Ochoa aims for seventh LPGA win of 2008
The Wegman’s event also extends an invitation to Wie
ROCHESTER, N.Y. » Lorena Ochoa wants to climb to base camp on Mount Everest someday. What she won't do is try for the summit.
"I have many things I like to do, and I got to be alive!" she said with a gentle laugh.
Hawaii's Michelle Wie, who is ranked 200th in the world, received a sponsor exemption.
If Ochoa sets her mind on something, she invariably gets there. At age 13, she told her golf coach, "I want to be the best." At 26, the No. 1 player in women's golf also keeps her ambitions in check, vowing to quit the LPGA circuit in five or six years.
Opening her defense of the Wegmans LPGA today, Ochoa will aim to take advantage of one of a dwindling number of chances to outplay Swedish star and close friend Annika Sorenstam, who is retiring at season's end.
With six wins already in 2008, two short of her tally last year, "I think I have the potential ... to really break some records and make history," Ochoa said without a hint of arrogance.
One obvious target is winning at least nine tournaments this year.
"We have a couple of majors coming. I don't want to put numbers in. How about if I just win all of them?" she said yesterday.
Ochoa has a clear edge on Sorenstam at Locust Hill Country Club in suburban Rochester, a traditional, tree-lined course with compact greens. While Sorenstam's best finish in four tries here was second place in 1996, Ochoa was runner-up in her rookie year in 2003 and won in 2005.
Contenders in the $2 million tournament include rookie Yani Tseng of Taiwan, whose victory at the LPGA Championship two weeks ago dashed Ochoa's chances of capturing a third consecutive major, and Cristie Kerr, who defends her U.S. Women's Open title next week at Interlachen Country Club in Edina, Minn.