Special to duramedfuturestour.com and lpga.com
MEXICO CITY, Jan. 18, 2010 -- A year ago, several enthusiastic men and women golfers gathered to host a pro-am in Monterrey, Mexico. The goal was to raise funds to benefit the Mexican players competing on the 2009 Duramed FUTURES Tour. The event was a success and the organizers decided that this effort should be repeated.
So this year, 23 pros -- again men and women -- played in a pro-am on one of the most exclusive golf courses in Mexico, called “The Churubusco,” which is the third-oldest course in the nation. But this time, there was a huge difference compared to the 2009 tournament. This time, the top-ranked woman player in the world, Lorena Ochoa, played as a pro in the event.
Having the No. 1 golfer in the world in the same tournament alongside the six Mexican golfers who will participate on the 2010 Duramed FUTURES Tour was something really special. It gave the event huge media attention that will definitely boost it for coming years, but also focused on young Mexican pros in a year in which the LPGA's developmental tour will play its inaugural regular-season tournament in Nuevo Vallarta.
“I came to support my friends,” said Ochoa, at the trophy presentation. “I know how hard it is to play with all the concentration you need on the course and especially when you are out there by yourself. The message we want to convey here is that we need more support from sponsors. I will back my friends and fellow pros in any way they need.”
Her friends presented Ochoa with a flower bouquet.
Third-year professional Lili Alvarez of Durango, won the tournament, with the Canadian Ambassador Guillermo Rishchinsky playing as an amateur in her group. They won at 17-under par.
Pamela Ontiveros of Torreon, Coahuila, finished third at 15 under. Ontiveros is a Mexican rookie who earned a spot on the 2010 Duramed FUTURES Tour's Qualifying Tournament last November.
“Having Lorena and her coach, Rafael Alarcon, as just two more players in the tournament and being treated the same as the rest, just confirms that Lorena is one of a kind -- a great example to follow and a leader among her peers”, said Rosalba Papacostas, president of the Impulsando al Golf Profesional Mexicano (IGPM), the association that has run this tournament for three consecutive years.
The event started as a small women's tournament the first year, grew to male and female participants last year, and then grew to attract an even larger group of amateur and professionals this year.
Other Mexican professionals who will benefit from this year's pro-am are: Sophia Sheridan of Guadalajara, who was the Duramed FUTURES Tour's top ranked Mexican in 2009; Tanya Dergal of Durango, who earned 2010 LPGA membership that will let her participate in a number of events; former University of Texas player Devan Andersen of Guadalajara; and Tour veteran Marcela Leon of Monterrey.
This event has turned into one of the best pro-ams in Mexico, not only because of the field and the VIPs who participated, but also because of the reason and goals achieved – to assist Mexican players on the Duramed FUTURES Tour who hope to someday join their friend Lorena Ochoa on the LPGA Tour.
The response to this event, in addition to the Duramed FUTURES Tour tournament that will be hosted for the first time in Riviera Nayarit [March 26-28], is proof that Mexican golf is growing steadily and that, in the near future, fans of the game will be able to follow other Mexican players on the LPGA Tour.
Topics: Ochoa, Lorena