'Great thrill' ... Ochoa helps CN VP

DON BRENNAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 12:08 PM ET

A year after presenting Lorena Ochoa the winner's cheque at the 2007 CN Canadian Women's Open, Stan Jablonski received a form of payback yesterday: Golf tips.

"She told me to bring my hips through faster instead of swinging them," Jablonski, CN's senior vice president, sales, said after playing in a group with the world's No. 1 ranked female golfer in the Championship Pro-Am at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club. "I told her I'm going to have to get new hips."

A 15-handicap at The Royal Montreal Golf Club, Jablonski's good day at the Hunt Club ended in textbook style, with a drive, fairway wood, chip and putt for birdie, net eagle on the 18th hole.

"It was six inches, but it felt like an awfully long tap-in," he said. "That's what I will be celebrating (last night)."

The five hours on a golf course with Ochoa, meanwhile, is something he'll cherish for much longer.

"It was a great thrill," said Jablonski. "She's a wonderful lady. Very, very pleasant to be around. Very gracious.

"She took time to read putts, give tips and chat about the tournament, about life. By the time you're finished 18 holes with her, you think you've just met your best friend."

With six wins and Top 8 finishes in 12 of 14 starts this season, Ochoa is considered the hands-down favourite this week. The way she played yesterday only added fuel to that belief.

However, Jablonski stopped short of predicting he'd be slipping top prize money of $337,500 to her on Sunday.

"She's so steady, so consistent ... she hits the ball so far, she reads greens like I've never seen before and she has a heck of a short game," said Jablonski. "I think she's tough to beat and she's at the top of her game. But there are 48 of the top 50 players here. If somebody gets hot out there, who knows. But Lorena is the defending champion ..."


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