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Lorena Ochoa to open golf academy in Mira Loma

April 2, 2010 |  6:48 pm

Ochoa_300 Lorena Ochoa, the No. 1 women’s golfer in the world, unveiled plans Friday to open the Lorena Ochoa Golf Academy at Goose Creek Golf Course in Mira Loma.

The Riverside County facility, scheduled to open this summer, is similar to the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim in that it will incorporate golf instruction as well as educational facilities. Ochoa will occasionally teach at the academy as will her swing coach, Rafael Alarcon.

Ochoa, who is from Mexico, said she is targeting the large Latino population in Southern California -- a group she said has little exposure to golf.

“We’re trying to reach out to all the Latinos and make sure we help them as much as we can and give them the opportunity to learn the game of golf,” Ochoa said. “What we do for a living and the opportunity we have is amazing and … I want to share that as much as I can.”

Ochoa's foundation already runs a facility in Mexico and said she hopes to expand into other areas of the U.S. and other countries, but said Southern California was an obvious choice for the first academy in the U.S.

"I think the Latinos deserve the opportunity," she said. "There are a lot of challenges, but we are ready for those. We are getting a small start, a good start from the ground and then [we can] build something big."

The foundation is putting on a fund-raising tournament Tuesday at Industry Hills Golf Club.

-- Peter Yoon

Photo: Lorena Ochoa follows through on a drive at No. 3 during the second round of the LPGA Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills Country Club on Friday. Credit: Stephen Dunn / Getty Images