"I don't mind the rain, but I don't like being cold," said the LPGA's No. 1 player. "So when I stepped out of my room this morning and saw that it was warm, I thought to myself, 'OK, I can do this.'"
With a 7-under 64, her best score in 25 rounds on Kingsmill's River Course, Ochoa took the first-round lead in the Michelob Ultra Open.
After a wire-to-wire win two weeks ago in the Corona Championship, Ochoa has led the last five rounds of the tour's schedule.
The 27-year-old Mexican, going for her 27th career championship, leads Lindsey Wright by one shot. Hee-Won Han, Sarah Lee and Minea Blomqvist share third place at 5 under. Three golfers tied for sixth at 4 under.
Ochoa began play shortly after 9 a.m. in a steady rain. It stopped, then started again. By the time she reached the back nine, the sun had come out. She ditched her long-sleeve shirt, and the temperature eventually reached 80 degrees.
No matter the conditions, rain or shine, she was brilliant. Ochoa birdied four of her first seven holes, with two putts coming from at least 20 feet. After making birdie on 12 and 13, she was 6 under — with the tournament record (8 under, shared by five) within reach.
Ochoa bogeyed 16, where she missed her drive to the right and wasn't able to get up-and-down. But she came back with birdies on 17 and 18 and ended up with her low round of the year — and it's already been a pretty good year.
"It was a good day and a good start," Ochoa said. "I'm really pleased. I hit the ball really good and gave myself some birdie chances. I couldn't ask for a better way to start.
"Of course, I'm working really hard for the win. But this is just a start — I have three more days. My goal is to give myself a chance on Sunday."
Wright, a native of England who lives in Australia, put herself in good position as well. Not that she expected it.
"I'm not feeling very well," she said. "I'm a little off the wall today. It was my first day with a new caddie as well, so I really didn't have high expectations."
Wright isn't sure what's ailing her — "I don't know, I'm just feeling dodgy" — but she might want to bottle it. Her 65 was not only her low round of the year, it bettered her previous mark by four shots.
"I didn't really know that," Wright said. "I've been really close. I haven't made a lot of putts — like, 20-foot putts. Usually, my range is inside 10 feet."
Starting on the back nine, Wright made 20-foot birdie putts on Nos. 16 and 18 to boost her confidence. Her other four birdies were pretty routine, the putts covering a combined 11 feet.
"It's not every day you get to say you had an easy 6 under," she said. "I could go out tomorrow and play just as well but shoot even par or worse. I'll take those rounds when you can get them. Everybody has those days."
Actually, the last couple of months have been going well for Wright. In March, she tied for 16th in the MasterCard Classic. A week later, she was T-11 in the LPGA International. And a week after that, she came in fourth in the Kraft Nabisco Championship, matching her best-ever finish in a major.
Then came a pretty long holiday. This is her first tournament since the first week of April.
"I'm all about breaks," she said. "Going into this week, I was well prepared for the next leg of the season."
Two years ago, Lee tied the Michelob record with a first-round 63.
She didn't quite match that Thursday, but she did put together her best round since a 65 at the Sybase Classic in May 2007.
Her afternoon didn't start well with a bogey on No. 1. But she recovered with birdies on 3, 6, 7 and 9. She just missed making eagle on the par-5 No. 7, leaving her third shot about a foot short.
"I have good memories here," said Lee, who was unable to play here last year because of an elbow injury. "But this is one day, and the next day is a new day for me. I just want to stay positive and hit the fairways and greens."