PORTLAND, Ore. -- Top-ranked Lorena Ochoa earned her
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 for her sixth victory of the
season. In-Bee Park (64), Christina Kim (69), Sophie Gustafson (75)
and Mhairi McKay (72) all finished at 7-under 209.
"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."
The last player to win three straight tournaments was Annika
Sorenstam in 2005. Sorenstam won four straight in 2001, matching
the LPGA record.
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.
"I think it's hard to realize [the third straight] right now,"
she said. "But every week I play to win and that's why I'm here."
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.
"I always play for my country, and I'm glad they were here, so
they got to share it with me," Ochoa said.
Ochoa dedicated her latest title to her mother, whose birthday
"I told her I'd win the tournament for her," Ochoa said. "I'm
glad I did. It was a nice present."
After the tournament in Portland, Ochoa was heading home. One of
the reasons for the break is her brother's wedding.
Ochoa's day didn't start well, with a pair of bogeys on the
first three holes. But then she settled down.
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
But 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
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.
McKay said the key is to maintain focus while playing with
"You have to forget what she's doing and realize she's going to
play well," McKay said. "If anyone plays well, they have a
chance. But she's just consistently playing well, week in and week
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, playing
behind Ochoa's group after starting from the back nine.
"I really didn't feel like I was making five in a row, because
we had to wait for every shot," she said, adding, "I think it
helped me because I definitely played well today."