following:

    "If Chi Chi Rodriguez and Gary Player had a golf school, what would their first professional golfer swing like? Voila," Chamblee said.

    "Both those legends had walk through finishes, but Ho Sung has taken this move to a new level with a borderline pirouette to keep from hanging back.

    "In an era when professional golfers get accused of having golf swings that all look alike, I’ve never seen anyone swing quite like Ho Sung Choi.

    "I can’t wait to try this on the range tomorrow."

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    Wallace holds off Olesen to win BMW International

    By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 3:43 pm

    PULHEIM, Germany - England's Matt Wallace shot a 7-under 65 to hold off a record-breaking charge from Thorbjorn Olesen and win the BMW International Open on Sunday.

    Wallace finished on 10-under 278 - just ahead of Olesen, Mikko Korhonen and 2008 winner Martin Kaymer, whose chances took a blow with a bogey on the 17th hole.

    ''I want to keep building on this,'' Wallace said after his third European Tour win. ''Obviously this gives me a lot of confidence to go on and play well and I want to kick on and hopefully do this in the bigger events from now on.''

    Full-field scores from the BMW International Open

    Olesen had played himself into contention with the lowest round in tournament history, with nine birdies and an eagle for an 11-under 61. It was the lowest round of his European Tour career and it gave the Dane a three-shot lead before the final group had even teed off.

    ''I was just trying today to go out there and build on my game, see if I could shoot a low score,'' Olesen said. ''Obviously as the round progressed I kept on thinking birdies and trying to make the round better. Finishing with four birdies was pretty nice.''

    Wallace turned in 34 but then made five birdies in seven holes from the turn to edge a shot past Olesen. He waited as Kaymer and Korhonen went close with rounds of 68 and 67, respectively.

    England's Aaron Rai and Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard finished joint-fifth with rounds of 69.

    Sunghyun Park (left) and Minchel Choi (right). Getty Images

    Choi, Park qualify for Carnoustie from Korean Open

    By Nick MentaJune 24, 2018, 2:54 pm

    Two players - Minchel Choi and Sanghyun Park - qualified for next month's Open Championship at Carnoustie via the Open Qualifying Series on Sunday.

    Choi (69) held off Park (66) to win the Korean Open by two shots.

    This was the Qualifying Series debut for the Korean Open, whiched awarded Open Championship exemptions to the tournament's top two finishers inside the top eight and ties who were not already qualified.

    Choi, the 532nd-ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking, punched his ticket in his first professional win.

    Park, the 146th in the world, is a six-time Korean Tour champion who has already won twice this season. 

    Both players will be making their first ever major starts.

    “I am absolutely honored to be playing in The Open and I wanted to win this championship to give me [that] opportunity," Choi said. "I cannot believe that I have won today. I am so happy and excited."

    “It is a great honor to have qualified for The Open and make my first appearance in the championship," Park added. "I’ve watched The Open on television every single year and I can’t really believe that I have qualified, it is amazing."

    The Open Qualifying Series continues next week at the Open de France, where as many as three exemptions will be awarded to the three leading players inside the top 10 and ties who are not already qualified.

    The 147th Open will be held at Carnoustie from July 19-22.

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    Minjee Lee co-leads Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

    By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 12:25 am

    ROGERS, Ark. - Minjee Lee wasn't all that concerned when she missed her first cut of the year this month at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

    The ninth-ranked Australian has certainly looked at ease and back in form at Pinnacle Country Club in her first event since then.

    Lee and Japan's Nasa Hataoka each shot 6-under 65 on Saturday to share the second-round lead in the NW Arkansas Championship 13-under 129. Lee is chasing her fifth victory since turning pro three years ago. It's also an opportunity to put any lingering frustration over that missed cut two weeks ago behind her for good.

    ''I didn't particularly hit it bad, even though I missed the cut at ShopRite, I just didn't really hole any putts,'' Lee said. ''I'd been hitting it pretty solid going into that tournament and even into this tournament, too. Just to see a couple putts roll in has been nice.''

    The 22-year-old Lee needed only 24 putts during her opening 64 on Friday, helping her to match the low round of her career. Despite needing 28 putts Saturday, she still briefly took the outright lead after reaching as low as 14 under after a birdie on the par-5 seventh.

    Full-field scores from the Walmart Arkansas Championship

    Lee missed the green on the par-4 ninth soon thereafter to lead to her only bogey of the day and a tie with the 19-year-old Hataoka, who is in pursuit of her first career win.

    Hataoka birdied six of eight holes midway through her bogey-free round on Saturday. It was yet another stellar performance from the Japanese teenager, who has finished in the top 10 in four of her last five tournaments and will be a part of Sunday's final pairing.

    ''I try to make birdies and try to be under par, that's really the key for me to get a top ten,'' Hataoka said. ''Golf is just trying to be in the top 10 every single week, so that's the key.''

    Third-ranked Lexi Thompson matched the low round of the day with a 64 to get to 11 under. She hit 17 of 18 fairways and shot a 5-under 30 on her opening nine, The American is in search of her first win since September in the Indy Women in Tech Championship.

    Ariya Jutanugarn and Celine Boutier were 10 under.

    First-round leader Gaby Lopez followed her opening 63 with a 75 to drop to 4 under. Fellow former Arkansas star Stacy Lewis also was 4 under after a 72.