Lorena Ochoa aggressively seeking LPGA win at Takefuji Classic but with Paula Creamer at her heels, will she fold?
Lorena Ochoa is finally gaining confidence playing in LPGA tournaments, and it’s about time!
The 24-year-old Guadalajaran has come on strong in the LPGA Takefuji Classic held this weekend at Las Vegas Country Club. First-round action proved that Ochoa had no fear of the eighty players who made the cut in the 54-hole tournament. Two eagles and six birdies in her opening round of 63 complemented an almost bogey-free round.
But does she have what it takes to be a “finisher"? The cycle of second place anonymity seems to be hanging over Ochoa like a dense fog. Two ties for second this season alone must be filling her with a kind of dread that this phase will continue. Is Lorena like an early Phil Mickelson, unable to lay claim to a major victory for years or is it finally her time to assert herself and grab a share of the spotlight?
Although Lorena Ochoa has already won three LPGA trophies she has also led going into the final round and collapsed under the pressure.
At the Kraft Nabisco Championship Ochoa held a three-stroke lead over Michelle Wie but lost to Karrie Webb in a playoff. In 2005 at the Safeway International presented by Coca-Cola, Ochoa had a one-stroke lead over Soo-Yun Kang but shot a 74 in the final round losing again in a playoff, this time to Annika Sorenstam. At the Safeway, Ochoa led from round-one but the pressure got to her and she literally “gave away the tournament” as stated in her own words.
This year there seems to be a new gleam in Ochoa’s eye, a confident stride in her gait which seems to suit her. Instead of worrying that Paula Creamer is creeping up behind her on the leaderboard, Ochoa is mentally preparing herself in advance for the final round.
“Just keep making birdies. You take the lead and you are ahead to feel good tomorrow.”
Although Paula Creamer has been a steady player, she has yet to win this season. Creamer didn’t start her surge last year until the Sybase Classic in May but once she did the “Pink Panther’s” rally lasted throughout 2005 winning two LPGA tournaments and two overseas.
If her new feeling of confidence holds up, Lorena Ochoa will not be worrying about Paula Creamer or anyone else on the leaderboard. The sooner she realizes that doubting her ability makes her more likely to fold under pressure, the quicker the Mexican sensation will move up from that undistinguished second-place to greatness.
Photo Credit: © Mexsport.
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This time Lorena succeeded with a wire-to-wire victory!! It wasn't a complete "gimme". Seon Hwa Lee gave her a run for her money with birdies on five of her remaining six holes.
She's the money leader and playing better than anyone. It will be interesting to see if she can keep it up, and how long she needs to keep it up before anyone notices.
The next girl that needs a confidence boost is Natalie Gulbis! Once she learns how to win Gulbis will be invincible!
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