(AP) — Before taking a much-deserved vacation, Lorena Ochoa stopped by Palm Desert, Calif., on Tuesday where she was given a key to the city in advance of the Mexican star defending her title in October at the Samsung World Championship.
That’s where it all started for Ochoa.
Her comeback victory in the California desert over Annika Sorenstam essentially wrapped up LPGA player of the year honors, and she’s been on a roll ever since. Her victory at the Safeway Classic on Sunday was her third in a row and sixth of the year; no one else on the LPGA Tour has won more than twice.
Ochoa broke the LPGA single-season earnings record with $2,891,590, about $28,000 more than Sorenstam won in 2002 when the Swede captured 11 titles in 23 starts. Ochoa has played 19 times this year, and is a lock to become the first $3 million woman in golf, with at least four tournaments left on her schedule.
“Last year was a very important year for me, kind of a breakthrough,” Ochoa said. “I won six tournaments, and I thought it would be hard to hit that mark this year, but that was my goal. Right now, I’m just letting it happen and enjoying it. I know there are too many players behind me, so I need to keep working hard.”
Actually, no one is in her league right now.
The only one who can catch her for LPGA Tour player of the year is Suzann Pettersen, who would have to win six times and have Ochoa miss every cut to catch her.