Ochoa set to strike

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:11 AM ET

EDMONTON -- Lorena Ochoa is definitely earning her stripes.

She has that Tiger Woods mystique where everyone at a golf tournament, whether they're holding a ticket stub or a club, knows where she is and what she's doing.

And everyone can hear the footsteps when she makes a charge.

"Well, yeah," said Juli Inkster, who'd be feeling a lot more comfortable about sharing a one-shot lead at the CN Canadian Women's Open if Ochoa wasn't breathing down her neck. "Even if she's one-under par one day, the next day she's six or seven-under. She's just a great player."

That's exactly the way it went down yesterday. Tied for 17th when the day began, Ochoa displayed the form that's won her 10 tournaments in the last two years with a bogey-free 65 that sent chills up and down the leaderboard.

She's on the move. And anyone else with eyes on the trophy better get it going themselves, or get out of the way.

"She's got the momentum going right now," said Inkster (68-66-134), who is trying to close the deal on a tournament she won back in 1984. "She's on fire. She's kind of like the way Annika was three or four years ago when you knew coming in you were going to have to have your A game to compete with her."

There will be plenty of capable challengers.

Co-leader Shi Hyun Ahn, who aced the 158-yard 16th, posted back-to-back 67s. Texan Kim Hall (68-67) and first-round leader Laura Diaz (65-70), are tied with Ochoa at seven-under 135.

Karrie Webb shot up to six under after a course-record 64 left her at 136, and seventh place Paula Creamer has been hanging around the top all week (68-69-137).

Still, Ochoa likes her chances.

"I play to win every tournament, and I know I can win, and that's what I feel, that's why I'm here," she said. "What I really want to do is put myself in good position on the weekend. I like being in contention, and I just love where I am right now. I like my chances and my position."

And why wouldn't she? Fresh off a British Open championship, the world No. 1 is at the top of her game, stiffing her approach shots to kick-in range.

"When I woke up, I told my brother I'm going to shoot 6-under, he told me, 'No, no, only 4,' " she grinned, almost embarrassed to admit she called her shot. "I knew I needed to play good to catch up."

Calgary's Jade Polonich was last at 24-over, while Cindy Pasechnik was 5-over, two shots better than Michelle Wie. They all missed the cut.


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