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Published: Monday, 7/6/2009

Farr Notebook: Ochoa satisfied with showing

BLADE STAFF

The No. 1-ranked player in the world was not part of the drama that determined the winner of the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic, but Lorena Ochoa left Highland Meadows Sunday content with her finishing round of 68 and her tie for eighth place, four shots behind Farr champion Eunjung Yi.

"Anytime you are in the top 10, it is good," Ochoa said after completing a steady four rounds in the tournament. She shot 67-68-67-68 for a 270 total, 14-under par.

Ochoa, who has won 23 LPGA events since the start of 2006, said conditions were right for a lot of birdies.

"We had beautiful weather, and that's why scores were so low," said Ochoa, who was philosophical about not being able to chase down the leaders. "It's just golf. You can't be good all of the time. I'm in a little transition now."

With attention now turning to this week's U.S. Women's Open in Bethlehem, Pa., Ochoa said she feels the Farr was good preparation for that major tournament.

"My game is in a good position right now," Ochoa said. "If I make as many pars next week, I will be in good shape."

WRIGHT TIME: Australian Lindsey Wright missed a short downhill putt on No. 18 that would have given her a closing round of 64, equaling the best score of the day at the Farr. But after starting the final round 10 shots out of the lead, Wright said she was pleased to finish in a tie for eighth, just four shots back.

"I knew everyone was playing lights-out, and you could make birdie on every hole," said Wright, who closed with a 6-under round of 65, needing just 25 putts. "I knew I would have to shoot 10 or 12 under. I was playing aggressively. It's nice to see hard work paying off."

FARR HONOR: Highland Meadows Golf Club, home of the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic for the last 21 years, yesterday presented Toledo icon and tournament namesake Jamie Farr a lifetime honorary membership at the conclusion of this year's event.

After receiving the honor, Farr jokingly asked if the club would waive the minimum member fees for the first three months.

"Sure, Jamie, whatever you want. It will be free," Dave Rectenwald of Highland Meadows said. "You deserve it."

SE RI PAK: Five-time Farr champion Se Ri Pak finished in a four-way tie for 21st in this year's event, seven shots behind Yi. Pak shot a closing round 66 and finished 11-under for the tournament.

JUST DUCKY: That unusual obstacle along the edge of the ninth fairway at Highland Meadows throughout the Farr tournament was the No. 99 ride of stock car driver Carl Edwards. The black Ford Fusion was parked just out of play where it could get the maximum television time during the Farr.

The car, which Edwards drove to a 26th-place finish at Richmond earlier this year, is draped in logos for Edwards' sponsors, and Aflac gets top billing. Kevin Rich, a show car driver for Roush Fenway Racing, Edwards' team, brought the car here from North Carolina in an enclosed trailer. Rich said Aflac wanted the additional exposure the car would get placed in a high traffic area at the tournament. He added that unlike many of the NASCAR show vehicles on display around the country, the Edwards car is the real deal.

"They're seeing a real race car, with a full-blown racing motor," Rich said.

NO REPLAY: A year ago, Nicole Castrale fired a final-round 64 to give eventual champion Paula Creamer a run for her money in the Farr Classic.

She started out yesterday as if destined for an instant replay. Castrale, the runner-up in '08, parred No. 1 and then birdied three straight to get to 13-under for the tournament. But she could only shave one more stroke the rest of the way, finishing with a 67 that left her at 14-under and tied for eighth.

"I was hopefully trying to beat [64]," she said. "I figured I had to go even lower. It was a good start, but then I got on the par train."

TOO MUCH RISK: The LPGA moved the tees up on No. 13, trying to entice some golfers to grip it, rip it, and go for the green. The hole, which normally measures between 322 to 335 yards during the Farr, was shortened to 290 yards yesterday. Alas, there were few takers.

Michelle Wie, one of the big hitters, said she was "very much" tempted but kept the driver in her bag.

The reward proved not to be worth the risk. A shot right of the green would be in a grove of trees.

-Dave Hackenberg and Matt Markey



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