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Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2006 > LPGA > Wendys Championship for Children > Round 4
 

WENDYS CHAMPIONSHIP FOR CHILDREN RELATED STORIES





Lorena Ochoa gains three shot win

If Lorena Ochoa keeps this up, soccer soon might be taking a back seat to women's golf in Mexico.

Ochoa outdueled Jee Young Lee down the stretch, pulling away with birdies at the 13th and 14th holes, to shoot a 7-under 65 and win the Wendy's Championship for Children by three shots Sunday.

"In Mexico, soccer is everything. Golf is, like, 1 percent," the Guadalajara native said with a laugh. "I feel fortunate to have so much support. It's been great. I'm very proud to be from Mexico. We're learning. ... It used to be soccer, soccer, soccer. Now there's also golf."

Ochoa and Lee, playing in the same group, were tied at 22 under through 12 holes.

"It was like match play," Ochoa said. "It was a different feeling, to look at the scoreboard and see everybody else three or four shots behind."

But Ochoa hit an 8 iron to 6 feet and rolled in the birdie putt at 13 and then spun a wedge near the hole at 14 and made the 15-footer to regain a two-shot lead. She was never threatened again as she parred out to finish at 24-under 264.

Only three players have gone lower in a 72-hole LPGA event in relation to par. Two are Hall of Famers, and the third almost certainly will be: Annika Sorenstam (27 under), Karrie Webb (26) and Se Ri Pak (25).

Lee, a rookie who began the day two shots back of Ochoa in second place, had five birdies, an eagle and no bogeys in her first 13 holes -- and still trailed.

"I don't think I lost today," she said. "I enjoyed playing against a great player, a top player. I didn't play bad. She played better. I learned a lot today."

The victory was the 24-year-old Ochoa's third of the season on the LPGA Tour. She also has five seconds, a third, two fourths and a fifth-place finish in 18 starts.

The $165,000 first-place check raised Ochoa's earnings this year to $1,840,774, moving her past Karrie Webb and into first place on the money list.

"That's the highest professional goal you can accomplish," Ochoa said. "But right now it doesn't mean anything. I have to go all the way to November. That would be a dream to accomplish."

Ochoa, who leads the tour in scoring average, has shot 66 or better 12 times this season.

With earlier rounds of 67, 68 and 64, Ochoa had the lowest 72-hole total on a par-72 course this year by five strokes. She didn't have a bogey in the final two rounds while going 15 under.

Lee closed with a 6-under 66 and shared second place at 267 with Stacy Prammanasudh, who shot a 64.

"I played a great round of golf -- I didn't really make any mistakes," Prammanasudh said. "You knew she (Ochoa) was going to go out there and play a great round, just based on her career."

After rolling in an uphill 5-footer for par on the final hole, Ochoa pumped her fist and then acknowledged the gallery surrounding the green at Tartan Fields Golf Club.

Ai Miyazato shot a 68 and was alone in fourth at 271, with Diana D'Alessio (67) next at 273. Tied for sixth at 13-under 275 were Jeong Jang (67), Webb (69) and Michele Redman (70).

Defending champion Cristie Kerr closed with a 70 and was at 276 along with Tina Barrett (68) and Morgan Pressel (69).

Paula Creamer was on the leaderboard all day until she sliced her approach at the final hole underneath the grandstand. After a lengthy delay during which she looked over her options and discussed the situation with her caddie and a rules official, she chipped short of the green and ended up with a double bogey that gave her a 72 and left her at 11-under 277.

Sophie Gustafson tied the competitive course record with a 9-under 63 and finished at 278.

Ochoa's earlier victories this season -- she has six in her career -- came at the Takefuji and Sybase tournaments.

Her 72-hole total easily eclipsed the tournament scoring mark of 19-under 269, set in 1999 by Sorenstam.

The final round was moved up to avoid a predicted afternoon thunderstorm. A light rain fell for about an hour, but play was never suspended.

Ochoa called her mother on Saturday night after shooting 64 and wished her a happy birthday.

"She was very happy," Ochoa said. "She said, 'And when they ask you how old I am, say, '22."'

 

 




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