Nov. 16, 2001
TUCSON, Ariz.-Arizona sophomore women's golfer Lorena Ochoa will be honored next week in Mexico City as winner of the 2001 "Premio Nacional al Deporte" or National Sports Award, given by the Mexican government to the best Mexican athletes of the year.
Ochoa will travel to Mexico next week, where she will be honored by Mexican president Vicente Fox at a ceremony with the other winners of the award. Four individuals, including three women, were named recipients of the "Premio Nacional al Deporte" in 2001. Olympic gold-medal weightlifter Soraya Mendivil was named winner of the award in 2000.
"This is a big award for me and for golf in Mexico," Ochoa said. "I'm really proud to be honored with this and I'm thankful for my parents' support and love."
By winning the award, Ochoa accomplishes a trio of feats. At 20 years old, she becomes the youngest person to ever receive the Premio Nacional al Deporte. Ochoa is also the first golfer to be named winner of the award and also is the first person from Guadalajara to win the honor.
Arizona recently completed its fall season at the Auburn Tiger-Derby Invitational where Ochoa captured her fourth consecutive individual tournament championship. The 5-foot-7-inch standout has already equaled her win total from her freshman campaign with four victories in the fall season.
Top-ranked in the Golfweek/Sagarin performance index, Ochoa currently has a stroke average of 70.27, more than a stroke below the collegiate record of 71.56 which she set last year. Her three-round total of 10-under-par 206 at the Oregon State Invitational in October set a new Arizona record for individual 54-hole tournament score.
Arizona is out of action until it opens the spring season when Ochoa and the Wildcats travel to Palos Verdes, Calif., to compete in the TRW Regional Challenge on Feb. 11.