HSBC Women’s Champions Golf: Ochoa, Wie, Shin head stellar field in Singapore

SINGAPORE: World number one Lorena Ochoa and US star Michelle Wie head a stellar cast at the HSBC Women’s Champions tournament teeing off

Thursday as they try to wrestle the crown from defending champion Shin Ji-Yai. Ochoa said she was hoping to reclaim the title she won in 2008 when the tournament was first held in Singapore despite her performance last week where she failed to defend her crown at the Honda PTT in Thailand. “I have good memories from two years ago. Also, last year, I played good,” Ochoa, 28, told reporters.

It was a good tournament for me. So you know it’s important I think to try to bring back those memories and play good. So I’m excited to try tomorrow and I’m going to give myself a good chance for Sunday. I really would like to win.”

The Mexican, who finished tied for 18th place last week at the LPGA season opener in Thailand, believes she is getting closer to her peak condition which should boost her confidence on the course.

“Well, I think for sure I would like to play better than what I did last week. But at the same time, you never know how the scores will be,” said Ochoa. “I don’t feel too comfortable with my second shots. I still have to get used to a routine and trying to get it close to the hole and trying to make birdies… and trying to improve your golf swing. But I feel good. I’m happy. I feel like my swing is in a better position so hopefully we can start making birdies and just be consistent.”

World number two Shin, who won the title last year with a two-stroke victory, is also feeling good about her chances in the $1.3 million tournament. “I have really real memories in here so I feel really happy about myself and confident too,” said Shin, who was Rookie of the Year last year and the first South Korean to finish top of the LPGA money list. Shin said putting woes were largely to blame for her poor showing last week in Thailand where she finished tied for 22nd spot with Wie.

“My problem was the putting speed. I couldn’t get comfortable with my speed on the greens. Actually I need more practice for putting.” Wie, making her first appearance at the tournament, says she is getting back in form and ready to mount a challenge.

“I definitely felt really rusty last week but it’s a work in progress,” said Wie, referring to her performance in Thailand. “It’s the second tournament of the year… I am working into it. I am feeling pretty good about it,

hopefully I can do well.” Others to watch at the four-day stroke play event include Japan’s Ai Miyazato who won in Thailand last week, world number three Suzann Pettersen from Norway and world number four Anna Nordqvist of Sweden. afp

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