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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, April 24, 2010

Ochoa emotional in farewell to LPGA


Associated Press

Her voice breaking and eyes watering, Lorena Ochoa said goodbye to golf.

She made her farewell yesterday at Mexico City after a career in which she reigned as No. 1 for three years, won two majors and 27 tour victories and was honored for four straight years as the LPGA Tour's Player of the Year.

Ochoa, 28, made her surprise announcement Tuesday. Yesterday, she filled in the details.

She will step away as an active player after the Tres Marias Championship next week in Morelia, Mexico. She left the door slightly ajar to play a few more tournaments, including her own Lorena Ochoa Invitational each November in her hometown of Guadalajara.

But a full-blown return seems unlikely. She wants to raise a family she was married in December to Aeromexico chief executive Andres Conesa and run her charity foundation.

"What I am trying to say is that the door is open in a way," she said. "The opportunities may come to play one or two tournaments in two years or three years but not a full season. No."

Ochoa spoke of the demands of the game the tough schedule, the difficulties of staying No. 1. But she broke down when it came time to actually utter the words that she was leaving.

"Today begins a new stage," she said, her voice choking, her eyes misting. "Today is the most special day of my career. Every career has a beginning and an end. Ours has come."

GOLF

ZURICH CLASSIC INTERRUPTED BY RAIN

Dark clouds rolled in hours before the rain started at the Zurich Classic yesterday at Avondale, La. However, even the brisk winds before the storm did not seem to hamper those who teed off early.

Lightning forced play to be halted at 12:57 p.m. (Central time), and heavy rain continued for hours. Play was officially called for the day at 5:21 p.m.

By the time play was halted, 47 players had finished their rounds, and three Lee Janzen, Alex Cejka and Brian Davis were atop the leaderboard at 7 under after two rounds.

Janzen and Davis both shot 66s and Cejka shot a 67. Greg Chalmers had a 68 and was one stroke back at 138.

ELSEWHERE

More golf: A pair of Buckeyes were doing their best to hold off a team with five majors between them at the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf in Savannah, Ga. John Cook and Joey Sindelar, who have known each other since their days at Ohio State, shot a better-ball 10-under 62 to share the first-round lead with Mark O'Meara and Nick Price in the Champions Tour event. Fred Couples and Jay Haas were a stroke back along with Blaine McCallister-Bob Tway and Brad Bryant-Lonnie Nielson.

• Defending champion Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand shot a 5-under 68 for a share of the lead with Argentina's Tano Goya at 8 under in the suspended second round of the fog-disrupted Ballantine's Championship at Jeju Island, South Korea. The tournament has been cut from 72 to 54 holes.

Tennis: Second-seeded Robin Soderling of Sweden cruised into the Barcelona Open semifinals by beating Eduardo Schwank, 6-2, 6-3. Soderling will play Thiemo de Bakker of the Netherlands, who upset third-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. Earlier, Fernando Verdasco and David Ferrer won to set up an all-Spanish semifinal.

College basketball: Virginia Tech assistant Bill Courtney was hired as Cornell's basketball coach, succeeding Steve Donahue. Donahue took the Boston College coaching job two weeks ago after 10 seasons with the Big Red.