- Jason Sobel, Senior Golf Writer
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How good is Lorena Ochoa? Even on weeks without an LPGA tournament, she still takes a major step forward.
When the newest version of the Rolex Rankings -- the world ranking of women's golf -- were released on Monday morning, they showed that Ochoa had passed Annika Sorenstam, becoming only the second top-ranked player since the list was instituted on Feb. 20 of last year.
"Today is one of the most special days in my life. I am extremely happy about becoming No. 1 on the Rolex Rankings and the No. 1 player in the world, something that I have dreamed about since I was little," Ochoa said. "It's really special because I am at home, and I am able to celebrate the news with the people in my country. This is a huge accomplishment for me and I recognize and appreciate the support of my family, sponsors and management team."
Ochoa, 25, made a move on the charts more than one week after failing to claim her 11th career victory and second this year. A win at the Ginn Open would have meant an instant rise to the top of the rankings, but despite leading on the back nine in the final round, Ochoa succumbed to champion Brittany Lincicome after making two double-bogeys and two bogeys over the final six holes.
After losing by one stroke, Ochoa said of the No. 1 ranking, "I didn't even think about it. I was just worried about the tournament."
It wasn't until after an LPGA bye week that the numbers showed Ochoa to have a greater average point total than Sorenstam. Using the ranking's two-year rolling calendar, Ochoa has earned 642.19 total points in 50 events for an average of 12.84, while Sorenstam has 546.22 points in 43 events for an average of 12.70.
Don't expect Sorenstam to reclaim her previous spot anytime soon. She withdrew from the Ginn with a ruptured and herniated disk in her back. An original report had her missing about four weeks, but there have been rumors that it may have been an optimistic prognosis.
She has since declared her intention to focus on major championship competition.
"I will play less, prepare more and really go for the big competitions," Sorenstam told Swedish broadcaster SVT last week.
Karrie Webb, Morgan Pressel and Cristie Kerr continue to round out the top five.