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Ochoa makes her move

May 18, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Lorena Ochoa said her own little goodbye to Annika Sorenstam at Clifton, N.J.

The two-time defending champion shot a five-under-par 67 and left the retiring Sorenstam behind after two rounds of the rain-shortened Sybase Classic Saturday.

Ochoa will enter today's final round of the now 54-hole tournament with a nine-under 135 total and a two-shot lead over Teresa Lu and Sophie Gustafson. H.J. Choi and Na Yeon Choi -- no relation -- are three behind.

Brittany Lang was four back and Sorenstam, who announced Tuesday that this would be her final year on the LPGA Tour, was five behind after a one-over 73 that included a double bogey after hitting a tree on a par five, and a bogey on her final hole.

"I don't need any more motivation," said Ochoa. "I am pretty motivated to win. And about Annika having all this time from the media, she deserves it. She knows I like to win, and I want to be on the top this year."

Ochoa has won 16 of 23 LPGA events in which she has taken the lead into the final round, including all five this year and six in a row dating to last year.

Ochoa made six birdies and a bogey in a round in which she was three under on four par 5s, making three two-putt birdies.

She moved into the lead by closing her front nine -- Nos. 16, 17 and 18 -- with birdies from 12 and 20 feet and a two-putter from 40 feet.

Sorenstam had three birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey after playing a five-under round Thursday that had no bogeys.

Charles Howell III shot a five-under 67 to take a one-stroke lead over Kenny Perry after the third round of the AT&T Classic at Duluth, Ga. Howell is at 13-under 203 total at TPC Sugarloaf.

Perry shot a 69. David Toms (69), Ryan Palmer (70) and second-round leader Jonathan Byrd (73) were two strokes back at 11 under.

With storms expected this afternoon, the players will tee off in threesomes, starting on both the first and 10th holes. Howell, Perry and Toms will open play at 10:15 a.m. on No. 1.

Andy Bean birdied the final hole, giving him a four-under 68 and a one-shot lead over Mike Goodes (69) heading into the final round of the Champions Tour's Regions Charity Classic at Hoover, Ala. Bean is at 11-under 133.

TENNIS

Sharapova withdraws from Rome semifinal

Maria Sharapova pulled out of the Italian Open semifinals in Rome because of a strained left calf, two days before she is to assume the No. 1 ranking as a result of Justine Henin's retirement.

Sharapova, who was seeded second, said the injury would not affect her preparations for the French Open, which begins next weekend.

"I don't think so. It's a strain," she said. "They said I need maybe three days off before they test it again."

Sharapova had been scheduled to play fourth-seeded Jelena Jankovic. In today's final, Jankovic will play Alize Cornet, who advanced by defeating sixth-seeded Anna Chakvetadze, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.

The 18-year-old Cornet, last year's French Open junior champion, is ranked 34th, but by beating Jankovic could join the top 20 when the rankings are released Monday.

Sharapova said she first felt the injury during the second set of her 6-7 (3), 7-5, 6-2 quarterfinal win Friday over ninth-seeded Patty Schnyder.

Second-seeded Rafael Nadal defeated third-seeded Novak Djokovic, 7-5, 2-6, 6-2, to advance to the final of the Hamburg Masters in Germany.

Nadal will play top-seeded Roger Federer in today's final, a rematch of last year's championship match in which Federer ended Nadal's' 81-match winning streak on clay.

Federer advanced by beating Andreas Seppi, 6-3, 6-1.

The seventh-seeded UCLA women's team advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Division I tournament at Tulsa, Okla., by beating Arkansas, 4-0.

The Bruins (22-5) will play sixth-seeded Florida on Monday. The Gators upset third-seeded Georgia Tech, 4-1.

Freshman Andrea Remynse clinched the victory for the Bruins at No. 4 singles by defeating Nanar Airapetian, 6-2, 6-2.

OLYMPICS

Roach clinches berth on weightlifting team

Melanie Roach has fulfilled her Olympic dream eight years after missing the Sydney Games because of a back injury and less than two years after undergoing surgery.

The 33-year-old mother of three was the top-rated lifter at the U.S. Olympic weightlifting trials in Atlanta, and she claimed one of four female spots allotted to the U.S.

Roach will be joined in Beijing by Carissa Gump, Natalie Woolfolk and Cheryl Haworth.

HOCKEY

Finland beats Sweden to win bronze medal

Finland beat Sweden , 4-0, in the bronze medal game at the world championship tournament at Quebec City behind first-period goals by Antti Pihlstrom and Janne Niskala and 36 saves by Niklas Backstrom.

Canada and Russia play for the gold medal today.

Pihlstrom scored his second goal of the game and fifth of the tournament in the third period and Mikko Koivu scored in an empty net.

Finland won despite being outshot, 36-13. Backstrom was particularly sharp in the third period when the Swedes outshot the Finns, 13-3.

After the game, Finland's Teemu Selanne announced his retirement from international competition, but the Ducks' star left the door open as far as continuing his NHL career.

MISCELLANY

Lyon clinches seventh consecutive French title

Lyon won its seventh consecutive French league title by beating Auxerre, 3-1, at Paris to finish ahead of Bordeaux.

Lyon finished with 79 points. Bordeaux drew, 2-2, at Lens to finish with 75 points.

Fred gave Lyon a 2-0 lead in the 10th minute, and Kim Kallstrom headed in its third goal in the 53rd.

The Los Angeles Riptide lost to the Denver Outlaws, 22-12, at Denver's Invesco Field in their Major League Lacrosse season opener.

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