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Making it look easy, Ochoa moves up the leaderboard at LPGA Championship

Making it look easy, Ochoa moves up the leaderboard at LPGA Championship

Lorena Ochoa had 17 good chances at birdie and made enough of them for her lowest round ever in the LPGA Championship, a 7-under 65 on Friday that gave her a one-shot lead in her quest for a third straight major title.
"It was very easy. I did enjoy it a lot," Ochoa said. "I'm going to try to do two more rounds like that."
She was at 10-under 134 and had a one-shot lead over Lindsey Wright, who had a 68. It was the lowest 36-hole score at Bulle Rock since the McDonald's LPGA Championship moved here in 2005.
Perhaps even more intimidating was the name next to it.
Ochoa had at least a share of the 36-hole lead in the Women's British Open at St. Andrews and the Kraft Nabisco Championship, and she won both those majors by a combined nine shots.
She took the lead at Bulle Rock with one final birdie, a 20-footer on the 18th hole that curled into the side of the cup. Ochoa swung her leg and pumped her fist, happy to see the last putt fall on a day when she missed a half-dozen putts shorter than that.
"I think today was my best round in the season," said Ochoa, a bold statement considering she has won six times in nine starts.
She missed only one fairway and one green, both on the uphill fifth hole when her tee shot went through the fairway into a bunker, and a 7-wood hopped into a greenside bunker. She blasted out over the steep ridge to 3 feet for par.
Her longest putt for birdie was about 25 feet on the 13th hole. She missed three birdie putts inside 8 feet. And even as the temperatures began to climb, Ochoa barely broke a sweat.
Her work done, Ochoa headed to the movies with her brother to watch "Sex in the City." But she departed Bulle Rock with her name atop the leaderboard, and it stayed there throughout the afternoon.
"I think it's just good to be in the lead ... because my name means something, you know?" she said. "In a way, that's what I'm trying to do _ to put pressure on other players and to let them know that you want to win."
Lorie Kane of Canada made three straight birdies to catch her until she got quick with her swing and had to settle for 70, leaving her two shots behind at 136.
Three-time LPGA champion Annika Sorenstam tried to make a move with a 68, but she was still four shots behind. But she sounded as though she anticipated a duel with the No. 1 player on Sunday.
"I think I'm in good shape," Sorenstam said. "I played well here in the past. It's a major, and 36 holes is nothing. The way I'm hitting it, I'm just waiting for the putts to drop. It could be a lot of fun."
Wright, who grew up in Australia, has never finished better than fourth on the U.S. LPGA Tour. She had the outright lead with a birdie on the 18th, but stumbled twice on her back nine until finishing with a birdie.
"Kind of nice to come into the weekend in this position, especially when Lorena is leading the tournament," Wright said. "She's obviously the person to beat. When you see her up there, you know she's not going to make too many mistakes. It keeps me focused because I know I can't make too many mistakes. I have to make birdies."
Rachel Hetherington (69) and Brittany Lang (67) were among those three shots behind.


Updated : 2021-05-15 04:54 GMT+08:00