'Perfect day' for Ochoa

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 12:09 PM ET

The conditions were perfect for scoring during Round 1 of the CN Canadian Women's Open at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club.

Lorena Ochoa was nearly perfect herself.

With the sun shining brightly, no breeze to speak about and not a drop of rain, the LPGA's best didn't bring the 6,443-yard, par-72 layout to its knees, but the star-laden leaderboard indicates this could be an exciting weekend.

Defending champ and world No. 1 Ochoa picked up right where she left off at last year's Open, shooting a 6-under 66 for a one-shot lead.

The woman in second is no slouch, either. World No. 2 Annika Sorenstam had eight birdies -- two more than Ochoa -- but also three bogeys in her 5-under 67.

Hee-Won Han, Meena Lee and Se Ri Pak sit another stroke back.

Ochoa, who has six victories this season and more than $2.2 million in earnings, could be unstoppable if she repeats her first-round magnificence.

Ochoa hit 13-of-14 fairways, all 18 greens in regulation and just for good measure had 30 putts.

"It was the perfect day," said Ochoa, who birdied the 495-yard, par-5 No. 18 to take the lead.

"I said to my caddie on the second or third hole, 'Let's take advantage of this beautiful day.' There were blue skies, no wind and the greens were a little soft. I think that's why you see some of the low scores. But as (the greens) get dry and we have a little wind, it's going to be a different story."

That's why Ochoa was quick to caution this was only one day.

"I think this course is pretty hard," said Ochoa. "If you put the U.S. Open as No. 10, the hardest we play all year, this is probably the No. 8 ... I think because I didn't get in trouble, it looks easy with six birdies. But you need to be careful. It can be really quick and it can be really fast that you can make three bogeys out there. You have to play smart golf."

Sorenstam, like Ochoa, also started with a flourish.

The 37-year-old Swedish sensation shot 31 on her first nine holes -- in her last Canadian Women's Open -- after starting on the No. 10 tee.

HAPPY RETURNS

While Sorenstam hasn't played at this event since it was held at the Point Grey Golf and Country Club in Vancouver in 2003, she's happy to be back in Canada and would love to close out her career with a victory in an event some players consider a major.

Sorenstam, who announced earlier this season she will step away from the game to concentrate on her personal life at the end of this year, said the first-round key for her was putting.

"I would say the difference on the front and the back nine is the greens," said Sorenstam. "They're not as undulated. But I had almost I want to say a career-putting round. I had 10 putts (on the front nine). I can't remember the last time I had 10 putts in nine holes. That's what you need to score here.

"These greens are quite tough. I hit a few good shots around 10-12 feet and made them and that's really the key. Compared to the last few months, (I've had) opportunities, but I have not been able to convert them. It seemed like they were rolling in from everywhere.

"That helps to keep the momentum and when you have the momentum you have the pep in your step and it makes it a lot more fun."


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