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Baddeley savors long-awaited win

LOS ANGELES — Finally a winner again, Aaron Baddeley raised his arms when his last putt went in Sunday at the Northern Trust Open as his wife and two young daughters came over to share the moment.

They might have been among the few cheering him on at Riviera.

Baddeley could hear chants of "Freddie!" at every turn, and it got louder when Fred Couples birdied the opening three holes to take the lead. But Baddeley cared only about a victory that was just as meaningful to him.

"I thought Freddie was going to be tough (Sunday) because winning is a skill, and Freddie has been winning quite often recently," Baddeley said. "When he got off to a good start, I was like, 'Freddie looks like he's going to have one of those days where he's going to play great.' I was still just trying to focus on my game and try to do what I needed to do."

The 29-year-old Australian closed with 2-under 69 to hold off Vijay Singh and Couples for his first win in four years.

Baddeley, who finished at 12-under 272, wound up with a two-shot victory over Singh (69), who turns 48 on Tuesday. Couples, 51, bogeyed two of the last three holes to shoot 73 and tie for seventh.

"I'm a golfer, so I'm disappointed," said Couples, who battled a tender back.

It was the third PGA Tour win for Baddeley, who had plunged to No. 224 in the world. This victory won't get him back into the top 50, but he earned a trip to the Masters with his first win since the 2007 Phoenix Open.

"It's definitely been a couple of long years, but it was worth every bit," Baddeley said. "I really feel that the last couple years is actually what made it easier (Sunday) … the character that was just built in me."

LPGA: On a roll, Tseng wins season opener

PATTAYA, Thailand — Top-ranked Yani Tseng earned her third win in three weeks, shooting 6-under 66 for a five-shot victory at the LPGA Thailand.

Tseng led by one over Michelle Wie and I.K. Kim entering the final round of the season-opening LPGA event and had the lowest score of the day with seven birdies and one bogey to finish at 15-under 273.

Wie (70) finished second, and Kim (71) was another stroke back with Karrie Webb (69).

Tseng took over the No. 1 ranking after winning back-to-back Ladies European Tour events, the Australian Open and the Australian Ladies Masters.

Seminole's Brittany Lincicome (70) tied for 18th at 289, and Tampa's Kristy McPherson (73) tied for 29th at 292.

Champions: Bernhard Langer shot 6-under 66 to set a tournament record at 20-under 196 and win the ACE Group Classic by four strokes over Fred Funk (66) in Naples. "It's always exciting winning," said Langer, 53, who earned his 14th tour win. "It never gets old no matter where or how big the tournament, whether it's a major or not."

Baddeley savors long-awaited win 02/20/11 [Last modified: Sunday, February 20, 2011 9:57pm]
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