Lorena Ochoa dominated women's golf for several years, and played her way into the Hall of Fame. But she retired from competitive golf before reaching age 30.
Date of birth: Nov. 15, 1981
Place of birth: Guadalajara, Mexico
Lorena Ochoa Pictures
LPGA Tour Victories:
• Kraft Nabisco Championship: 2008
• Women's British Open: 2007
Awards and Honors:
• LPGA Player of the Year, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
• LPGA money leader, 2006, 2007, 2008
• Vare Trophy (scoring leader), 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
• LPGA Rookie of the Year, 2003
• NCAA Player of the Year, 2001, 2002
• Recipient, Mexico National Sports Award, 2001
• Lorena Ochoa: "You will never regret making a sacrifice. It will always pay you back. I have more than I ever thought I would."
• Greg Allen, Ochoa's college golf coach: "As good as Lorena Ochoa is at golf, she is 10 times as good a person off the golf course. Everyone who has ever encountered Lorena loves her."
• When she got her first tour victory in 2004, Lorena Ochoa became the first Mexican-born golfer to win on the LPGA Tour.
• Holds LPGA Tour records for most birdies in a season (442), most rounds under par in a season (75), and most rounds in the 60s in a season (51), all set in 2004.
• Ochoa is the second-youngest LPGA Tour golfer to qualify for the World Golf Hall of Fame via the LPGA points system. She was 26 years, 4 months when she earned her 27th point. Only Karrie Webb (25 years, 7 months) was younger.
Lorena Ochoa Biography:
Lorena Ochoa was a golfing prodigy in her native Mexico, who turned into arguably the greatest collegiate golfer ever, then compiled a sterling professional career before retiring young to focus on family and charitable work.
Ochoa began golfing when she was five, growing up next to Guadalajara Country Club. By age six, she had already won a state championship, and by seven her first national championship.
In her junior career, Ochoa won the U.S. 8-12 Junior World Championship five straight years; won twice in Japan; won the Colombian championship three times; and the Mexican national championship eight times.
She attended college at the University of Arizona. In 20 collegiate tournaments, Ochoa posted 12 victories and six seconds; she never finished outside the Top 10 or more than three strokes off the lead. In the 2001-02 season, Ochoa won eight of 10 tournaments, including the first seven in a row, and finished second in the other two.
She turned pro in 2002. Playing on the Futures Tour, Ochoa won three of 10 events she entered and led the money list, earning her LPGA Tour card for 2003. And in 2003, Ochoa won Rookie of the Year honors with two seconds, and finished ninth on the money list.
Her first LPGA victory came at the 2004 Franklin American Heritage. She won one more time that year, while setting LPGA Tour records for most birdies, most rounds under par and most rounds in the 60s.
The year 2006 was a breakout season for Ochoa, who posted six victories, including a stirring come-from-behind win at the Samsung World Championship where she outdueled her playing partner, Annika Sorenstam, in the final round. She also won the Tournament of Champions by 10 shots with a record-breaking score of 21-under.
Through the end of 2006, Ochoa was without a major championship to her credit. Earlier in 2006, she fired a 62 at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the lowest round ever scored in a men's or women's major, but lost the title to Karrie Webb in a playoff.
She went on to win eight times total in 2007, becoming the first LPGA golfer to cross the $3 million single-season earnings mark, then a couple weeks later crossing $4 million.
Early in 2008, when she won the Corona Championship in Mexico, Ochoa qualified for the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Ochoa is heavily involved in promoting youth golf, especially in her home country, has taken part in and led numerous charitable efforts and established a scholarship fund for young Mexican golfers. In April 2010 Ochoa, only 28 years old at the time, announced she was retiring from full-time competitive golf to focus on starting a family and to dedicate her energies to her charities.