Lorena Ochoa of the University of Arizona, Maria Hernandez of Purdue University and Virada Nirapathpongporn of Duke University will be inducted into the WGCA Players Hall of Fame on Sunday evening, December 11, 2016. The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place at Planet Hollywood Resort in Las Vegas, Nev. Ochoa, Hernandez and Nirapathpongporn become the 67th, 68th and 69th members of the WGCA Players Hall of Fame.
Ochoa played two seasons at the University of Arizona before leaving as the most decorated golfer in the school’s history. The Guadalajara, Mexico native finished in first or second place in 18 of the 20 collegiate events in which she competed, which includes a school-record 12 tournament titles. She was named PING WGCA Player of the Year in 2001 following a freshman campaign that saw her set an NCAA record for scoring average as she totaled a mark of 71.33. The following year, she shattered her own record with a scoring average of 70.13 and went on to win her second straight PING WGCA Player of the Year award. Her sophomore campaign also saw her win an NCAA-record seven straight tournaments, the second-longest streak in the history of modern golf. After two seasons with the Wildcats, Ochoa chose to forego her remaining eligibility to become a professional, where she went on to become the top-ranked female golfer in the world for 158 consecutive weeks, an LGPA Tour record.
Hernandez made history while at Purdue University, as she became the program’s first-ever individual NCAA Champion in 2009. She also became the first individual NCAA Champion to hail from the Big Ten Conference and went on to win PING WGCA Player of the Year honors following her historic senior season. The Pamplona, Spain native captured a school-record 13 tournament titles while at Purdue, including the Big Ten Championship in 2008. A two-time Big Ten Player of the Year, she was also a three-time winner of the Mary Fossum Award for the lowest stroke average in the conference. Hernandez then went on to qualify for the LPGA Tour on her first attempt, notching a fifth-place finish at LPGA Q-School in December of 2009.
Nirapathpongporn ended her career at Duke University as the first player in school history to earn WGCA First-Team All-America honors each of her four years. The Bangkok, Thailand native tallied a then school-record 27 top-10 tournament finishes and broke school scoring records for both 18 holes (65-tie) and 72 holes (279). In 2002, she became the program’s second-ever individual national champion with an NCAA-record four-round score of 279 and helped guide the Blue Devils to the team national title. In 2004, Nirapathpongporn was honored as the Nancy Lopez Award recipient, awarded the world’s top amateur, and began her professional career later that year.
About the Women’s Golf Coaches Association
The Women’s Golf Coaches Association, founded in 1983, is a non-profit organization representing women’s collegiate golf coaches. The WGCA was formed to encourage the playing of college golf for women in correlation with a general objective of education and in accordance with the highest tradition of intercollegiate competition. Today, the WGCA represents nearly 600 coaches throughout the U.S. and is dedicated to educating, promoting and recognizing both its members and the student-athletes they represent.
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