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Ochoa looks ordinary and turns US LPGA Championship into a free-for-all

Ochoa looks ordinary and turns US LPGA Championship into a free-for-all

Lee Jee-young shot a 7-under 65 Saturday and capitalized on a rare stumble by Lorena Ochoa to take a one-stoke lead in the U.S. LPGA Championship.
Lee, one of the longest hitters on the U.S. women's tour, played her final four holes in 4-under par and surged into the lead, one shot ahead of Maria Hjorth of Sweden, another big hitter, who did most of her work early and also shot 65.
Lee was at 12-under 204.
Ochoa's bid for a third straight major was set back when she nearly missed on a wedge shot in the rough, went eight holes before making a birdie and had to rally for an even-par 72.
Even so, she was only two shots behind and tied for third with Annika Sorenstam, who shot a 68.
It could have been a dream scenario at Bulle Rock Golf Course with Sorenstam and Ochoa playing together in the second-to-last group. But U.S. LPGA officials, fearful of more fog that delayed the start of the third round by three hours, decided on threesomes for the final round.
That puts Sorenstam in the final group with Lee and Hjorth, her best chance to win a women's major since she won the U.S. Women's Open two years ago. Sorenstam could tie the record with a fourth U.S. LPGA Championship, which would be even more meaningful because she has announced that she will retire at the end of the year.
Ochoa has won the last two majors with a comfortable lead going into the last day. Ten players were within five shots of the lead.
Lee won an U.S. women's tour event in her native South Korea three years ago when she was 19.
"I've been waiting to win the tournament ever since I came to the United States," she said through a translator. "And to win the major tournament here would be really exciting for me. And I'm really looking forward to winning this tournament."
Ochoa had gone 30 holes without a bogey at Bulle Rock until a three-putt on the opening hole.
The big blow came at the par-3 seventh. She pulled her tee shot left of the green into a mangled lie. She tried a flop shot over the bunker, but only nicked the ball and it moved only centimeters. Ochoa made double bogey and suddenly was three shots behind.
A half-dozen players had at least a share of the lead at one point, while temperatures climbed past 38 degrees (100 Fahrenheit).
Brittany Lang, tied for the lead at 10 under, fell back on the 13th when she went from one nasty lie in the rough to another and took double bogey.
Lang finished with a 71 and was in the group at 8-under 208 that included Laura Diaz (69) and Yani Tseng of Taiwan (65). Also in that group was Lindsey Wright, the first play to reach 11 under with a birdie at No. 8, who faulted on the back and shot 73.


Updated : 2021-04-14 14:27 GMT+08:00