Golf News for Friday, April 27, 2007 | People

LPGA's Lorena Ochoa commits to play SemGroup Championship

BROKEN ARROW, Okla. -- Tournament officials have announced that reigning LPGA Rolex Player of the Year and AP Female Athlete of the Year Lorena Ochoa will play the SemGroup Championship presented by John Q. Hammons. On Monday, Ochoa moved to number one in the Rolex Women's Golf Rankings. The Cedar Ridge Country Club event returns April 30 - May 6.

"Securing a commitment from Lorena is huge for our Tournament and Tulsa," said Tournament Director Doug Eibling. "We have promised to provide Tulsa with a great event that everyone can be proud of. Ensuring that the new number one golfer in the world competes is a great way to do that."

Ochoa's move to the top of the Rolex Rankings marks the first time since the rankings began in February 2006 that a golfer other than Annika Sorenstam has held the number one spot. Sorenstam is currently taking time away from competition to rehab a ruptured disk in her back.

A native of Mexico, Ochoa has experienced huge success on the LPGA Tour since turning pro in 2003. In 2006, she was named Rolex Player of the Year and AP Female Athlete of the Year after winning six times. She earned over $2.5 million and the ADT Official Money List title. Ochoa also earned the Vare Trophy as the season scoring leader. She finished 3rd in the 2006 Tulsa event, making a late charge with a final round 65 to finish four back of Cristie Kerr. Ochoa also played the 2003 event, finishing T15.

Through six events in 2007, Ochoa leads the ADT Official Money List with $584,870. She has also posted five top-10 finishes, best on the LPGA Tour. Ochoa notched her first victory of 2007 at the Safeway International presented by Coca-Cola on March 25. Her phenomenal play has made her a national icon in Mexico, a role that she has embraced. In 2001, she won the National Sports Award, the highest athlete accolade given in Mexico. She was the youngest athlete to ever win and the first golfer. Ochoa is widely acknowledged as one of the friendliest and most approachable golfers on the LPGA Tour.

Now entering its 7th year in the Tulsa area, the SemGroup Championship has quickly become one of the premier events on the LPGA Tour, annually attracting a top field of players, great crowds and tremendous community support. Cristie Kerr is the Tournament's defending champion, defeating three-time champion Annika Sorenstam by two strokes. Gloria Park won the inaugural event in 2001, with World Golf Hall of Famer Karrie Webb winning in 2003, and Sorenstam winning in 2002, 2004 and 2005. For tickets, sponsorship or volunteer information: www.SemGroupChampionship.com or (918) 583-9925.

About SemGroup, L.P.
SemGroup, L.P. is a privately held midstream company providing the energy industry means to move products from the wellhead to the wholesale marketplace. With assets in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Wales (United Kingdom) and Switzerland, SemGroup's business segments focus on activities related to crude oil, refined petroleum products, natural gas, natural gas liquids and asphalt. Based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, SemGroup is ranked No. 5 on Forbes magazine's list of America's Largest Private Companies. For additional information, visit www.semgrouplp.com.

About John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts, LLC
Springfield, Mo.-based John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts, LLC is the nation's leading independent builder, developer, owner and manager of upscale, full-service hotels, resorts and suites, including: Embassy Suites Hotels, Renaissance, Marriott, Radisson, Residence Inn, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Holiday Inn and Courtyard by Marriott brands. With 62 hotels strategically located near demand generators, such as state capitals, universities, airports, corporate headquarters or office parks in secondary and tertiary markets, John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts' properties are dominant in their markets. Over the course of his impressive career in the hotel business, Mr. Hammons has developed 164 hotels. For more information, visit www.jqh.com.

About Cedar Ridge Country Club
It all started with a vision and a dairy farm. In 1968 a group of Tulsa businessmen, headed by J.A. Buddy LaForturne, commissioned famed golf course designer Joe Finger to create a new golf course in Tulsa that would be heralded as one of the finest in the nation. Finger said Cedar Ridge ranks at the top of all his designed courses. It has the kind of strategic demands and natural beauty which pleases most golfers. It requires the player to hit a variety of shots with near perfect execution. Eighty-seven sand traps await the golfers' errant shots. Upon completion, Cedar Ridge was rated among the top hundred courses by Golf Digest. For more information, visit www.cedarridgecountryclub.com.

About the Ladies Professional Golf Association
Featuring the world's best women golfers, the LPGA's membership includes touring, teaching and club professionals. The LPGA Tour in 2007 features 35 events, with total prize money of nearly $55 million. Since 1981, the LPGA and its tournaments have raised approximately $180 million for charity. From the dreams of its 13 founders in 1950, the LPGA has evolved into the world's pre-eminent women's professional sports organization. The LPGA has grown from its roots as a playing tour into a non-profit organization involved in every facet of golf. The LPGA is headquartered in Daytona Beach, Fla. For more information, log on to www.LPGA.com.

About Octagon's Golf Division
Octagon's Golf Division manages two Champions Tour events, The ACE Group Classic and SAS Championship presented by Forbes; three LPGA Tour events, Sybase Classic, LPGA NW Arkansas Championship presented by John Q. Hammons, and SemGroup Championship presented by John Q. Hammons; and one Nationwide Tour event, Rex Hospital Open. Octagon's Golf Division also represents nearly 20 golfing professionals including Chris Smith, Natalie Gulbis, Christina Kim, Meg Mallon, and Beth Daniel. Additionally, Octagon represents marketing rights to Davis Love III, Gary Koch, and brothers, Bobby and Lanny Wadkins.

About Octagon
Octagon is the world's largest sports and entertainment representation and marketing agency with global expertise in consulting, athletes & personalities, event management, property representation, marketing solutions, licensing and merchandising and talent procurement. As part of The Interpublic Group (NYSE:IPG), one of the world's leading organizations of advertising agencies and marketing services, Octagon employs more than 1,000 people in 60 offices around the world. For more information visit: www.octagon.com.

Media Contact:
Doug Eibling, Tournament Director
(918) 249-4444 or doug.eibling@octagon.com