Lorena Ochoa closed out the 2007 LPGA Tour season with eight wins, including a $1 million first-prize finish at the season-ending ADT Championship. And she began 2008 the same way, winning the first event she played in. There's no way around the fact that Lorena, 26, dominates her sport. And yet when you meet her for the first time, you experience a remarkable warmth and modesty. When you meet her for the second time, and she remembers not only your name but also the slightest detail from the last time you spoke, you understand just how exceptional this young woman is.
Lorena and I share a special connection to our Mexican heritage. While I was raised in the States, Lorena grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico, and is now one of the most beloved figures in her country. Lorena not only inspires a new generation of golfers in Mexico every time she steps onto a course but also gives back in ways that extend far beyond the game of golf.
Early in her career, Lorena recognized the opportunity to use her fame to improve education and reduce drop-out rates in her country. She first created a self-named foundation and subsequently funded an elementary school called La Barranca in her hometown. The school, which uses music, theater and other non-traditional learning tools to keep students engaged, will soon be joined by an adjacent high school.
As a professional golfer, Lorena will continue dominating and breaking records for years to come. As a humanitarian, she has already left an indelible mark. Just ask any one of the children at La Barranca who squeal in delight when Lorena's name is mentioned.
Lopez was inducted into the LPGA Hall of Fame in 1987, when she was only 30
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