Sports Outside the Beltway

Lorena Ochoa wins the ADT Championship

What looked like a rout, suddenly became a close tournament. Then a magnifiicent approach shot capped off a magnificent season for the World’s #1 female golfer.

Only days after her 26th birthday, Lorena Ochoa got a million dollar birthday present. Taking the ADT Championship with a final round 68 to win by two shots . Natalie Gulbis finished a solo second with a round of 70. Paula Creamer finished third after shooting an even par round of 70.

Out of her million dollar winnings, Lorena will give $100,000 for flood relief in the State of Tabasco.

Lorena will make other donations.

“I don’t have a number, but whatever we(her foundation) need. Sí, just we’ll see. I want to make sure—we have plans to buy land and to start construction at the high school, so I want to find good things to do with the money.”

Lorena got things going early on Sunday morning. On the second hole, Super Mex hit a 50 degree wedge from 85 yards to fifteen feet. Lorena made the putt to go one under for the day.

A wedge to ten feet on the third, and a 7-wood to six feet on the fifth also resulted in birdies. After another birdie on six, Lorena was four under par for the tournament and four shots up.

Noone would get closer than three before hole 17. The seventh hole jumping up and grabbing several of Lorena’s closest pursuers. The par 3 hole playing an average of 4.75 strokes for the day.

Lorena seemed to be on cruise control till the 17th hole. Her 8-iron tee shot of 155 yards going over the green but without finding water. It took four more shots for Lorena to find the bottom of the hole.

By the time she walked off the 17th green, Lorena’s lead was down to one. Natalie Gulbis, playing in the same group as Lorena, had made birdie after hitting her tee shot to fifteen feet on 17.

Lorena admitted to being mad when she got to the 18th tee box. Then her tee shot cut it dangerously close to the water on the right side, landing in the rough. Natalie after a good drive, hitting her 3 rescue second shot to some fifteen feet from the hole.

Considering Lorena still faced a tough shot to a difficult hole, some may have thought Gulbis was thinking of a win but Natalie wasn’t.

“Playoff did. Lorena can make par from anywhere. But I thought I just wanted a chance to be able to make that putt to push it to a playoff. That’s what I was hoping for. I didn’t even consider that I would be able to win it outright.”

Lorena then smoothly hit her 6-iron approach shot to two feet from the cup. Effectively sealing her eigth win of the year.

Eight wins, almost five million and earnings, a major championship and player of the year. What did Lorena have to say afterwards when asked what’s next.

“No, there is always room to improve. I want to get much better in my short game, especially 100 yards, 110, 100, 90, 80. I hit them just okay, maybe 10 feet. But at the same time with a 9 iron, 8 iron, 7 iron, I need to improve on my short distances.”

An improved Lorena Ochoa is a scary proposition. A deserving winner for a wonderful tournament. Now we have to wait three months till the LPGA 2008 begins. I can hardly wait.

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