Ochoa targeted for coast event

A CHANGE of tournament dates could prove a bonanza for the ANZ Ladies Masters with Mexican world No.1 Lorena Ochoa being courted to make her first appearance at the Gold Coast tournament in seven years.

Ladies Masters founder and promoter Bob Tuohy is hoping Ochoa will tee up now that the event is being played in March instead of February - a more appealing timeslot for the 27 year-old two-time major winner.

Ochoa has taken over the mantle of golf's No.1 female player from recently retired Annika Sorenstam and is already re-writing some of the champion Swede's records.

A few weeks ago Tuohy and Australian Ladies Professional Golf (ALPG) were fighting to save the women's summer tour because of a potential clash with the LPGA tour.

But with the backing of the Ten Network and the support of the Ladies European Tour (LET) the Ladies Masters at Royal Pines will now be played from March 4-7, while the Women's Australian Open at Melbourne's Commonwealth GC has been pushed back to March 11-14.

“The changes could end up being an advantage and we're currently in negotiations with Ochoa's management group,” revealed Tuohy, who has a great track record in securing the world's best players, including three-time winner Sorenstam.

She is expected to play in two events in Thailand and Singapore in February leading into the ANZ Ladies Masters which will now be played during a break in the LPGA tour.

Tuohy already has young major winner Anna Nordqvist and fellow Swede Sophie Gustafson locked away as drawcards along with local stars Karrie Webb, Katherine Hull, Sarah Kemp, Nikki Campbell and a host of other Australians performing well on overseas tours.

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