Ochoa rallies to take lead

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/g/golfgeneric.jpg' class='caption'> Lorena Ochoa shot a 9-under 64 to tie Julieta Granada and Silvia Cavalleri for the third-round lead in the Corona Morelia Championship on Saturday.

Updated: April 30, 2007 15:38 IST
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Lorena Ochoa shot a 9-under 64 to tie Julieta Granada and Silvia Cavalleri for the third-round lead in the Corona Morelia Championship on Saturday, the Mexican star's first tournament as the No 1 player in the world.

A day after falling five strokes behind with a 74, Ochoa had eight birdies, an eagle and a bogey before thousands of fans who cheered her every move on the hilly Tres Marias course, about 175 miles (280 kilometers) from her Guadalajara hometown.

The 64 matched the US LPGA Tour record on the Jack Nicklaus-designed course where Ochoa won last year. Granada had a 67, and Cavalleri shot a 69.

"I started the day happy and with a lot of will to play and a lot of positive energy. I think that has a lot to do with it," said Ochoa, who took the top spot in the rankings from the injured Annika Sorenstam on Monday.

"I kicked off well and got a good rhythm going. The big difference is how you start the play. Yesterday, I started with bogeys and missed birdies. Today, I kicked off with birdies."

Granada, the young Paraguayan who finished second to Ochoa last October at Tres Marias, birdied her final three holes.

Granada said she wasn't intimidated by Ochoa's vocal fans.

"It doesn't make any difference to me. As a player you don't hear anything," she said. "As they say, 'Golf shows that she who plays best wins.'"

Cavalleri, the Italian who started the day tied for first place, had six birdies and two bogeys to stay at the front of the pack.

"It motivates me to defeat the No. 1 player, but my major motivation is to win my first tournament on the LPGA. That will be much better," said Cavalleri, who birdied the 18th.

Pat Hurst (68) and South Korean rookie Na On Min (67) were tied for fourth at 12 under at the course that sits about 6,300 feet (1,920 meters) above sea level.

Stacy Prammanasudh, the Fields Open winner in Hawaii in February, shot a 70 to join Hye Jung Choi, Kate Golden, Teresa Lu, Sarah Lee, Angela Park and Yu Ping Lin at 9 under.

Ochoa topped the world rankings with 12.84 points, 0.14 points ahead of Sorenstam, sidelined by a ruptured disk in her back. The news sent shock waves in Mexico and President Felipe Calderon even made a congratulatory call to Ochoa.

The Mexican star has often struggled in her tournaments in her homeland, but said she's learning to enjoy the attention and pressure.

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