Lorena Ochoa Lorena Ochoa a stroke behind leader Prammanasudh at Corona Championship

Stacy Prammanasudh shot a 6-under-par 67 at Tres Marias Golf Club yesterday to take the first round lead at the Corona Championship in Morelia, Mexico.

She carded a bogey-free round to go one stroke up on defending champion and local favorite Lorena Ochoa and rookie Na On Min. Playing her first tournament as the world No. 1 women's golfer, Ochoa shot two eagles, five birdies and four bogeys at the 6,600-yard Jack Nicklaus-designed Tres Marias.

She scored a 2-under 35 on the first nine holes and shot two eagles on the back nine before finishing the day with a par for a 5-under 68.

"It was a day of ups and downs. I was very pleased with the eagles, and the bogeys come with the emotion of playing a little aggressively, " Ochoa told reporters. "We planned to get 5 under each day, so I'm very tranquil and happy. It's going according top plan, and we hope that will carry on over the following days."

Going for her second win this season, Fields Open champion Prammanasudh had four birdies and an eagle.

"I knew you had to make birdies out there, just with how soft the greens are, and you can be really aggressive with your putts," she told the media. "Luckily, I didn't have any mistakes out there and just made some birdies when I had to."

Min, of South Korea, carded eight birdies, a bogey and a double bogey in her first start on the LPGA Tour as a professional.

As a native of Mexico, Ochoa thrilled her country when she overtook Annika Sorenstam as No. 1 in the Rolex Rankings Monday. She is 0.14 average points ahead of Sorenstam, who is off the LPGA Tour for at least the next three weeks with an injured back, and could extend her lead with a strong finish this week.

A win in Mexico would also make Ochoa the first golfer to successfully defend an LPGA Tour title since Sorenstam won the MasterCard Classic Honoring Alejo Peralta in 2005 and 2006.

Ochoa certainly has the crowd, and the entire country, behind her, a level of pressure she's beginning to get used to.

"Pressure is always a factor, but in this moment, I think it's something positive for me," Ochoa said yesterday. "At first, it was difficult, but now I feel more relaxed. I'm very happy playing in front of my public."

April 27, 2007

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