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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Swinging the same way

    Alejandra Llaneza
    Alejandra Llaneza

    Mexican golf swing coach Rafael Alarcon is the link between the past and the future of Arizona women’s golf.

    The past is Lorena Ochoa. In only two years at Arizona – 2000-2002 – Ochoa put together arguably the greatest career in college golfing. She won 12 of 20 events, including a string of eight consecutive wins – an NCAA record. She was named the NCAA Women’s Golfer of the Year in both of her seasons.

    Now, Ochoa is aiming to become the greatest professional female golfer of all time. By winning the Samsung World Championships this past Sunday, Ochoa clinched her second consecutive LPGA Player of the Year Award in only her fifth season on the tour.

    The Wildcats’ future lies with Alejandra Llaneza. A freshman on the 2007-2008 Arizona squad, Llaneza comes in with high expectations – something that can be expected considering how much she has in common with Ochoa.

    Ochoa and Llaneza were both born and raised in Mexico. Ochoa won eight Mexican National Championships before coming to Arizona; Llaneza won five. Perhaps the most important thing the two women have in common, though, is Alarcon. And the coach says the similarities don’t end there.

    “”Alejandra has the discipline and the work ethic that Lorena does,”” he said. “”Eventually, she’ll have the success she’s looking for.””

    What Alarcon sees in Llaneza’s golf game leads him to believe she can achieve the success her fellow countrywoman has.

    “”Lorena is a lot stronger, but Alejandra is building muscle,”” he said. “”She’ll eventually get the distance she needs, and her short game could be even better than Lorena’s. She has a great desire for the game. She’ll be able to fulfill her dreams.””

    It also helps that Llaneza knows Ochoa well.

    “”We’re good friends,”” Llaneza said. “”She’s always tried to help me. She tells me what to look for and tells me to dream big.””

    It was partly because of Ochoa that Llaneza decided to play collegiate golf at Arizona.

    “”Arizona is big for college golf anyway, but it was a big plus that (Lorena) went here,”” Llaneza said.

    The impact Ochoa – the first Mexican to win an LPGA event – has had on other female golfers from her country extends far beyond school choice, though.

    “”It’s awesome that a girl from Mexico is the greatest female golfer in the world,”” Llaneza said. “”She’s a great role model because she is not only a great athlete, she’s a great person. She is someone (all Mexican female golfers) want to be like.””

    “”The impact Lorena is having in Mexico goes beyond golf,”” Alarcon added. “”She has set a great example in our country, both as an athlete and a person, because she has shown that success can be achieved if you put your mind to it.

    “”Alejandra is a result of that success.””

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