February 29, 2008 / 10:23 AM / 11 years ago

Golf-Ochoa pulls seven strokes clear in Singapore

By Peter Rutherford SINGAPORE, Feb 29 (Reuters) - Mexico’s Lorena Ochoa left her rivals trailing at the $2 million HSBC Women’s Champions tournament in Singapore on Friday, carding a seven-under 65 in the second round to extend her lead to seven strokes.

Sweden’s Annika Sorenstam clawed her way into contention with a five-under 67 for a share of second place with American Paula Creamer and Kim In-kyung of South Korea on six under par.

World number one Ochoa was flawless in the first round and looked set for another bogey-free round on Friday until the par-five 13th, where she pulled her drive left into the bushes and sent her third from the tee into the trees on the right.

However, the Guadalajara-born 26-year-old kept her cool, playing her way out of trouble to escape with a bogey six.

“Well I don’t want to repeat that bogey anytime,” Ochoa told reporters.

“I don’t really know what happened.

“I didn’t feel comfortable over the ball for the first time, so I did the job of moving back and not hitting the shot, but then again, I think I just tried to make a really quick swing and missed the ball to the left.”

Ochoa, who is making her season debut in the Lion City, said she had worked really hard on her game in the off-season but it was pleasing to play so well in her first competitive outing.

“I was happy yesterday because it’s one thing practising hard every day and another thing to come to the course in a competitive round, playing under pressure and being able to hit shots close to the pin and make putts.”

Swede Sorenstam, who had won five consecutive Player of the Year awards until Ochoa usurped her in 2007, was pleased to have built up some momentum and said there was still a lot of golf to be played before someone claimed the title.

“Anything can happen,” Sorenstam said.

“It’s always nice to get a good round and get the momentum going. There’s no doubt Lorena is playing well so I’ve got to do the same again to catch up.”

Creamer stayed in contention with a one-under 71 but the Californian was far from happy with her second round performance.

“I feel that I played horribly,” the American said.

“I never hit a solid shot all day. I don’t know what it was.” (Editing by John O’Brien)

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