Ochoa thrills her homeland again
MORELIA, Mexico — Defending champion Lorena Ochoa shot her second straight bogey-free 8-under 65 on Friday to take a three-stroke lead over Suzann Pettersen at the LPGA’s Corona Championship.
Ochoa, the top-ranked Mexican star who also won the 2006 tournament at Tres Marias, eagled the par-5 eighth hole and had six birdies.
“I’m very satisfied. It was an excellent day,” Ochoa said. “It is going very well with my putting. I’m very happy. It is very important to hit the driver well, so I can get on the par 5s in two with an iron.”
The fifth-ranked Pettersen shot a 64.
“I feel really good about my game today,” Pettersen said. “I just wanted to go out there and play my game and shoot a low score. I think I did that, which will put me in good position for tomorrow and hopefully on Sunday.”
Ochoa and Pettersen will play together Saturday.
“It should be exciting,” Pettersen said. “I just have to go out and play my game tomorrow. It should be fun playing in front of a lot of fans, so we’ll see how it goes. Hopefully, I can put up another good round tomorrow like I did today.”
Second-ranked Yani Tseng (66) and Na Yeon Choi (69) were five strokes back at 11 under, and Kristy McPherson (68) was 10 under.
“I hit it very solidly,” Tseng said. “I played well today, but there are still two more days to play. I just try to do my best.
“Lorena is a really good player, and she has been playing really, really good this week. I just hope that she saves some more birdies for me out there.”
Michelle Wie (71) was 9 under along with Sarah Lee (70), Karrie Webb (67), Irene Cho (67) and Brittany Lang (68).
“It was kind of frustrating today,” said Wie, who was a stroke behind Ochoa on Thursday after a 66. “I didn’t make a single putt out there today. Hopefully tomorrow I will make some more birdies. ... I hit a lot of greens and played pretty consistently, but you know, I just wish I would have made a couple more putts.
After opening the season with a second-place finish at Turtle Bay, Wie tied for 57th in Phoenix and tied for 67th in the Kraft Nabisco — shooting 71-81-81-71.
“I think it is going to be a great weekend. I’m really looking forward to it,” Wie said. “It is just a privilege to be able to play with the best players in the world. I’m looking forward to it. It is always a lot of fun.”
Brittany Lincicome, coming off a major victory at the Kraft on April 5, followed her opening 75 with a 73 to miss the cut.
Ochoa opened her season with a victory in the Honda LPGA Thailand, her 25th LPGA title. She tied for 12th at Kraft in her last start.
She had a great ball-striking round Friday, hitting a wedge to a foot on No. 1 and a 9-iron to 2 feet on No. 5 to set up her first two birdies. She hit a 7-iron to 3 feet for the eagle on the eighth. On the back nine, she two-putted for birdie on the par-5 10th, hit a wedge to a foot on No. 12 and hit 9-irons to 4 feet on Nos. 13 and 15.
Ochoa bristled when asked if she felt as if she’d already won.
“No, definitely, no,” she said. “You can never say you have won until the last putt falls in. It’s been only two days and there are two more to go. They are close. I want to play better tomorrow, so I can extend the margin.”
Last year, Ochoa won by 11 strokes, shooting 66-66-66-69 to finish at 25 under.
“I don’t mind winning by one or by 20,” she said. “Winning makes me happy anyways. I do not plan the future like this, but yes, I love breaking records.”