LYTHAM ST ANNES, ENGLAND // The world No 1 Lorena Ochoa's last chance to win a major this season comes at the women's British Open starting on Thursday at Royal Lytham. The 27-year-old has won twice this year, in Thailand and her native Mexico, but has not become the same dominant figure as her predecessor at the top of the game, the heavily pregnant Swede Annika Sorenstam. Ochoa gets married in November and another big change in her life this year is that she has a new caddie in Greg Johnson.
The last time the American bagman was at Lytham, at the 2006 women's British Open, it was his final event caddying for Michelle Wie. "Greg caddied for (seven-times major winner) Juli Inkster for about 12 years and I feel he can help take my game to the next level," said Ochoa, who won her two majors with Englishman Dave Brooker on her bag. "I feel my game is good coming into the week and I would love to win this championship again."
Ochoa won the women's British Open at St Andrews in 2007 and her second major came at last year's Kraft Nabisco Championship. "This has always been a very special championship for me," she told reporters. "I enjoy the challenge of links golf and winning at St Andrews was one of the highlights of my career." Ochoa, who finished in the top 20 when the championship was last staged at Lytham in 2006 when it was won by the American Sherri Steinhauer, had a disappointing build-up when she failed to make the top 30 at last week's Evian Masters in France.
The title was won by Ai Miyazato and this could be another week for the Japanese player to make her mark. Last year, Miyazato, 24, came close to landing the British Open at Sunningdale when she was involved in an enthralling final-day tussle until she double-bogeyed the 18th and had to settle for fifth place. The winner was the South Korean Shin Ji-yai. "It feels so good to have finally won on the LPGA Tour," said Miyazato.
"Now I can hopefully play more relaxed golf and win many more times." *Reuters