Ochoa gets in Ottawa Hunt

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:00 AM ET

Ottawa golf fans will have a front-row seat for what could be one of the final battles between the woman who has dominated the game for the last 10 years and the woman who looks to own it for perhaps the next 10.

World No. 1 Lorena Ochoa confirmed yesterday she will defend her CN Canadian Women's Open title at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club Aug. 11-17, joining world No. 2 Annika Sorenstam, who confirmed to Sun Media three weeks ago she would be back in Canada for our national championship for the first time in five years. Sorenstam won it in 2001.

KERR, MALLON BACK

Sorenstam will retire from full-time competitive golf at the end of the year. The 37-year-old will likely make her last appearance in Canada at the Hunt. By that point in the season, the number of matchups left between Ochoa, 26, and Sorenstam will be rapidly dwindling.

Also confirming their participation yesterday for the third Women's Open in Ottawa were 2006 champion Cristie Kerr, Meg Mallon (2000 at Royal Ottawa and 2004) and Meena Lee (2005).

So the field -- like the rough -- just keeps getting deeper.

This year's Open is on course to better last year's turnout in Edmonton, where 45 of the top 50 teed it up.

"We'd love to get 50 out of 50. Barring unforeseen circumstances like injuries, I think it's possible," said tournament director Sean Van Kesteren, who was on hand yesterday with other RCGA officials, sponsors and members of the local organizing committee for the tournament's media day at the Hunt.

Ochoa has won 17 times on the LPGA Tour -- including four straight earlier this season and 6-of-11 -- and has $10.4 million (all terms US) in career earnings, including $1.8 million this year to top the money list.

Also committed for the $2.25-million Canadian Women's Open are the rest of the top five: Suzann Petersen (No. 3), Paula Creamer (No. 4) and Karrie Webb.

Van Kesteren said a sponsor's exemption has been extended to Michelle Wie, but it has not yet been accepted.

The Hunt Club will play at about 6,400 yards for the tournament, which was last held there in 1994, when Martha Nause won with a 9-under.

Information about tickets and opportunities for corporate hospitality is available at cncanadianwomensopen.com or at 1-866-571-LPGA.


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