RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif.—That Lorena Ochoa would win the LPGA’s first major of the year on Sunday was a foregone conclusion among most Tour watchers. Having won three tournaments earlier this year, as well as the Ricoh Women’s British Open last year, Ochoa walked the fairways of Rancho Mirage’s Mission Hills Country Club with the calculated poise of a Tiger (name drop intended) and the confidence of a seasoned champion.
And with her decisive five-shot victory over late-charging Annika Sorenstam (71-70-73-68) and Suzann Pettersen (74-75-65-68) to win the Kraft Nabisco Championship, Ochoa (68-71-71-67) quelled any lingering doubts about her ability to close a major championship with a commanding golf performance and a will to dominate.
Ochoa was the only player in the field to achieve a bogey-free final round and the only player to break par all four days.
“You can say, for sure, I'm a better player right now and I have more control, I think, over things,” said the world’s No. 1 player. “I feel more comfortable in certain situations. You want to feel like a champion and you don't want to make bogeys at the end of the stretch. I wanted to finish with birdies and I was able to do that.”
Angela Park (77-71-73-71), Yani Tseng (72-71-75-74) and Candie Kung (73-74-75-70) — three players with ties to the Southland — finished the tournament bunched in the middle of the pack at four-over par. Park grew up in Torrance, Tseng lives part-time in Beaumont and Kung attended USC.
Amateur Maria Jose Uribe, who plays for UCLA, finished at 12 over, while Bruins alumna Jane Park missed the cut by two strokes. Palm Desert resident Nicole Castrale, a USC alum, missed the cut by one stroke.
The LPGA’s next tournament is the Corona Championship in Morelia, Mexico. Ochoa, a native of Mexico, won it in 2006.