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Tseng holds on at Nabisco

Yani Tseng leaps into the pond at the 18th green, the traditional celebration for the winner of the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

Associated Press

Yani Tseng leaps into the pond at the 18th green, the traditional celebration for the winner of the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — The only time Yani Tseng wasn't in control Sunday was when she took the traditional leap into the water after winning the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the year's first major.

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With her mother, caddie and several friends also taking the plunge, Tseng jumped as far into the pond as she could — then remembered she can't swim.

"I told my caddie, 'I don't know how to swim. Can you help me to get on the top?' " she said. "It was a little scary."

Everything else about Tseng's day had her smiling. She eagled No. 2 on her way to 4-under 68. Tseng, of Taiwan, finished at 13-under 275 to hold off Suzann Pettersen by a stroke. Two of Tseng's three LPGA Tour victories have been majors (2008 LPGA Championship as a rookie).

Tseng started the day tied with Pettersen (69), one stroke behind Karen Stupples, but chipped in for eagle on the 521-yard, par-5 No. 2. Stupples birdied No. 2, but Tseng took the lead with a birdie on the par-4 No. 3.

After the eagle, "I knew today's going to be my day," Tseng said. "I just kept telling myself, 'Commit to the shot and keep my tempo right and just keep smiling all 18 holes.' "

Tseng played even par on the back nine, yet no one could catch her.

Pettersen had several chances with birdie putts on Nos. 13-16. The only one that fell was at 16, leaving her two behind. Then her eagle chip on 18 stopped just a few inches from the hole.

"I was scared to look," Tseng said.

It was another close finish for Pettersen in this tournament. She tied for second in 2007 and 2008 and tied for fifth last year.

"Just collect them up," said Pettersen, who did win the 2007 LPGA. "It's starting to feel like it owes me one very soon."

Song-Hee Kim (70) finished third (four back). Stupples (78) tied for fifth (10 behind). Defending champion and Seminole resident Brittany Lincicome (73) tied for 21st (14 behind).

Kim wins in playoff

HUMBLE, Texas — Anthony Kim parred the first playoff hole to win the Houston Open and deny Vaughn Taylor a trip home to play in the Masters.

Kim (70), who shared the third-round lead with Bryce Molder, had a chance to win at No. 18 but missed a 6-foot par. He hit only 23 of 56 fairways in four rounds, the fourth fewest for a PGA Tour winner since 1983, but still earned his fourth consecutive top-25 finish and shot 70 or better for the fourth consecutive final round.

"Two years ago, that bag may have been in the water. I might not have had clubs to go to the playoff," Kim said about his missed putt at No. 18. "But I just feel calm out there."

It was a crushing loss for Taylor (68), who grew up in Augusta, Ga. The Houston Open was the last chance to qualify for the Masters. He gave himself a chance by making an 18-foot birdie at No. 18.

He and Kim played No. 18 again, and Kim hit his approach to 30 feet for a two-putt par. Taylor's tee shot found a bunker and approach a greenside bunker. Then he missed an 18-foot par.

"Hugely disappointed," Taylor said. "It's a tough pill to swallow."

Charl Schwartzel (67) and Graham DeLaet (68) finished a stroke behind the pair. Molder (74) finished tied for eighth (four back).

Mickelson's special caddie: Tom Buchholz, a radiation oncologist who is treating Phil Mickelson's wife and mother for breast cancer, caddied for him for three holes (all birdies). Buchholz wasn't inexperienced. He was working in the pro shop at the Westchester Country Club in 1984 when he caddied for Allen Miller in the tour's Westchester Classic.

Fast facts

Masters

When/where: Thursday-Sunday; Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, Ga.

Purse: $7 million

Defending champ: Angel Cabrera

Schedule: Today — practice rounds. Tuesday — practice rounds (interviews from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at masters.com). Wednesday — practice rounds; par 3 tournament, 3 p.m. (ESPN, masters.com). Thursday — Round 1 (coverage at masters.com begins at 10 a.m.). Friday — Round 2. Saturday — Round 3. Sunday — Final round.

TV: Thursday and Friday — 4-7:30 p.m., ESPN; Saturday — 3:30-7 p.m., Ch. 10; Sunday — 2-7 p.m., Ch. 10

Tseng holds on at Nabisco 04/04/10 [Last modified: Sunday, April 4, 2010 10:55pm]
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