HSBC Women’s golf sets up Sorenstam-Ochoa showdown

February 19th, 2008 - 5:24 pm ICT by admin  

Honolulu, Feb 19 (IANS) With former World No.1 Annika Sorenstam of Sweden registering her comeback victory at the Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) Open Sunday, all eyes are now set on a thrilling encounter at next week’s HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore where she meets reigning No.1 Lorena Ochoa of Mexico. The prospect of Sorenstam, who has confirmed herself to be fit from her neck problem, meeting the Mexican has created quite a buzz as the players shifted base from the North Shore of Oahu island to Ko Olina in the south for this week’s Fields Open.

Sorenstam, 37, herself said she was happy to be back at the course after her last year’s demoralising struggle with a ruptured disc.

“It’s really gratifying to see that the preparation I’ve done has paid off and now I really want to put 2007 behind me,” the Swede said.

“I think it’s going to be easier for the rest of the year for me knowing that I’m swinging great and knowing the desire is there,” she added.

Sorenstam’s win was a popular one amongst her fellow players, who have watched one of the their legends fall just short of her own ridiculously high standards ever since the neck injury started to bother her in mid-2006.

On the other hand, Ochoa, 26, dominated last year, winning eight times.

However, the two players will meet over Tanah Merah’s Garden Course, a layout that demands an immaculate short game, and the sense of anticipation stretches all the way up to the sponsors themselves.

“The recipe is right for this to become one of those wonderful moments in sport that you are proud to have been there for, which I think is a sign of the growing importance of Asia as a venue for international sports,” said HSBC’s Head of Sponsorship. Giles Morgan.

“For women’s golf this could be the time; the time when you say I was there when Annika and Lorena met at the top of their games. Then again, there are dozens of other golfers capable of lifting the trophy.”

Ochoa herself is already salivating at the prospect of stiff competition from Sorenstam.

“This is going to be a fun year,” she said before the start of the season. “I want to make sure I stay at the top. I want to win tournaments, and why not some majors?”

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