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Lorena Ochoa leaves golf to be 'a regular person'

April 23, 2010 |  9:39 am


Lorena Ochoa, the world's top-ranked women golfer, is walking away from the sport to "start a new life."

"I want to be a regular person," Ochoa told a media conference in Mexico City on Friday, three years to the day since she climbed to the top of the LPGA rankings, a spot she held for 157 consecutive weeks. "I'm ready to move on. There are so many other things that I want to do. I'm at peace. I am 100% complete."

Winner of the last four Player of the Year awards on the LPGA Tour, Ochoa first announced her retirement Tuesday on her web page. But she waited until Friday to announce why.

"This is a very special day, full of happiness," said Ochoa, who learned to play golf as a child in her native Guadalajara and went to to become Mexico's top female athlete. "There are so many things that I will miss and this has not been an easy decision to make. But this is my moment and I dreamed of it this way.

"I am leaving the LPGA Tour as the top player so I am proud of myself and satisfied."

Ochoa's retirement will officially begin after next week's Tres Marias championship in Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico. But it won't be complete since she plans to play in the LPGA's fall tournament in Guadalajara, which is named after her. Both tournaments are part of Ochoa's legacy.

Before she joined the LPGA, women's golf had little presence in Mexico. This year the tour will play three championships there.

"I always wanted to finish in Mexico, in front of my home fans," Ochoa said.

Ochoa, 28, has long talked of her desire to start a family -- talk that took on more urgency last December when she married Andres Conesa, chief executive of Aeromexico. Conesa has three children from a previous marriage.

"I want to be at home," Ochoa said. "Close to my family. This is the perfect time to finish my career. I'm at the top. I've never been this happy in my life."

-- Kevin Baxter

Photo: Lorena Ochoa. Credit: Jamie Martin / Associated Press.