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Lorena Ochoa looking to reassert dominance

World number one Lorena Ochoa preaches patience but the Mexican said on Wednesday she was eager to resume her accustomed dominance of the LPGA Tour.

Ochoa, who has ruled the women’s tour the last three years, has claimed 26 tournament titles including just two majors.

Victory at the U.S. Women’s Open, which begins on Thursday at Saucon Valley Country Club, would put her three quarters of the way to a career grand slam after having won the 2007 Women’s British Open and last year’s Nabisco Kraft.

The Mexican said a career slam was her biggest goal.

“From 1 to 10, 10,” Ochoa told reporters on the eve of the U.S. Open.

“Winning majors is what makes you really a good player, and I never won this tournament before, so I’m going to make sure I give myself a good chance and hopefully it happens for me.”

Ochoa has had by most measures a great season. She has won twice and added four other top-10 finishes to stand fifth on the LPGA Tour money list with nearly three-quarters of a million dollars in earnings.

For Ochoa, this represents a slide after three successive seasons as Player of the Year, Vare Trophy winner for low scoring average and money leader.

In the majors, she tied for 12th at the Kraft Nabisco and tied for 23rd at last month’s LPGA Championship.

“I’m still learning. I think I get better with time,” she said. “I don’t put too much pressure on myself. I just try to enjoy my moment.

“Competition is tough. We know good players are coming and it’s getting better and better. I’m just trying to practice, harder and harder. I already won two tournaments, but I’m not at the top this year.

“I want to make sure I continue playing tournaments and get better… so at the end of the year I’m at the number one position like I like.”

Last year, Ochoa won seven times, including five of the first six events she played.

“I think it’s very important for me to get back, to get a rhythm, and I’m feeling good right now. So I can’t wait to start playing tomorrow.”

Ochoa said pars would be a good score on the 6,740-yard layout that will force many players to hit long irons or woods into long par-four holes.

Putting the sloping, fast greens will also be a challenge.

“The greens are so hilly, they have so many different slopes,” she said. “You just need to make sure you keep the ball in the right position of the green.”


July 9, 2009

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