Monday, August 20, 2007

CN Canadian Women’s Open – Final Round

To use a nickname coined by the Canadian media, the Ochoa Express completed its run through Edmonton Sunday as Lorena won the CN Canadian Women’s Open. It was her fifth victory of 2007, the 14th of Ochoa’s career, and the first back-to-back victories of her career. UPDATE: Not true, she won back-to-back late in 2006. Sorry. Paula Creamer finished three shots behind in second place at -13 with Shi Hyun Ahn in third at -10.

Trailing by four when the day started, Creamer got closer with a birdie at 2. Both her and Ochoa birdied 3 and then Lorena birdied 6 to regain her four-shot lead. It looked like the beginning of the end when Paula lipped out a 2-foot par putt at 8 to fall five shots down, but number 9 brought a two-shot swing when Creamer’s approach landed two feet away to set up a birdie and Ochoa couldn’t get up-and-down from a greenside bunker. Then at 11 Paula rolled one in from 18 feet to close within two, and it looked like we had our match-play shootout.

At 12 Ochoa played one of her “World #1” iron shots from 140 yards to about a foot-and-a-half. Creamer just lipped the cup with her birdie try and Lorena tapped in to go up by three. Paula couldn’t convert a 15-footer for birdie at 13 and at the par-5 14th she flew her third to the back of the green and left her 25-footer about 3 feet short. When she missed that putt, she was four back with four to go. An Ochoa birdie at 15 really drove the stake home and even though Creamer picked up two shots at 17, it was still over.

Shi Hyun Ahn bounced back nicely with a 66 to take third place. Brittany Lang equaled her best finish of the year by tying for fourth with a 67. Laura Diaz faded slightly with a 72 but still tied for fourth. The Big Surprise award will be shared this week – Ya-Ni Tseng and Kimberly Hall both finished tied for sixth for the first Top 10s of their careers. For Tseng it came in her first LPGA event. I was incorrect when I said she is a Canadian Tour regular – Judy Rankin mentioned that Ya-Ni is not a member of any tour. Hall is in her second LPGA season; her previous best was a T18 at last year’s Safeway Classic. Hopefully we’ll see more of both these players, especially Hall – she’s a real cutie!

I didn’t notice until late yesterday that Jee Young Lee had withdrawn prior to the start of Round Three due to a shoulder injury. Hopefully that won’t hamper her efforts for too long. My CYA picks this week were certainly cursed – Se Ri Pak gets the Big Disappointment award for missing the cut.