On this day in Latinx history: Lorena Ochoa outduels Annika Sorenstam
The 2006 Samsung World Championship came down to the final nine holes
Lorena Ochoa had faced many challenges in her life — climbing the 14,200-foot Nevado de Colima mountain in Mexico at age 11 and learning English by pulling all-nighters at the University of Arizona. But none was as daunting as trying to take down Annika Sorenstam, who had dominated women’s golf, at the 2006 Samsung World Championship.
For the previous five seasons, Sorenstam had claimed the Player of the Year award and the LPGA money list title, but in 2006, Ochoa found herself atop the leaderboard with more than $2.3 million in earnings, compared with Sorenstam’s $1.9 million-plus.
On Oct. 15, 2006, the pair faced off in a final-round duel. At one of the LPGA’s biggest tournaments, Ochoa stepped up big time, shooting a 7-under-par 65 to defeat Sorenstam (70) by 2 shots. Ochoa finished with a 16-under 272 to give the Mexican-American her fifth victory of the year.
Heading into the final round, Ochoa trailed by 3 shots. Things still didn’t look good after the completion of the first nine, when Ochoa was 2 shots back.
Her deficit didn’t last long, as she sank a 60-foot putt for birdie on No. 10. With Sorenstam making bogey, the players were tied.
After using an 8-iron shot to 5 feet on No. 11, Ochoa birdied for the lead and played keep-away for the remainder of the round. Ochoa did not make bogey in her last 36 holes.
When she won, her family and friends draped her in a Mexican flag.
“Luck, it’s important to have it,” Ochoa told The New York Times. “Get a couple of breaks, good bounces. When you play with Annika, you’ve got to do all of those, make a long par, have good driving, and I did that.”