REUNION, Fla. (AP) — Lorena Ochoa became the first LPGA Tour player in 45 years to win four tournaments in consecutive weeks.
Ochoa shot a 3-under 69 in the final round of the Ginn Open on Sunday and beat rookie Yani Tseng by three strokes for her fifth victory in six starts this year.
Ochoa trailed early in the final round, but went ahead for good with three straight birdies beginning at No. 8. She finished 19 under and became the second player to win four times in as many weeks.
Mickey Wright did it in 1962 and 1963. Kathy Whitworth (1969) and Annika Sorenstam (2001) also won four consecutive events, but both took a week off during their runs.
Sorenstam (2004-05) and Nancy Lopez (1978) hold the tour record with five straight victories in events entered, but neither of those came in consecutive weeks.
Ochoa will give her colleagues a chance to take the spotlight next week in South Florida. She will sit out the Stanford Invitation Pro-Am and will try to make it five straight in two weeks in Tulsa, Okla.
Ochoa said all week how tiring it was to play four straight events, especially since last week’s victory came in her native Mexico and was filled with visits from friends and family members, plus countless media and sponsorship requests.
But even with a little less energy, she was better than everyone else on tour.
“She’s proven that she’s out top player,” Paula Creamer said. “She’s set that mark pretty high.”
Ochoa was up a stroke to begin the final round, but Yeng pulled ahead with a birdie-birdie start. Ochoa had several chances to move back in front, but the 26-year-old star just missed birdie putts on Nos. 5, 6 and 7. She finally grabbed the lead with a 10-foot birdie putt on No. 8, then followed with two more on the next two holes.
Tseng couldn’t keep pace on the back nine, bogeying three of the final six holes and allowing Ochoa to cruise to her latest win.
Ochoa tapped in for par on No. 18, then raised both arms in celebration.
It was her 10th win in her last 15 tournaments, dating to last year. She won eight times in 2007 and has been even better to start ’08.
She opened with an 11-stroke victory in Singapore, defended her Safeway International title with a seven-stroke romp, won the season’s first major by five shots and then went wire-to-wire last week in Mexico and won by 11.
All five of her victories have come with her leading to start the final round, giving her plenty of confidence that there wouldn’t be a repeat of what happened at this tournament last year.
Ochoa started the final round tied for first, then her game collapsed in the wind. She was 6 over on the final six holes, missed a 10-foot bogey putt on No. 18 that would have forced a playoff and finished with a 77.
This time, not even a hint of meltdown.