Lorena Ochoa Steps Outside the Ropes

Another Year, Another Dream For Young Mexican Pros

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO -- What started four years ago as an optimistic idea to help young Mexican golf professionals get started in their careers, has become reality and a huge success. Thanks to the efforts of many, Mexican LPGA Futures Tour players will enter the 2011 tournament season filled with hope and expectation.

Once again, Impulsando al Golf Profesional Mexicano (IGPM), a Mexican non-profit organization that was created four years ago by Rosalba Papacostas and Marina Villasana, invited Mexican sports celebrities and government officials to play an 18-hole pro-am tournament with male and female professional golfers. That list of dignitaries included former World No. 1 and LPGA superstar, Lorena Ochoa.

Mexico City Country Club hosted the tournament for the second year, bringing together Fernando Ysita of the Mexican Golf Federation, Bernardo de la Garza, director of Conade [Mexico’s government sports agency], former Mexican soccer stars Jorge Campos, Alberto Garcia Aspe and Hugo Enrique Kiese, as well as key members of the business community.

The purpose of the event had two goals: first, to build financial resources for Mexican professionals Lili Alvarez, Tanya Dergal, Marcela Leon, Pamela Ontiveros and Sophia Sheridan, who are the five Mexican pros on the 2011 LPGA Futures Tour; and to gather more than 100 amateur players for a memorable round of golf.

Part of the event’s success comes from the support IGPM gets each year from the Mexican golf professionals who play on the Negra Modelo Tour, Mexico’s only professional golf tour. All 16 professionals in the pro-am participated without compensation and returned this year to support the event and its historic effort.

“This can’t be done without the enthusiasm and love of our professionals,” said Papacostas, president of IGPM. “These players are a huge element in this effort and we are deeply grateful for this”.

The pro-am team led by Jose Trauwitz Pepus, who has competed on the Canadian and Nationwide Tours, won this year’s tournament. Mexican pro Oscar Fraustro’s team finished second. He came to the pro-am to support his colleagues directly from Asia, where he plays on the Asian Tour.

Organizers of the IGPM event hold the tournament to demonstrate that Mexico can build a long-term strategy to help young Mexican golfers achieve their dream of competing at the highest level. It is the same dream that former LPGA star Lorena Ochoa had when she left her home in Mexico to become an LPGA champion.

Because of that goal, the event has received considerable support from government and golf authorities, players and corporate sponsors like Value Casa de Bolsa, Interjet, Clean Service and Corona Light, who already support the program throughout the year.

And with the continued interest and support of 2008 Futures Tour Rookie of the Year Violeta Retamoza, who now works as operations director with IGPM, as well as Ochoa, who began her own professional career on the Futures Tour, the future careers of these young pros are already more than just a dream.

“They are good players and they deserve a chance to reach the LPGA,” said Ochoa, who played junior golf in Mexico with many of the current LPGA Futures Tour members. “We have to be patient and give them the time they need to accomplish their dream.”

- Special report by Eduardo Guillen



Topics: Ochoa, Lorena

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