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Mexico's Gaby Lopez thrilled for hero, mentor, friend Lorena Ochoa

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RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Gaby Lopez couldn’t be happier for Lorena Ochoa.

The LPGA Hall of Fame committee announced on Tuesday that Ochoa will be inducted after the committee removed its 10-year tour playing requirement. Upon hearing the news, Lopez, who grew up in Mexico idolizing Ochoa, reached out to her mentor to congratulate her on the long-awaited honor. Ochoa will be the first Mexican-born player to be enshrined in the LPGA Hall of Fame.

“Not many people make it into the Hall of Fame,” Lopez told GolfChannel.com. “It is a dream come true for Mexico, not only her.”

Ochoa, all founders headed into LPGA HOF

The LPGA announced a change to its Hall of Fame criteria, which will allows Lorena Ochoa to be enshrined.

During her eight-year career, Ochoa earned the 37 points towards the HOF, exceeding the 27 necessary points in order to qualify. But early retirement meant she did reach the 10-year threshold.

Between 2003-10, Ochoa won 27 times on the LPGA, including two major championships. In addition to winning Rookie of the Year honors in '03, she was also a six-time Rolex Player of the Year recipient and four-time winner of the Vare Trophy for lowest scoring average. Ochoa also became the first player from Mexico to reach No. 1 in the world rankings, a spot she held for a record 158 consecutive weeks between 2007-10. Ochoa was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2017.

“She said to me [she is enjoying] this moment as much as she is,” Lopez said about Ochoa. “She’s just a great friend and being able to be close to her means a lot.”

Lopez became the second Mexican-born player to win on the LPGA Tour, following in Ochoa’s footsteps, when she captured the Blue Bay LPGA in 2018. Lopez won for a second time at the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions in 2020.

“It's such a big inspiration to me,” Lopez said about Ochoa’s achievements. “I feel that she’s accomplished way more as a woman than as a player. Her humbleness and willingness to be so open to everybody is amazing.”