2006: Ochoa remains hot, torches Tartan Fields
Following a low-scoring first round at the Wendy’s Championship for Children, some LPGA players predicted it would take a total score of 20 under par to win.
Red-hot Lorena Ochoa went much lower than that.
Ochoa, playing her first tournament with new caddie Dave Brooker, shot 64-65 on the weekend in earning her third victory this season Aug. 27. Added with opening rounds of 67-68, her 24-under 264 total at a receptive Tartan Fields Golf Club easily was a tournament record and was the tour’s lowest 72-hole total on a par-72 course this season by a whopping five strokes.
Only three players have gone lower in a 72-hole LPGA event in relation to par. Two (Annika Sorenstam, 27 under; Karrie Webb, 26 under) already are in the Hall of Fame, and the third (Se Ri Pak, 25 under) soon will join them there.
Rookie Jee Young Lee (66) and Stacy Prammanasudh (64) tied for second at 21 under, and rookie Ai Miyazato (68) was fourth at 17 under.
How hot was Ochoa? Lee, who began the final round two shots back of Ochoa, had five birdies, an eagle and no bogeys in her first 13 holes – and still trailed. The pair were tied after 12 holes at 22 under before Ochoa rolled in birdies on Nos. 13 and 14 to go back up by two.
“I don’t think I lost today,” said Lee, 20, who posted her third consecutive top-5 finish. “I enjoyed playing against a great player, a top player. I didn’t play bad. She played better.”
It doesn’t seem to matter who’s on the bag for Ochoa these days. The 24-year-old Mexico native, who fired caddie Lance Bennett Aug. 13 after a runner-up finish at the Scandinavian TPC, leads the tour in scoring average and has shot 66 or better 12 times this season.
In addition to her three victories, Ochoa also has five seconds, a third, two fourths and a fifth. She has 14 top-10 finishes and has not missed a cut 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 to the top of the LPGA money list. Annika Sorenstam has won the past five money titles.
“That’s the highest professional goal you can accomplish,” Ochoa said of being first in earnings. “But right now it doesn’t mean anything.”