Michelle Ellis teeing off in the last round of the Open.
Michelle Ellis teeing off in the last round of the Open.

Ellis looks on as Ochoa wins Open

CASINO'S Michelle Ellis was a frustrated bystander as Mexico's Lorena Ochoa won the Women's British Golf Open yesterday. Ellis, a runner-up at the British Open in 2002, failed to qualify for this year's historic event at Scotland's St Andrews course, which was the first time a ladies event had been held at golf's spiritual home. It was very disappointing for her," Northern Star golf columnist and Ellis' coach, Peter Jaeger, said. "Like anybody with a historical sense, Michelle was desperate to play at St Andrew's. But she hasn't had a great six months." Ellis, who rose as high as 24 in the rankings at one stage, has now slipped outside the top 100. She's missed a few cuts in a row," Jaeger said. People I've been speaking to said she has been striking the ball well, but maybe she is just trying to hard. Unfortunately in golf, sometimes it just won't go into the hole." At the start of the year, Ellis finished 18th at the Australian Open at Royal Sydney and she then followed it up with a sixth at the Australian Masters at Royal Pines. However, her encouraging early form has deserted her on the US tour. The Florida-based Ellis is now preparing for the Canadian Open. Meanwhile, it was all celebration for 25-year-old Ochoa who clinched her first major title with a four-shot victory. She carded a final round 74, led from round one and set out with a six-shot lead on a day of relative calm but the occasional heavy shower. She finished on five under par and won the STG160,000 ($A380,900) first prize by four shots from Sweden's Maria Hjorth and South Korea's Lee Jee-Young. Ochoa, who replaced Annika Sorenstam as the world number No.1 in May, had won 12 regular LPGA titles, including three this year. Now she has validated her status as the best woman golfer by claiming her first major. Australian Karrie Webb finished 12 shots behind Ochoa after a final round 75.



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