Sunday, April 20, 2008

Ginn Open – Final Round

Lorena Ochoa wore down Yani Tseng to win the Ginn Open, her fourth consecutive victory which ties an LPGA record. Ochoa carded 69 to finish at -19, three shots ahead of Tseng, who posted 71. Suzann Pettersen and Teresa Lu tied for third at -11 while Song-Hee Kim and Candie Kung tied for fifth at -10.

The head-to-head battle started out as just that – Tseng birdied the first two to seize the lead. Ochoa birdied 3 to tie at -17. Yani birdied 5 to go back in front but gave it back at 6 with a bogey. Birdies at 8 and 9 gave Lorena a two-shot advantage at the turn. As CBS came on the air, Tseng dropped an eagle putt at 10 tie for the lead at -19. Ochoa tapped in for birdie right after to reach -20 (a regular occurrence in recent weeks).

Both players missed medium-range birdie tries at 11 and at 12, Tseng had only a six-footer but pulled it left. At 13 both lagged to within a few feet but Yani missed her par from five feet while Lorena dropped her three-footer. The lead was two. Tseng’s approach at 14 was outstanding (although she didn’t realize it at first), to about six feet, but again she missed left. The door almost slammed shut at 15 when Yani missed the green right, chipped about 10 feet past and couldn’t save par. Ochoa gave Tseng another chance when she missed her four-foot par putt and then couldn’t can one from eight feet at 16 for birdie. Tseng had played her tee shot at the par-3 short of the front edge and scrambled to make par, but was two down with two to go and the par-5 17th coming up…and Yani yanked her tee shot into the trees, cutting off any eagle chance. She took bogey and even though Lorena missed her three-foot birdie putt, it was over.

Lu missed a par putt from seven feet at 18 to cost herself sole possession of third, but still collects her career best finish. On Friday I felt certain we were going to see Pettersen give Ochoa her first real challenge of the season but 72-71 on the weekend prevented that. That’s back-to-back Top 5s for Song-Hee Kim – she’s now on the track we expected her to be when she dominated the 2006 Futures Tour season. Kung made the Ginn a real Taiwanese affair, joining Tseng and Lu at the top of the leaderboard with her third-straight round in the 60s. Shoot, Amy Hung finished T25 too.

The record I spoke of at the top is for victories in consecutive scheduled events. Ochoa will not break the record as she will not be playing at the Stanford Invitational. At the SemGroup Championship in two weeks, Lorena will attempt to tie the record for consecutive victories in tournaments started, held by Nancy Lopez (1978) and Annika Sorenstam (2004-5).

No comments: