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Ochoa seeks third straight Phoenix title

other Updated: Mar 26, 2009 12:53 IST

AFP
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World number one Lorena Ochoa is gunning for a third-straight Phoenix crown this week as the LPGA returns Stateside after forays to Thailand, Singapore and Mexico.

Ochoa, who won the tournament in Thailand in February, is one of seven past champions entered this week.

That list also includes Britain's Laura Davies, who won four straight titles from 1994-97.

Ochoa said defending her title at a new venue, the Papago Golf Course, was a slightly different feeling from returning to the scene of previous triumphs.

"You picture yourself one way, at one golf course and this is really a new place for all of us," she said. "I love to have a chance to defend my title for a few years in a row. I'm ready.

"I played yesterday and today," she added. "It's a fun course. It's short because it has been so dry with really hard greens that will compensate. I'm excited to be here."

The 1.5 million-dollar tournament is the last tuneup before the first women's major of the year, the Kraft Nabisco in Rancho Mirage, California, April 2-5.

With that in mind, Ochoa said her season was progressing on schedule.

"I like very much the way I started the season. I made some changes and it's always nice to see that its working. Changing my putter was something big. I feel more comfortable now, week by week I feel better."

Rookie Jiyai Shin, who won the HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore last month, is in the field along with Angela Stanford, winner of the SBS Open at Turtle Bay this season and Pat Hurst, who won her first title in more than two years in Mexico last week.