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Lorena Ochoa bows out with grace, questions, sixth-place finish

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And now, Lorena Ochoa's career is done.

There would be no Ted Williams-style walkoff home run -- what would that be in golf, anyway? -- just a close of a strong but somewhat disappointing round in which Ochoa finished in sixth place at her career-closing round at the Tres Marias Championship.

At 12-under, she was seven strokes behind winner Ai Miyazato and other luminaries. While her retirement was one of the day's big stories, the game, in a sense, had already passed Ochoa by. Perhaps she's one of those athletes who burned hot and burned fast, and who had a career that couldn't be sustained. And perhaps she's bailing out too early, not fighting her way through a rough patch. Only she knows.

Still, what's indisputable is that last weekend wasn't her best or even anywhere close. The best on-course story wasn't Ochoa's victory lap; it was the three-woman battle between Miyazato, Stacy Lewis and Michelle Wie. The three dueled for the lead for most of the day with Miyazato staving off a playoff to win on 18. (Read a full description of the day's events over at Hound Dog LPGA.)

Ochoa's sudden announcement of her departure and even more sudden vanishing from the game -- wait, she's gone already? -- have shortchanged her legacy for the short term. We didn't even get a chance to miss her before she went away!

Then again, maybe that's for the best. She didn't do some kind of awkward victory tour where they give out rocking chairs -- she is only 28, after all -- and now she walks away from the game, leaving her fans wondering, well ... wondering why.

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