As Lorena Ochoa walked off the 18th green, a Spanish-speaking fan shouted encouragement, with one recognizable word prominently featured: "Manana!"
Ochoa was left hoping for a better tomorrow after shooting a 3-over-par 74 Saturday that sent her plummeting from atop the leaderboard into a tie for fifth place at 10-under and five shots back after the third round of the Michelob Ultra Open at Kingsmill.
"I don't know what happened," said Ochoa, the world's No.1 player who came into the tournament tied for second on the LPGA Tour after playing 16 of 23 rounds under par this season. "I didn't hit the ball bad. I lipped out maybe four putts today. A couple of them were about six feet, so I was a little frustrated."
Her round — the only over-par round among the top-10 players and her worst round of the year — came after scores of 64 and 65, which set the tournament's 36-hole record.
She got off to a steady start, making the turn at 1-under for the day, but bogeyed two of her first four holes on the back nine before coming unraveled with a double bogey on the par-4, 362-yard 14th hole.
"For sure, it wasn't a good day," said Ochoa, who last shot 3-over in November at the ADT Championship and last shot 3-over on the weekend in August at the Canadian Women's Open. "I don't know. It was just different. In the morning I was feeling good, and I got a good start with two pars and a birdie, and then the next couple of drives I put in trouble, on No. 9 and No. 10."
She bogeyed the 10th and dropped another shot on the 13th before disaster struck on 14, when an 8-iron from 135 yards sailed over the green.
"I misjudged the wind," Ochoa said. "I thought it was playing a lot longer, and I hit it 3 yards left, thinking it would stay on the green like Cristie (Kerr) did. But it was over the green. I had a really bad drop, an even worse lie."
While Kerr, who shot 5-under Saturday and is tied for the tournament lead with Lindsey Wright at 15-under, parred the hole, Ochoa's troubles were just beginning. Her first chip attempt rolled back down to her feet as she watched in disgust. She then left a second chip short of the green before finally getting within 6 feet and making the putt for double bogey.
Ochoa swung her club angrily after the failed first chip, but said she was thinking, "Nothing. Nothing really. Just what am I going to do with this next shot? I was upset because of the lie, and I guess that's the way. Sometimes you get good breaks, (sometimes) bad breaks, and you have to accept them."
Ochoa recovered to par her way in, leaving a 20-foot birdie try on 18 right of the hole. After tapping in, she waved to the crowd and summoned a hint of smile before exchanging hugs with Kerr and third group member Song-Hee Kim, whose 68 left her in fourth place at 13-under, a shot behind In-Kyung Kim.
On her way to sign her scorecard, Ochoa, who's finished second three times but never has won at Kingsmill, acknowledged her fan's positive words, then tried to take them to heart.
"I'm going to tell myself tomorrow is a new day," she said. "I'm in the top 10, a few shots from the lead, and I'm going to try to play good tomorrow."
Saturday matinee at Kingsmill: Bye-bye birdie for Ochoa A hole-by-hole look at Ochoa's topsy-turvy first three rounds at Kingsmill:Hole123456789OUT101112131415161718INTOTPar435434544364443454343571Round 1334424444324432455233264Round 2325425535344442344333165Round 3435335444355444654343974Key: circle for birdie, square for bogey, double square for double bogeyCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times