Monday, November 23, 2009

LPGA Tour Championship Monday: Lorena Ochoa Will Not Be Denied--or Will She?

Talk about clutch! Lorena Ochoa got off to a fast start in the final round of the LPGA Tour Championship, making birdies on her 1st 3 holes to climb to -9. But after becoming the 1st player in the field to break the -10 barrier with a birdie on the 7th, the world #1 bogeyed 8 and 9, right around the time that Na Yeon Choi, Hee Young Park, and Ai Miyazato were making Sunday charges. But Ochoa responded with birdies on the par-4 11th, par-5 12th, and par-3 15th to catch Anna Nordqvist at -11. But Nordqvist, who bogeyed the par-4 13th to break a 5-hole birdie barrage, bounced right back with a birdie on the par-4 14th to get to -12. With Player of the Year rival Ji-Yai Shin back to E on the day and -7 for the tournament after her lone birdie of the day on the par-4 11th, it's looking like Ochoa has her 4th straight Vare Trophy sewn up. But if Nordqvist can hold her off for the 2nd victory of her rookie season, Shin could still end La Reina's 3-year reign over the POY with a strong finish. This is enough to make me wish I had Golf Channel!

[Update 1 (4:46 pm): Man, when Nordqvist won her 1st LPGA event as a partial-status member and made it a major, I thought all those Annika comparisons were a trifle, shall we say, premature. But she's now birdied 7 of her last 8 holes to take a 2-shot lead on La Reina heading into the last 3 holes of 2009. If she can pull this one out, that'll be 7 wins for the Class of 2009--and Stacy Lewis, Vicky Hurst, and Shiho Oyama haven't even gotten it going yet in their LPGA careers!]

[Update 2 (4:49 pm): It's not looking good for Lorena, as she failed to birdie the par-5 16th.]

[Update 3 (5:02 pm): Nordqvist also failed to birdie 16. Ochoa's hopes are still alive.]

[Update 4 (5:58 pm): Went to pick up the girls at day care, and lo and behold, Nordqvist did deny Ochoa, after all. But with Shin's bogey on the 17th, Ochoa may just have pulled out the POY race as well as the scoring average race.... Looking for confirmation now!]

[Update 5 (6:00 pm): Yup, according to, Ochoa beat Shin by 1 point in the POY race!!]

[Update 6 (6:49 pm): Here's Brent Kelley with the details of how Ochoa got her POY back!]

[Update 7 (9:01 pm): And here are Hound Dog and Jamie RS on the final round.]

[Update 8 (11/24/09, 5:46 am): Here's Ryan Ballengee.]

[Update 9 (5:59 am): Wow, even Golf Channel did a good job with highlights and analysis from Charlie Rymer. If I could pay for live online streaming video from them of LPGA events in 2010, I'd do it in a second!]

[Update 10 (9:59 am): Randall Mell looks back on the last couple of weeks on the LPGA and ahead to 2010. Karen Crouse focuses on Lorena, Ji-Yai, and Anna.]

[Update 11 (10:04 am): And here's Sal Johnson, looking back and looking ahead, as well.]

[Update 12 (10:06 am): Ditto for Larry Bohannan.]

[Update 13 (11/25/09, 2:42 am): And here's Stephanie Wei.]

[Update 14 (12:56 pm): Ron Sirak shows what he's capable of when he puts his mind to it. His quotes from and descriptions of Shin's ROY acceptance speech will bring a tear to your eye.]


Rodney said...

Is there an actual cash prize for POY and if so what is it?

The Constructivist said...

Not that I know of, but winning POY is worth something far rarer than dollars: Hall of Fame points. (Same goes for the Vare Trophy.) Ochoa doesn't need them--the only reason she isn't in the Hall already is that she hasn't played 10 seasons on tour--but she's given herself a chance to tie Annika with 5-straight POYs and Mickey Wright with 5-straight Vare Trophys. She's playing for her place in history at this point--plus she just delayed Shin's entry into the Hall by a little bit.