ACAPULCO, Mexico -- Annika Sorenstam edged top-ranked Lorena
Ochoa on Saturday in a $15,000-a-hole skins competition at the
oceanside Tres Vidas course, taking home $165,000 to Ochoa's $105,000.
It was the second time in less than a year that Sorenstam has
defeated the Mexican star on her home turf. In September, the Swede
took the first $270,000 skins event between the two at the same
windswept course -- and for the same amount: $165,000.
Ochoa, who overtook Sorenstam as the world's top female golfer
in April, did well on the fairways, but struggled on the greens,
losing to Sorenstam on the fourth extra hole with the final $45,000 at stake.
Pressure mounted at the start, with the players halving the
first five holes with pars.
Sorenstam, who returned to competition three weeks ago after
neck and back injuries, was steady and confident, pulling ahead on
the 157-yard sixth hole, at the ocean's edge, with a par for
Ochoa, who had played neck-and-neck with Sorenstam, fell apart
on the windswept green, overshooting a long putt and narrowly
missing a drop onto the beach below. She missed a second, shorter
putt and settled for a bogey.
Sorenstam took the next hole, a par 4, with a birdie. Then Ochoa
came back with a birdie on the par-4 ninth to take $30,000.
Yet Sorenstam seemed destined for victory at the start of the
back nine, winning a total of $120,000 by the 10th hole on a
birdie. But Ochoa rallied after that, winning with birdies on the
13th and 15th holes for a total of $105,000.
Sorenstam struggled, landing on the beach just short of the
waves on the 12th hole and putting her ball in the water on the
The event came down to the 18th hole, a 395-yard, par 4 pocked
with bunkers. The two were forced to replay the hole four times,
each making par. The fifth time seemed to be headed for another
halve, but Ochoa missed a short putt, her ball circling the hole
before popping out for a bogey.
Despite the intense competition, the two former University of
Arizona players acted like old friends, sometimes chatting as they
walked the fairway and complimenting each other's play at the end
of the game.
Sorenstam played down her win, saying "anything can happen" in
"It was very, very close," she said, adding that it was
"tough to keep up with Lorena."
Ochoa was gracious, inviting Sorenstam to return for a rematch.
"Hopefully, we can do it again next year," she said. Sorenstam
accepted her offer.
Despite her loss, Ochoa said she was happy with her game and
hoped to soon bag her first major tournament.
"I hope this year is the year of the majors," she said.