By Karla Villegas Gama
The curse that chased Lorena Ochoa since 2006, when the Acapulco Skins was held for the first time, finally ended. During the first three editions it was Annika Sorenstam who topped the world No.1, twice in Acapulco and once in Ixtapa.
Lorena knew this was it. All the doubts about her supremacy on Tour and the problems she has had when she plays in Mexico, except for Morelia, were huge. It was the perfect time to end all those rumors with a win over Paula Creamer at the 2009 Ixtapa Skins.
On the first hole Ochoa hit it out of bounds, which led her to score a double bogey. This was perfect for Creamer who took the first skin with a par. Then on the 2nd, Lorena missed her tee shot again, her ball hit a tree and she scored another double bogey, leaving Paula with an advantage, and the score became 2-0.
From holes three to nine the match was rather boring since neither could win a single hole, therefore seven skins were accumulated. It was on the 8th where Lorena could have taken the lead but her putting was off. She hit the ball too hard and it passed over the hole.
The tournament was basically defined on the par-5, 10th, where Creamer missed a makeable par putt and spoiled her chance to keep the lead. This gave Ochoa the opportunity to turn things around, taking 8 skins, even when she hadn't scored a single birdie during the day.
Paula's game became a bit slower and her frustration was obvious. On the 13th she missed another putt which gave Ochoa a couple more skins. The match was over on the 16th, even with Creamer hitting almost all the fairways and greens; her putter was letting her down. Her ball stopped inches from the hole and she lost another skin, which put the score 14-2.
On the 18th there were 2 skins to win. Ochoa and Creamer both made par and decided to play the hole two more times to define the winner of the remaining $20,000. At the end neither of them claimed the hole, so they split the money equally. After the winner's ceremony, both players went back to a tent to sign some autographs for the fans.
The final score was 15-3. Ochoa took home a $150,000 check, while Paula left with $30,000. Even so, it is fair to say that it wasn't "Ochoa's victory", but "Creamer's loss".
It hasn't been determined if there will be a 5th edition of the event, if so, the format needs a change, maybe a team match or anything more attractive for the fans. If the organizers decide that it's time for the Ixtapa Skins to disappear, well maybe not many people will miss them.
Some quick notes…
Moments before the press conference held on Friday, Lorena and Paula received the City Keys in honor of their visit and as a way to thank them for supporting the "Vive México" program.
Lorena had her coach, Rafael Alarcón on her bag. According to Ochoa, Dave Brooker is still dealing with his injury and might not reappear until the U.S. Women's Open, but it's not a fact yet.
Creamer to battle Ochoa in skins match
By Karla Villegas Gama
From the very moment Annika Sorenstam lifted the winner's trophy at the 2008 Ixtapa Skins the organizers, sponsors and fans wondered if the tournament would survive, mainly because the Swede, and former world No. 1, was stepping away from competitive golf at the end of the season. Nevertheless, there were some rumors that other players might replace her or that the event might suffer some format changes in order to make it a team competition, even so, nothing was secure for the 2009 edition.
Three weeks ago the expectations grew bigger, after some information was leaked to the media; apparently Paula Creamer was confirmed to replace Sorenstam in the skins match. Nothing was definite until last Tuesday when Televisa set up a press conference to give the details. It was Lorena Ochoa herself who said "when Annika made her decision to step away we immediately thought that Paula would be a great addition to the event. She accepted the invitation and I'm sure it's going to be great for the fans."
Besides, "having this kind of head-to-head usually helps to bring the game into a higher level; it's also cool because you can be more aggressive", stated an excited Ochoa, who has won twice this year.
The last time Paula and Lorena played in a skins match was during the ANNIKA Celebration, which honored Sorenstam, in Orlando, Florida, earlier this year. In that particular event Creamer teamed up with the host, while the Mexican had Natalie Gulbis on her side. In the end, Ochoa and Gulbis claimed the title.
Did you know…
The venue where the Ixtapa Skins will be held has a par 72 course that covers 6,898 yards, has huge bunkers and natural lakes; as well as 4 tennis courts?
The first two editions of the Skins were held in Acapulco, Guerrero at the Tres Vidas Golf Club?
Annika Sorenstam won this event from 2006 to 2008 and the score was 11-7 in all of them?