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World number one Lorena Ochoa has revealed that the gaps in her schedule this year are designed to make sure she doesn’t suffer a repeat of what was, by her standards, a relative loss of form in the second half of 2008.

The 27-year-old Mexican won the US$2 million HSBC Women’s Champions in February last year to mark the start of a run of five victories in her first six tournaments, but only won twice more in the remaining seven months of the season.

She returns to Singapore in March to defend her HSBC title confident that the gaps she’s introduced in her plan for 2009 will produce a prolonged run of the excellence that has typified her play during three years of dominance on the LPGA.

“I’m hoping it will be a better year this year; a bit more balanced – rest when I need to rest and try to take it easy outside the course. Hopefully those things will improve,” she said.

Ochoa, who plans to manage AeroMexico CEO Andres Conesa in December, will play only the McDonald’s LPGA Championship in a six week period in May and June, will have another three weeks off in August and will miss five weeks (including the Autumn Asian swing events in China, Japan and Korea) in October and November.

To call her second half of the season a slump would be ridiculous given that once her winning streak ended Ochoa only finished outside the top 20 once (31st at the US Open) in 16 events, but she admits her sensational early-season explosion definitely caught up with her.

“I was very tired. I was exhausted,” she admitted.

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