Ochoa turns in major feat with 62 at Nabisco

Friday, March 31, 2006

Lorena Ochoa had only 100 or so people following her first round Thursday in the Kraft Nabisco Championship, which was fine with her. She was able to hear that familiar voice, her father urging her to attack the flags and stick it close.

And she obeyed, knocking down flags on a calm morning in the desert, piling up birdies until she was in the record books with a 10-under 62 that gave her a four-shot lead over 16-year-old Michelle Wie.

Wie got all the attention and matched her best score on the LPGA Tour, a bogey-free 66.

Ochoa gladly settled for a record score at Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage, Calif., matching the lowest round in an LPGA major championship to take a big lead in the first major of the year.

"I thought to myself, 'This is a good start to the tournament.' I didn't think it was going to be this good," Ochoa said. "Everything was easy, and everything was so clear. It was fun to be out there."

The average score was 73.7, which made Ochoa's round even more stunning.

Defending champion Annika Sorenstam glanced at the leaderboard when she was playing the sixth hole, saw the "10" next to Ochoa's name, and couldn't believe it.

"We had to look twice. We didn't know if she was on her 10th hole or she was 10 under," Sorenstam said after making birdie on the last hole for a 71. "This golf course is not easy. She made it look easy."

Stacy Prammanasudh had a 67. Angela Park -- a 17-year-old amateur who plans to turn pro Monday -- followed with a 68, and Juli Inkster, Paula Creamer, Morgan Pressel, Seon Hwa Lee and Dalhousie Golf Club touring professional Karen Stupples opened with 69s.

PGA Tour

Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his bid for a third BellSouth Classic title -- and made it clear that he's in top form for the Masters.

Mickelson tied the tournament course record, shooting a 9-under 63 to take a one-shot lead over Gavin Coles in the first round of the final tuneup for Augusta.

-- From wire reports

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