World's No. 1 Player Aims to Win Second Consecutive Tournament; Says Thailand Win Gives Her More Confidence
Monday, March 2, 2009, SINGAPORE - Lorena Ochoa won the 2008 HSBC Women's Champions by 11 shots over LPGA and World Golf Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam. The No. 1-ranked player in the world returns this week to defend her first title of the season at the Tanah Merah Country Club in Singapore.
Ochoa, 27, will tee it up at the second-annual HSBC Women's Champions, March 5-8, against a very strong field including 39 of the top 50 players in the world. All of the top-10 players in the world will be there, and the 78-player field will compete for the $2 million purse with the winner earning $300,000.
The HSBC Women's Champions is the defending champion's second event of the season. She won her 25th LPGA title at the Honda LPGA Thailand last week by defeating Hee Young Park by three shots.
"The win in Thailand was great preparation," said Ochoa. "I have more confidence. I know my putter is working well. With the memories I have from last year I am very positive. It is a place that I really like and a beautiful golf course. Hopefully we will have a great year as we did last year."
Last year, Ochoa posted an impressive 66-65-69-68=268 (-20). Her wire-to-wire victory by 11 shots ties the LPGA record for largest margin of victory. The win was her first of seven in 2008 and she won five of the first six tournaments she entered.
The 2003 LPGA Rookie from Guadalajara, Mexico has accumulated 25 career victories and is currently third in LPGA career earnings with more than $13 million.
While Ochoa cruised to victory at the 2008 HSBC Women's Champions, Sorenstam and Paula Creamer kept things interesting in the battle for second place. The pair dueled until the back nine where Sorenstam pulled away with birdies on holes 13 and 16 to finish the event at 9-under-par 279 (71-67-70-71). Creamer ended her stay in Singapore at 7-under-par 281 (67-71-70-73) for third place.
What is Ochoa's game plan for defending her title?
"The par-fives are important to get the extra distance and really shoot the low scores there. I am going to do the same" Ochoa said. "It worked last year so why change it. Really concentrate on the par fives to make eagles and birdies and go from there."
Other players to watch for are: No. 2-ranked Yani Tseng, who was the 2008 Rolex Rookie of the Year; No. 3-ranked Creamer, who finished third at the 2008 HSBC Women's Champions; No. 6-ranked Angela Stanford, who won the season-opening SBS Open at Turtle Bay and No. 4-ranked Suzanne Pettersen, who won five times in 2007 and posted 10 top-10 finishes in 2008.
Three LPGA Tour and World Golf Hall of Fame members will also compete: Juli Inkster, Karrie Webb and Se Ri Pak.
For more tournament information, please visit: www.hsbcgolf.com.