Angela Stanford won the Bell Micro LPGA Classic earlier this season.
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Monday, November 17, 2008

GUADALAJARA, Mexico (AP) — Annika Sorenstam nearly holed her third shot on the par-5 18th, then lipped out a 9-foot birdie try to give Angela Stanford a one-stroke victory Sunday in the inaugural Lorena Ochoa Invitational.

Sorenstam, making her second-to-last start before she leaves the LPGA Tour, holed out from a bunker for birdie on the par-3 16th to get to 12 under - a stroke behind Stanford - but settled for pars on the final two holes. On the 18th, her wedge shot rolled just by the side of the cup as it spun back down the green.

``I certainly had a chance today, but Angela played very well,'' Sorenstam said. ``As you know, she really didn't make too many mistakes and made a few birdies there both on 10 and what was it, 11. I was tracing her all day, but I never gave up, kept on fighting and I had a chance to force a playoff. ... Obviously, I was disappointed with that, but overall I thought it was a great tournament and I really tried.''

Stanford two-putted for par on 18 before Sorenstam missed her birdie try.

``I had done such a good job all day of staying in the moment and kind of prepared myself for the playoff,'' Stanford said. ``I would have been a little nervous in that playoff just because it's Annika. ... There was a moment there where I thought, `Hmmm, I'd rather not have a playoff.'''

Stanford, the Bell Micro LPGA Classic winner in September, closed with a 3-under 69. She had a 13-under 275 total on the Guadalajara Country Club course and earned $200,000 for her third LPGA Tour title.

``I couldn't control what she was doing and I couldn't control what anybody else was doing. So really felt like I had kind of grew up out there a little bit today, again, and really just stayed in the moment the best I could and hit some quality shots.''

The Texan has five straight top-five finishes.

``It just continues to give me confidence and give me the belief in what I'm doing and how I'm playing right now,'' Stanford said. ``And going into next year, hopefully this will push me into the top 10 in the world. I hope.''

She saved par with a 10-foot putt on No. 17.

``That putt, now that I won at 13 under, that putt won the tournament,'' Stanford said. ``Because, I think if I would have missed there, the momentum would have shifted a little bit to Annika, and Brittany was already in at 12, I believe. So that would have put three of us at 12.''

Sorenstam, the 72-time LPGA Tour winner coming off a playoff victory two weeks ago in China in a Ladies European Tour event, also finished with a 69. She tied for second with Brittany Lang, the former Duke star who shot a course-record 65.

``I had some really good shots coming in,'' Sorenstam said. ``The bunker shot on 15, I thought, was very good, a nice save and then, of course, the hole out on 16 was a magical shot. I always collect shots and I call them my library shots, and that's the shot I'm going to keep in my library for bunker shots, that was one of my all-times.''

She didn't see her near-miss on her third shot on 18.

``I heard the crowd and I hit it exactly where I wanted it hit it a little to the right,'' Sorenstam said. ``I heard the crowd, but I just didn't know how close or where it was and tried to look at the screen but that wasn't quick enough.''

Ochoa shot a 70 to tie for 14th at 4 under.

``I want to congratulate Angela on her victory,'' Ochoa said. ``She has been playing very well this year. We have been good friends for some time and I'm very happy that she won this event.''

She had a busy week on and off the course.

``Wish I'd been in contention to win the tournament, but this has been a week where I've learned a lot, both as a player and a tournament hostess,'' Ochoa said. ``I think that the upcoming events will be easier. This week was a bit complicated, too many emotions going on, but I'm sure this will make me a better player.

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