Karla reports from the Lorena Ochoa Invitational by Banamex and Corona Light
Long and exciting weekend
It's been a blast out here. The people have been amazing and the organizers have done a superb job. The players were in great shape and were very nice to the crowds, especially to kids.
Yesterday was a good day with Cristie Kerr playing her “A” game to tie for the lead along with Michelle, who by the way had some momentum going on. Paula had trouble on the greens, but still managed to make some cool shots to save the day.
Today was pretty special, Lorena's birthday was celebrated in the Media Center with a big cake and everybody sang “Las Mañanitas” (birthday song). The course was way too crowded and the fans were very supportive to every single golfer. I must say this has been the best LPGA tournament in Mexico.
I followed Paula on her last round and the best thing I can say is she's a classy young lady. She gave away lots of pink balls to kids and she even gave her watch to a girl who followed her everyday wearing a pink t-shirt with the legend: Paula Creamer, and a Pink Panther image on it, it was nice!
Jiyai had this group of five teenagers routing for her the whole 18 and she gave them a couple of balls too. These kids claimed that she was one of the nicest players they've known and that they adored her.
Michelle was hot all week long and I'm happy for her because she's no longer a promise, she's a reality. I think she'll keep this momentum going for next week, so the season ending tournament must be fun.
The crowds' favorites, besides Lorena, were Paula and Michelle; these young gals are doing a fantastic job keeping the fans on a hook, which of course helps the tour.
I saw some fantastic golf out here. Today's best couple of shots were: Paula's eagle on 10. She chipped from the rough and holed it; and Michelle's bunker shot on 18, the ball stopped about 2 ft from the flagstick which guaranteed her a birdie and the victory, of course!
Lorena did well. She has lots of pressure and stuff going on with her wedding and the responsibility of hosting so it's comprehensible that she can't show her “A” game. I guess we'll find out who will take the POY Award until next week, which should be a great race to watch.
Anyways, I'm off now as it's been a long, but fun week though. I hope you've enjoyed this diary and I'll do my best to keep you posted on my blog and on other LPGA tournaments in Mexico.
What a great day out here. The crowds have been amazing. You can feel a great vibe where ever you walk and the volunteers are doing a fantastic job, as usual!
I decided to follow Paula Creamer, Maria Jose Uribe and Song-Hee Kim. I wasn't sure if Uribe was going to keep the pace but I was amazed. She made some great shots and kept it cool when she messed it up. I think the shot of the day was, by far, on 13. She was in the bunker and managed to sink it for birdie, even Paula acknowledge it.
The Colombian played strong and her first glimpse of greatness came on 11 when she almost sank her approach shot, but when the ball was about to hit the cup it went back. The greens are pretty hard out here, anyways this was the key moment of her round!
Paula had some trouble on the back nine. Her game kind of fell apart and she was battling with her putting; besides, her approach shots weren't as sharp as on the front nine. Still, she managed to stay in contention and dealt with the frustration pretty good. Her parents were there to support her, so I think this was helpful too.
Song-Hee Kim was pretty lethal with her approach shots but as Paula, couldn't convert much and she left quite a few birdies out there. I must say that by 12 the shadows on the greens and fairways were deep so this probably affected her.
I didn't know much about Lorena's round. I mean, I heard the crowds going nuts from time to time, specially on the back nine so I imagined she birdied or something.
I was happy when I stopped by a leaderboard and she was 4-der. Did you know this is the first time in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational history that she has shot in the 60's? She's improving and maybe today was good for two reasons: 1) she was paired with longtime buddy, Sophia Sheridan, and with Yani Tseng with whom she has a great friendship. 2) Yesterday she practiced A LOT on the putting green, so I think it paid results.
I guess Jiyai Shin is the virtual POY, huh? She's having a very good week and the fact that she didn't play the course until Wednesday makes it even more impressive; let's see if Lorena can catch her over the weekend!
Anyways, I hope you're enjoying these entries I'll keep you posted. BTW, I'll be following Shin, Wie and Creamer tomorrow!
Asian players top the leader board!
First round out here and it's been crazy. I knew the crowds were going to be kind of big for a Thursday but I never imagined this!!! There are lots of kids around and they are behaving pretty well. Even when many of them were following Lorena it wasn't strange to see some girls routing for Paula Creamer or Michelle Wie as they are very recognizable ladies out here.
The climate is awesome; today it wasn't as chilly as in previous days and the wind helped a lot because the sun was up all day long without a single cloud.
Lorena's round was good. She hit lots of fairways but her putting is giving her a headache. After she finished her round she went straight to the putting green along with her caddie and her coach. Hopefully she'll do better tomorrow.
I walked with Jiyai Shin's threesome. I'd never seen her play before, at least not live, so I was very curious. I must say I'm impressed. She has this amazing control with her irons and putter and she's very nice to the fans as well. The first hole was so cool since she left her ball about one yard from the cup. She seems to enjoy every single shot and when she misses she just comes back stronger and forgets her mistakes. She's pretty awesome.
Angela Stanford couldn't do much. She had good shots from tee to fairway but her putter let her down quite a few times. Maybe she'll have a better round tomorrow. This course suits her game, as we all know, so let's wait and see.
Now Cristie Kerr, well she was having some issues with her approach shots, anyhow, she managed to safe the day thanks to her back nine. Her putting seems to be very synchronized and I'm sure she's a big contender for the title.
So, that's it for today. I'm not sure which threesome I'll walk with tomorrow, but I'm guessing it would be Paula's. Oh I almost forgot Maria Jose Uribe, a girl from Colombia, had a great round and she's preparing for Q-School.
Finally, thanks for stopping by my blog. I also have a Spanish version for those who emailed me. Here's the link: http://pardecampo.blogspot.com
I'll keep you posted!
Live from Guadalajara!
So the wait is over and the Lorena Ochoa Invitational is finally here. It's been a long year and there's a lot at steak here people, but everybody's just waiting to see what happens with the POY race.
I'd love to see Lorena lifting the trophy by Sunday; it would be so special for her, the fans and the whole country! Then we have Jiyai Shin who has had a fantastic year and if she holds off the other players, she'll be the second LPGA golfer to achieve ROY and POY in one season, how cool is that?
Anyway, today was Pro-Am day and the galleries were already big, at least for a Wednesday. The stands seem pretty crowded and everybody around here is very nice. The organization is even better than last year. There's no way to get lost or get confused at the course. The mornings and evenings have been quite chilly but we get lots of sun and wind during the rest of the day, so we have great weather out here.
Yesterday I got interview Brittany Lang for Caras Golf Magazine. She's very nice and we had a good time. She talked about the Solheim Cup and how it helped with her game. She also told me that she loves being in Guadalajara because everybody is so nice and she pointed out that the course is in better shape than last year.
Today I talked to Anna Nordqvist and I must say she's so down to earth! I realized that Swedish golfers have a lot of support not only from their families but also from their government. It was quite a nice chat and I'm expecting her to become one of the dominant players out here.
Well, that's it for today but I'll be back tomorrow and be sure to visit http://atevenpar.blogspot.com for pics and further news!