PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Top-ranked Lorena Ochoa has certainly learned how to win.
She claimed her third straight LPGA title with a five-stroke victory in the Safeway Classic on Sunday.
Ochoa shot a 71 in the final round for a 12-under 204 at Columbia Edgewater Country Club and her sixth overall victory of the season.
With each win, Ochoa has become more comfortable.
“I’m better now just paying attention on my own game, and you know, have goals of making birdies in the next few holes, and having a strategy insteady of worrying what the other players are doing and getting to much in the other game,” she said. “So I’m doing better and it really helps to just really concentrate and be able to play.”
In-Bee Park (64), Christina Kim (69), Sophie Gustafson (75) and Mhairi McKay (72) all finished at 7-under 209.
Ochoa, who is from Mexico, won the Canadian Women’s Open in Edmonton, Alberta, the previous week. Before that, she won the Women’s British Open for her first major title.
The last player to win three straight tournaments was Annika Sorenstam in 2005. Sorenstam won four straight in 2001, matching the LPGA record.
“They keep saying, ‘You should play, you can do four in a row,”‘ said Ochoa, who is taking a month off. “But it’s time for me to go home. I’m very happy with my three wins. And this year has been very special to me.”
Ochoa dedicated her latest title to her mother, whose birthday was Sunday.
“I told her I’d win the tournament for her,” Ochoa said. “I’m glad I did. It was a nice present.”
Ochoa, playing with Gustafson and McKay, was followed by a sizable gallery, including a sponsor’s group of some 150 fans from Guadalajara. Many waved the Mexican flag.
The large crowd following Ochoa and her assured win prompted tournament officials to let fans watch from the fairway when Ochoa was on the 18th green.
Ochoa’s day didn’t start well, with a pair of bogeys on the first three holes. But then she settled down.
“I really enjoyed myself, and I was able to just have control over things,” she said. “I handled the pressure well.
She played mostly at par on the back nine, missing a couple of opportunities to widen the margin. After a 7-foot birdie putt lipped out on the par-5 12th hole, Ochoa flipped her putter in disappointment.
Gustafson, who started the day a shot back of Ochoa and stayed close through the front nine, had trouble on the back and double-bogeyed the par-4 17th hole. McKay also double-bogeyed the 17th.
Ochoa bogeyed the hole.
Gustafson has not won on the LPGA Tour since 2003. Her best finish this season was a tie for fifth at the Safeway International. McKay has not won on the tour.
“I didn’t end up playing that good all day, and I played awful toward the end,” Gustafson said.
The best round of the final day was 64, shot by Park, a rookie from South Korea. She started the day at 1-over. Park made five straight birdies during one stretch.