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Friday, May 17
The Indiana Daily Student


Ochoa looks for 4th title at Ginn Open

LPGA Tour Golf

After Tiger Woods won his first three events this year, Lorena Ochoa turned to some of her friends and jokingly said, “OK, we need to catch up.”\nNow, Ochoa might be pulling away.\nThe 26-year-old Mexican star has won three consecutive tournaments on the LPGA Tour, including the first major of the year, and acknowledged Wednesday that she’s already thinking about winning a Grand Slam.\n“That’s something that, as a player, would be something great to achieve,” Ochoa said. “And of course my eyes are on that.”\nThe way she’s played in 2008, few would bet against her.\nOchoa has won four of five events – by a combined 34 strokes, no less – and entered this week’s Ginn Open near Orlando looking for a fourth consecutive victory for the first time in her career.\n“I like my chances,” she said.\nOchoa had an opportunity to win four in a row last fall. She won the British Open, the Canadian Open and the Safeway Classic in August, but took the next event off. She returned to the Navistar Classic in Alabama and had a one-stroke lead heading into the final round, but closed with a 73 and finished two shots behind Maria Hjorth.\nAnnika Sorenstam is the last to win four in a row on tour; she accomplished the feat in 2001. She was clearly the top player in the world back then, a title she held until Ochoa took over a year ago.\n“The roles are a little reversed,” said Sorenstam, who missed the Ginn Open last year because of a ruptured disk in her back. “I’m chasing her and I’m not giving up by any means. She’s playing fantastic golf. She’s really, really been consistent, driving and putting well, winning majors and winning consecutive tournaments.”\nOchoa has pretty much dominated the competition recently, winning 18 titles during the last 24 months and solidifying her spot atop the sport.\nShe’s coming off an 11-stroke victory at the Corona Championship in her native Mexico, a win that qualified her for the Hall of Fame.\n“I don’t mind that a lot of players are trying to catch me,” she said. “It feels good to be in the No. 1 position. I’d like to stay there hopefully for a long time. I’m going to do everything it takes to stay in that position.”\nWinning all four majors surely would keep her there for a while.\nWoods felt good enough about his game after winning his first three events that he suggested a Grand Slam was “easily within reason.” His shot ended Sunday at the Masters, where Trevor Immelman held on for a 3-over 75 to win the first major of the PGA Tour.\nOchoa’s chances are still very much alive.\nAnd maybe within reach, even though only two players (Babe Zaharias in 1950 and Sandra Haynie in 1974) have ever swept every LPGA major in a single season. Neither of them did it when there were four majors.\n“Everything that she’s done this year has been phenomenal,” said Brittany Lincicome, who won last year’s Ginn Open after Ochoa and Laura Davies faltered down the stretch.\nLincicome started the final round four shots back, but ended up atop the leaderboard after both faded in blustery conditions.\nOchoa was 6-over-par on her final six holes, capping a 77 by missing a 10-foot bogey putt that would have forced \na playoff.\nOchoa would like to make amends for the stunning collapse this week – and extend her winning streak.\n“What happened last year (was) a learning experience,” she said. “But it was tough losing here with a double bogey on 18. ... So here I am, I’m going to give myself a good chance, and hopefully I can get that beautiful trophy on Sunday.”

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