Whether you get your news from LPGA.com, Golf Channel, the AP, Average Golfer, or, as you should, Hound Dog, you probably know that Angela Stanford is the champion of the inaugural Lorena Ochoa Invitational. Congratulations to Angela for holding off a living legend and a Junior Mint who set the tournament record, moving into everyone's top 10 list, breaking the million-dollar barrier in season winnings, and putting herself among the favorites in next week's season-ending winner-takes-a-million ADT Championship.
Congratulations, too, to Nicole Castrale (72, -4, T14) and Meena Lee (66, -8, T4), who held onto the last pair of 2nd-half spots for the ADT, and to Sun Young Yoo (70, -8, T4), who leapfrogged Christina Kim and Sophie Gustafson to snatch the 1st wild card. Despite playing terribly the last 2 weeks, Kim is also in the ADT, thanks to stumbles by Gustafson and Jane Park this weekend--not to mention the clutch play of Stanford, who denied Brittany Lang her own storybook ending just as much as Sorenstam.
In addition to Lang's and Lee's fantastic final rounds, Seon Hwa Lee fired a 67 to get to -5 for the tournament, while Jeong Jang's 68 included a 31 on the front. I saw enough from them this week to consider them among the top contenders next week. Stanford, Sorenstam, Ji-Yai Shin, Hull, Jee Young Lee, Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer, Lorena Ochoa, Ya Ni Tseng, Seon Hwa Lee, Jeong Jang, In-Kyung Kim, Na Yeon Choi, Song-Hee Kim, Suzann Pettersen, and Sun Young Yoo are the most likely ones to make it to Saturday. Who will be the 8 players competing for that million-dollar 1st prize on Sunday? The ADT is shaping up to be quite the season finale!
[Update 1 (2:34 am): Nice piece on Rafael Alarcon that efficiently tells the story of how Lorena learned golf from him over the years--and why she's the world #1.]
[Update 2 (9:39 am): Here's Hound Dog's epilogue.]