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Golf - 02. March 2008.

Mother Nature Can't Stop Ochoa's Victory March


Tim Maitland in Singapore

Despite the intervention of lightning and torrential rain, Lorena Ochoa completed a devastatingly emphatic victory in the inaugural HSBC Women's Champions.

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SINGAPORE - MARCH 02: Guy Harvey-Samuel the CEO of HSBC Singapore presents the winners trophy to Lorena Ochoa of Mexico after the final round of the HSBC Women's Champions at the Tanah Merah Country Club on March 2, 2008 in Singapore. (Photo by Getty Images for HSBC)



The world number one cruised to an 11-shot victory with a final round of 68 that took her to an impressive 20-under-par 268, her 18th career win on the LPGA and the biggest winning margin of her career.

In the process she dominated a gaggle of in-form players, starting with world number two Annika Sorenstam, the winner of the season-opening SBS Open, who finished runner-up with a 71 for a nine-under-par four-round total of 279. Third was Paula Creamer, winner of the Fields Open, who was two shots further back.

"I came here prepared to win… and I did it!" exclaimed the 26-year-old Mexican.

"I've really enjoyed it and hopefully it's the start of a great year for me."

Ochoa's victory in her first start is even more stunning given the context of the build up, with Sorenstam's first LPGA victory since recovering from a neck injury asking questions as to whether Ochoa's place at the top of the game was merely by default.

"She has answered the question of who is the best player in the world in the style of one of the greats of the game. We've crowned a true champion in Lorena. This week she has shown herself to be a class above a world-class field," said Giles Morgan, HSBC's Head of Sponsorship.

"The fact that the players she has beaten have already shown winning form this year is further proof of what the HSBC Women's Champions format delivers – a champion of champions," he added.

The style of Ochoa's victory naturally tempts one into using the adjective "Tigeresque". After all Sorenstam's wintertime statements that she was targeting Ochoa's world number one status, she made a definitive statement with the most emphatic victory on the LPGA since Annika's 2002 Kellog-Keebler Classic win. .

"It's always good to be compared with Tiger we all want to be like him. It's an honour to be compared with him and I want to go after him," she said, before repeating her earlier promise to give her long-term support to the HSBC Women's Champions.

"I've had a great experience inside and outside the golf course. Everything was terrific. The condition of the course was beautiful. We are really excited and really happy. For sure we will all be back, not only next year but for many, many years to come," she declared.


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