Lorena Ochoa withstood an early challenge and then cruised through the back nine to victory Sunday in the Corona Morelia Championship, shooting a 69 (-20) and finishing five strokes ahead of rookie Julieta Granada (-15). Paula Creamer was third at -14.
Paired together for the final round, Ochoa began the day up by three. Granada closed to within one with birdies on 4 and 6. Lorena birdied 8 to go up by two. The challenge ended when Julieta bogeyed the 11th to fall behind by three. She parred out from there while Ochoa netted two more birdies at 13 and 15, which sealed the win. It was Lorena’s fourth win of 2006, the seventh of her career, and the first in her home country. The payday made her only the second player in LPGA history to surpass $2 million in earnings in a single season. Annika Sorenstam has earned over $2 million the last five straight seasons, but hasn't gotten there yet this year.
Creamer’s 65 was the round of the day but since she started the day 10 strokes behind, she was never really in contention. Fourth-place Young-A Yang finished the tournament at -10, 10 shots clear of the lead. Kelli Kuehne earned this week’s Big Surprise Award by finishing tied for 5th (her first Top 10 of the year) but the $30,000 paycheck wasn’t enough to put her in the Top 90 on the money list. Kelli came up just over $12,000 short, ending up as #95 after being #128 just two weeks ago. I’ll go into more detail on who made or missed the Top 90 in my next post.
Morgan Pressel didn’t get that first LPGA win, but she did finish tied for fifth (even if she was 11 shots out of first!). Mi Hyun Kim was my only CYA pick to disappoint, finishing T26.