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Lewis finally first in LPGA's first major

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — Stacy Lewis held off defending champion Yani Tseng to win the Kraft Nabisco Championship by three strokes Sunday, earning her first LPGA Tour title in the year's first major.

Lewis shot 3-under 69 to finish at 13-under 275, rallying from an early two-stroke deficit while going head-to-head with the world's top-ranked player.

Lewis' improbable 20-foot par from the fringe on the 17th hole, prompting a celebration in the raucous gallery.

"I can't even believe it," said Lewis, 26, who overcame scoliosis to become an elite golfer. "… I just couldn't believe I made it (on the 17th hole). I thought I had a good shot from there, but I just tried to stay calm."

Tseng (74) had four bogeys. Lewis bogeyed No. 15 to let Tseng get within one, but Tseng bogeyed the next two holes.

Lewis' mother, Carol, badly injured her left leg and was taken to a hospital in an ambulance after jumping into Poppie's Pond off the 18th green. It has become tournament tradition for the winner and her caddy and family to leap into the pond.

Seminole's Brittany Lincicome, who co-led with Lewis after the first round, shot 76 to end at par 288, tied for 13th.

Michelle Wie (75) and 2007 Kraft Nabisco champion Morgan Pressel (76) faltered badly in their final rounds.

Mickelson victorious in pre-Masters tuneup

HUMBLE, Texas — Phil Mickelson feels pretty confident about his game heading to the Masters, which begins Thursday.

The defending champion at Augusta outdueled Scott Verplank to win the Houston Open by three shots, his first victory since earning his third green jacket last April.

Mickelson moved to No. 3 in the world rankings as Tiger Woods dropped to No. 7. It's the first time Mickelson has been ahead of Woods since the week before Woods won the 1997 Masters for his first major title.

"It feels really good for me to have played well and gained some momentum heading into next week," Mickelson said. "I needed to have a week where I kind of put it together."

Mickelson shot 7-under 65, the lowest closing score by a winner this year, to finish at 20 under.

Verplank, 46, needed a victory just to get to Augusta. His left wrist, wrapped in black tape, is weakened by a degenerative bone condition, and it affected his grip.

"It's nice that I hadn't forgotten how to play," Verplank said.

CHAMPIONS: Tom Lehman closed with 3-under 69 to win the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic in Saucier, Miss., his second 50-and-over tour victory this year. He finished at 16-under 200, four shots better than Nick Price, Jeff Sluman and David Frost.

Lewis finally first in LPGA's first major 04/03/11 [Last modified: Sunday, April 3, 2011 10:13pm]
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