By CARLOS RODRIGUEZ
MORELIA, Mexico – Lorena Ochoa shot a 5-under 68 on Sunday to hold off Norway’s Suzann Pettersen by a stroke in a dramatic final round and win the Corona Championship for the second straight year.
Ochoa, who also won the tournament in 2006, had back-to-back birdies on the 15th and 16th holes to break a tie with Pettersen and finish at 25-under 267.
The charismatic star played without regular caddie Dave Booker, who got hurt playing a soccer match on Saturday and was unable to help the 27-year-old Ochoa around Tres Marias Residential Country Club. She ended up calling on childhood coach Rafael Alarcon to caddie for her.
He was evidently up for the challenge, helping Ochoa win her 26th career title and second this season. It was also Ochoa’s third win in her home country, where she has played 11 of the 13 LPGA events staged there.
South Korea’s Na Yeon Choi finished third at 18 under, Wendy Ward was another shot back and Cristie Kerr and Yani Tseng tied for fifth at 16-under par.
Ochoa, who won last year’s tournament by 11 shots, didn’t have such an easy time on Sunday despite finishing the tournament with the exact same score.
Starting the day with a one stroke lead, Pettersen tied it with a birdie on the third hole. Ochoa recaptured the lead with a birdie on the fourth, and the Norwegian birdied again at the fifth to tie it once more.
Ochoa took a two-stroke lead with birdies on the sixth and eighth, but a bogey at the 11th and Petterson’s birdie at the 12th tied it again.
Ochoa took the lead for good with birdies at No. 15 and No. 16, denying Petterson her first LGPA title since 2007.