Thursday, April 26, 2007

Read All About It: Ochoa #1

It finally happened: Lorena Ochoa passed Annika Sorenstam in the Rolex Rankings. Even ESPN is covering the story.

The Golf Channel gives the tee times for this week's event--fittingly, it's in Mexico, with Ochoa defending her title (I would definitely be following the Ochoa-Miyazato-Lang group). Here's the Hound Dog's preview. I'm thinking Jee Young Lee has the best chance to beat Ochoa, myself. I'm also curious to see how youngsters like Angela Park, Jane Park, and In-Bee Park handle the altitude. And of course I'm hoping Moira Dunn can finally break through and stop self-destructing whenever she gets close to contention this year!

In other LPGA news, reports that Sorenstam and Michelle Wie are planning to return to competition from their injuries in the same tournament at the end of May. I'll believe it about Sorenstam when I see it, although it hurts to say that because it would be a great story.

[Update 1 4/27/07: Here's the leaderboard. Stacy Prammanasudh had a nearly flawless round and leads at -6. Ochoa out-eagled her and out-birdied her, but made a bunch of bogeys to end up tied with rookie Na On Min in second at -5. Speaking of the rookies, a bunch are at or under par, some done (Paige Mackenzie, Maru Martinez, Angela Park) and others just getting started (Jeanne Cho-Hunicke, Jin Joo Hong, Sarah Huarte, Kristy McPherson, Ji-Young Oh, and Sarah Lynn Sargent). They're threatening to outshine the Super Sophs this week, who are lead by Cameron Diaz-look-a-like Linda Wessberg at -4 (with Hye Jung Choi, Julieta Granada, Brittany Lang, and Virada Nirapathpongporn breathing down her neck and Kyeong Bae, Minea Blomqvist, Meaghan Francella, and Katie Futcher lurking). Not all the Super Sophs played well, though. My fave Ai-chan held steady after two double bogeys in her first 9 holes to shoot a 76, but will have to scramble to make the cut tomorrow, just like my pick Jee Young Lee, who couldn't get anything going today either. Is there a Mostly Harmless jinx? I hope not: Moira Dunn is off to a good start with a 2-under 35 on the tougher back side, with an easier front to take advantage of and post her first really low number of the year!]

[Update 2: First, way to go, Moira! A birdie-birdie finish got her to 69 and a tie for 5th after the first round! But this is going to be a wild tournament and anything can happen in the next three rounds. If you want to know why, take a look at Il Mi Chung's scorecard--note the 2 on the par-5 8th (is that a double eagle or an albatross?) and note her final score (72). How about Hana Kim's? She had two eagles on the front, matching Ochoa, but couldn't shoot better than a 70. Because there are so many eagles/doubles and birdies/bogeys out there, you can expect to see similarly roller-coaster-esque rounds from the 53 players at par or better, the 35 under par, and the 14 who shot 70 and under. Prammanasudh's and Dunn's bogey-free rounds are the exception to the rule--consider that Ochoa made 4 bogeys and Na On Min made a double and a bogey on their way to 68s, that Wessman shot a 30 on the front, and that too many didn't break 40 on the back. This should be quite a ride, with the winner between 15- and 18-under if conditions stay favorable.]

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