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Golf star Lorena Ochoa swings strong in face of Mexico drug war

Lorena Ochoa teed off in her first PGA Tour event since retiring nearly a year ago, her star power lending a needed boost to sports events in violence-wracked Mexico.

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Lorena Ochoa of Mexico hits off the eighth tee during the second round of the Ginn Tribute golf tournament in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, in this June 1, 2007 file photo.

Tami Chappell/Reuters/File

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Nearly a year after retiring as the most celebrated golfer in Mexican history, Lorena Ochoa teed off Wednesday in her first Mayakoba Golf Classic, her star power lending a needed boost to sports events in violence-wracked Mexico.

Hailing from a country where golfers, especially women, were invisible next to soccer icons, the four-time LPGA Player of the Year became the first Mexican golfer to rank No. 1 in the world – and she kept that ranking for three consecutive years while also winning over Mexican fans with her unassuming manner and charity work.

Her tireless promotion of golf in Mexico now has an added advantage: Ms. Ochoa’s participation in Mexico’s only PGA Tour event “provides us with a very powerful tool to show the sense of safety that we have in Cancún,” says Jesús Almaguer, CEO of Cancún’s Tourism Promotion Trust, a corporate ally of the Mayakoba Golf Classic held in nearby Playa del Carmen, near Cancún.

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