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Vegas, Baby!
JIM GORANT
April 24, 2006
Lorena Ochoa hits the jackpot, finally
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April 24, 2006

Vegas, Baby!

Lorena Ochoa hits the jackpot, finally

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Twice this season Lorena Ochoa entered the final round of a tournament with the lead only to lose in a playoff. So she couldn't have felt comfortable with her two-shot edge in the Takefuji Classic last Saturday when she reached the final hole of Las Vegas Country Club--a par-5 that gave her playing partners a chance to force a tie. But unlike at the SBS Open and the Kraft Nabisco Championship, where she was caught by Joo Mi Kim and Karrie Webb, respectively, Ochoa went on to make birdie, giving her a 19-under-par 197 and a three-shot victory, the fourth win of her career. "Those playoffs really taught me how to focus when you are under pressure," Ochoa said. "What happened [at the Kraft] made me a better player," proving the adage, What happens in Mission Hills, pays in Vegas.... The wire-to-wire win moved Ochoa to the top of the LPGA money list ($474,051).... Rookie Seon Hwa Lee birdied five of the last six holes for her third runner-up finish in six starts.

Major Move

For the first time in 22 years the final two rounds of the McDonald's LPGA Championship (June 8--11) will not appear on CBS. The network had asked tournament organizers if, starting in 2007, they could wrap up the event by 3 p.m., so CBS could squeeze in final-round coverage of the PGA Tour's Stanford St. Jude Championship, a new addition to its schedule. Instead, McDonald's tournament director Herb Lotman negotiated an immediate move to the Golf Channel, which is already scheduled to air the first two rounds of the women's major.

ALSO ...

?Three-time major winner Larry Nelson received 65% of the vote to earn admission into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Entering with Nelson will be Henry Picard, who was selected in the veteran's category by the World Golf Foundation board of directors selection committee. The induction ceremony will be on Oct. 30. ?Still no word on what will become of Paul Azinger and Nick Faldo in the wake of ABC's decision to drop the PGA Tour after this season, but the man who hired the duo is moving on. Mark Loomis, who produced golf and football for ABC, will produce games at the NFL Network. ?European bookies have Phil Mickelson as a 40-to-1 shot to complete the Mickelslam.

? Alan Shipnuck's Power Rankings appears every Tuesday at SI.com/golf.

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