Sorenstam's round took a hit when she triple-bogeyed the par-4 fifth hole.
Fred Vuich/SI
Saturday, March 01, 2008

SINGAPORE (AP) — Top-ranked Lorena Ochoa increased her lead to seven strokes Friday in the HSBC Women's Champions, shooting a 7-under 65 at Tanah Merah in her second tournament round of the year.

``It was great from my driver to the putting. I kept hitting my second shots really close and gave myself a lot of birdie chances, so I was very consistent,'' Ochoa said.

The Mexican star, an eight-time winner last season, is making her first start of the year after skipping the World Cup and LPGA Tour's opening two events in Hawaii.

Ochoa had eight birdies - including four in a row on the front nine. She has a 13-under 131 total on the Garden course.

``I just got on a birdie run,'' Ochoa said. ``On these greens, it's all about putting the ball on the right of the greens.... I've been hitting it really good, especially having good tee shots.''

Annika Sorenstam had five birdies in her bogey-free round of 5-under 67, giving her a 6-under 138 to share second place with American Paula Creamer and South Korea's Kim In-kyung.

``It was just good golf,'' Sorenstam said. ``I just needed one good putt to kick-start the great finish and I was just very solid throughout the round.''

Sorenstam is healthy and confident again after an injury-shortened 2007 season in which the Swedish star was winless for the first time since her rookie season in 1994. She won the season-opening SBS Open this month in Hawaii for her 70th LPGA Tour title.

Creamer had four birdies and three bogeys for a 1-under 71 while Kim had four birdies and an eagle on the par-5 ninth hole, but triple-bogeyed the 13th on top of an earlier bogey.

Creamer, who won the Fields Open last weekend, was unsatisfied.

``It was just not my day,'' Creamer said. ``I let old swing habits get brought back to the golf course and not the things that I'd been working on.''

Creamer blamed a bogey on the par-4 16th on feeling drained near the end of the round.

``I got way too cute with the chip and then I missed a 2 1/2-footer for par, a horrible bogey,'' Creamer said. ``These rounds have been so long that you're out there and it's kind of draining. I mentally let it slip on that hole.''

Former No. 1 Karrie Webb of Australia had a 70 to be among a trio at 5-under 139, along with Stacy Prammanasudh of the United States (69) and Sweden's Linda Wessberg (71).

American Natalie Gulbis and South Korean Lee Jee-young are at 4-under 140.

With a $2 million purse and $300,000 top prize, the HSBC Women's Champions is the richest women's golf event in Asia.

The inaugural 78-player event features 18 of the top 20 players in the world.

You May Like