One by one, Lorena Ochoa's challengers faded away during the final round of the Navistar Classic. After an eagle on the 8th hole brought her to -16, it looked like Ochoa might run away and hide from the field, but once again the back proved to be her Achilles heel, as she rattled off 8 pars around a bogey on the par-4 12th to fail to break 70 for the 1st time this week. Super Soph Song-Hee Kim pulled even with Ochoa after she made her 3rd birdie in a 6-hole stretch on the 11th hole, but a bogey on the par-3 16th dropped her back to -14, where she ended the tournament tied for 4th with rookie Shanshan Feng (who capped off her bogey-free 66 with a birdie on the 18th). Feng's classmate Louise Friberg, looking for her 2nd win of the season, was the next to fall off the pace, with bogeys on the 17th and 18th that dropped her into a tie for 6th with Ya Ni Tseng (70), Jill McGill (69), Wendy Doolan (68), and Sarah Jane Kenyon (69). And although both Cristie Kerr (66) and Candie Kung (67) birdied the 18th to force a playoff with the world #1, both made 3-putts--Kerr on the 1st playoff hole, Kung on the 2nd--that handed the win to Ochoa.
Making big moves but in the end too little, too late, were Morgan Pressel (66, -3, T54), Eun-Hee Ji (67, -5, T47), Seon Hwa Lee (65, -6, T39), Stacy Prammanasudh (66, -8, T29), and Jee Young Lee (66, -9, T22).
For more, see the LPGA.com notes and interviews page. For now, I'll sign off with congratulations to the world #1 for win #7 of the season!
[Update 1 (8:46 pm): Ah, I can't resist linking to Golf Girl's cute congrats to Lorena and Camilo (and Eduardo).]
[Update 2 (11:18 pm): Hound Dog's back!]
[Update 3 (9/29/08, 3:11 am): Brent Kelley comments on the end of Lorena's "slump."]
[Update 4 (1:02 pm): Hound Dog's epilogue makes some good points.]
[Update 5 (11:27 pm): I give the Golf Channel highlights a B+. Although they culdn't devote 10 seconds to Song-Hee Kim's and Louise Friberg's dropping out of the race for the playoff, they got a good scoop that Ochoa will play the next 3 events and skip the Asian Swing.]