Biography of Golfer Lorena Ochoa

Lorena Ochoa
Lorena Ochoa reached the top of women's golf, but retired before turning 30. A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Lorena Ochoa dominated women's golf for several years in the first decade of the 2000s, and played her way into the Hall of Fame. And although she retired from competitive golf before reaching age 30, she reigns as the greatest Mexican golfer ever. Ochoa was born on Nov. 15, 1981, in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Tour Wins By Ochoa

  • LPGA Tour: 27
  • Major Championships: 2

Ochoa's two wins in major championships happened at the 2007 Women's British Open and the 2008 Kraft Nabisco Championship.

Awards and Honors for Ochoa

  • Member, World Golf Hall of Fame
  • LPGA Player of the Year, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
  • LPGA money leader, 2006, 2007, 2008
  • Vare Trophy (scoring leader), 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
  • LPGA Rookie of the Year, 2003
  • NCAA Player of the Year, 2001, 2002
  • Recipient, Mexico National Sports Award, 2001

Lorena Ochoa Biography

Lorena Ochoa was a golfing prodigy in her native Mexico, who turned into arguably the greatest collegiate golfer ever, then compiled a sterling professional career before retiring young to focus on family and charitable work.

Ochoa began golfing when she was five, growing up next to Guadalajara Country Club. By age six, she had already won a state championship, and by seven her first national championship.

In her junior career, Ochoa won the U.S. 8-12 Junior World Championship five straight years; won twice in Japan; won the Colombian championship three times; and the Mexican national championship eight times.

She attended college at the University of Arizona. In 20 collegiate tournaments, Ochoa posted 12 victories and six seconds; she never finished outside the Top 10 or more than three strokes off the lead. In the 2001-02 season, Ochoa won eight of 10 tournaments, including the first seven in a row, and finished second in the other two.

She turned pro in 2002. Playing on the Futures Tour, Ochoa won three of 10 events she entered and led the money list, earning her LPGA Tour card for 2003. And in 2003, Ochoa won Rookie of the Year honors with two seconds, and finished ninth on the money list.

Her first LPGA victory came at the 2004 Franklin American Heritage. She won one more time that year, while setting LPGA Tour records for most birdies, most rounds under par and most rounds in the 60s.

The year 2006 was a breakout season for Ochoa, who posted six victories, including a stirring come-from-behind win at the Samsung World Championship where she outdueled her playing partner, Annika Sorenstam, in the final round. She also won the Tournament of Champions by 10 shots with a record-breaking score of 21-under.

Through the end of 2006, Ochoa was without a major championship to her credit. Earlier in 2006, she fired a 62 at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the lowest round ever scored in a men's or women's major, but lost the title to Karrie Webb in a playoff.

But at The Old Course at St. Andrews, in the 2007 Women's British Open, Ochoa earned that first major title with a 4-stroke, wire-to-wire victory.

She went on to win eight times total in 2007, becoming the first LPGA golfer to cross the $3 million single-season earnings mark, then a couple weeks later crossing $4 million.

Early in 2008, when she won the Corona Championship in Mexico, Ochoa reached the LPGA points threshold for World Golf Hall of Fame membership. However, she never reached 10 years of tour membership, a requirement, at that time, for WGHOF eligibility. After the Hall changed its election process, however, Ochoa was voted in as part of the class of 2017.

In April 2010 Ochoa, only 28 years old at the time, announced she was retiring from full-time competitive golf to focus on starting a family and to dedicate her energies to her charities. Ochoa is heavily involved in promoting youth golf, especially in her home country, has taken part in and led numerous charitable efforts and established a scholarship fund for young Mexican golfers.

From 2008-2016, Ochoa hosted the LPGA's Lorena Ochoa Invitational. In 2017, the tournament became the Lorena Ochoa Match Play, but it was not included in the tour's 2018 schedule.

Lorena Ochoa Trivia

  • When she got her first tour victory in 2004, Lorena Ochoa became the first Mexican-born golfer to win on the LPGA Tour.
  • Ochoa holds LPGA Tour records for most birdies in a season (442), most rounds under par in a season (75), and most rounds in the 60s in a season (51), all set in 2004.
  • Ochoa is the second-youngest LPGA Tour golfer to qualify for the World Golf Hall of Fame via the LPGA points system. She was 26 years, 4 months when she earned her 27th point. Only Karrie Webb (25 years, 7 months) was younger.

Quote, Unquote

  • Lorena Ochoa: "You will never regret making a sacrifice. It will always pay you back. I have more than I ever thought I would."
  • Greg Allen, Ochoa's college golf coach: "As good as Lorena Ochoa is at golf, she is 10 times as good a person off the golf course. Everyone who has ever encountered Lorena loves her."

List of Ochoa's LPGA Tournament Wins

These are the 27 tournaments won by Ochoa on the LPGA Tour, listed chronologically:

  • 2004 Franklin American Mortgage Championship
  • 2004 Wachovia LPGA Classic
  • 2005 Wegmans Rochester LPGA
  • 2006 LPGA Takefuji Classic
  • 2006 Sybase Classic
  • 2006 Wendy's Championship for Children
  • 2006 Corona Morelia Championship
  • 2006 Samsung World Championship
  • 2006 The Mitchell Company Tournament of Champions
  • 2007 Safeway International
  • 2007 Sybase Classic
  • 2007 Wegmans LPGA
  • 2007 Ricoh Women's British Open
  • 2007 CN Canadian Women's Open
  • 2007 Safeway Classic
  • 2007 Samsung World Championship
  • 2007 ADT Championship
  • 2008 HSBC Women's Champions
  • 2008 Safeway International
  • 2008 Kraft Nabisco Championship
  • 2008 Corona Championship
  • 2008 Ginn Open
  • 2008 Sybase Classic
  • 2008 Navistar LPGA Classic
  • 2009 Honda LPGA Thailand
  • 2009 Corona Championship
  • 2009 Navistar LPGA Classic