Hailed as one of the greatest athletic talents in the world, Lorena Ochoa singlehandedly put Mexico on the map as far as the game of golf is concerned. Born and raised in Guadalajara, Jalisco, the incredible professional golfer played on the U.S.-based LPGA Tour from 2003 to 2010. She broke cultural and gender barriers when she became the first Mexican golfer of either gender to hold the number one spot in the entire world. Her staggering achievements have even earned her recognition at the prestigious World Golf Hall of Fame. Let’s take a look at what all the buzz is about:
An Early Start
She grew up just a stone’s throw from the Guadalajara Country Club, where she took up golf at the young age of five. Clearly a natural, her talents were apparent early on when, at age six, she secured her first state championship. By age seven, she won a national title, followed by the top spot in the World Junior Golf Championship when she was eight. Her game continued to improve, and by the time she reached thirteen years old, she broke a record (which she still holds) when she won the Junior World International Championship and the World Junior Golf Championship five years in a row.
A Blossoming Career
She enrolled in the Sports Psychology program at the University of Arizona in 2000 and immediately joined the golf team, which launched her career in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). She quickly positioned herself as one to watch by winning a record-setting seven tournaments back to back, adding to her total of 12 collegiate tournament titles. By 2002, she began her professional golf career with the Futures Tour, during which she won three tournaments that led to a spot on the LPGA. Five short years later in 2007, she ranked number one in the world and held that place for an unprecedented (and record breaking) 158 consecutive weeks until she retired professionally in 2010. Her extraordinary skills have drawn comparisons to golf legends such as Nancy Lopez and Tiger Woods.
Life Beyond the Golf Circuit
While her professional achievements have garnered endless praise as well as a mind-boggling number of titles and prizes, she has focused her attention on a number of other things since retiring. She proudly hosts the Lorena Ochoa Invitational each year at her home course, the Guadalajara Country Club. Her interest in golf course design has become a passion, which even had her designing potential courses for the olympic games. She began hosting a program on CNN en Español that highlights golf in Latin America. She has been fortunate to share her inspiring story with others through speaking engagements and conferences. But perhaps nearest to her heart is the Lorena Ochoa Foundation which oversees a primary school in Guadalajara called La Barranca, catering to 250 underprivileged students. The foundation also launched a small high school for even further-reaching effect.
It is easy to see why the world has been captivated by the talents of Lorena Ochoa!