Tue, Apr 03, 2007 - Page 18 News List

Australia's Scott wins Houston Open

AFP , HOUSTON, TEXAS AND RANCHO MIRAGE, CALIFORNIA

Adam Scott of Australia hits his tee shot on the 15th hole during the final round of the Shell Houston Open on Sunday at the Redstone Golf Club Tournament Course in Humble, Texas. Scott won by three strokes.

PHOTO: AFP

Australian Adam Scott held off countryman Stuart Appleby to win the US$5.5 million PGA Houston Open by three strokes and capture his fifth career title on Sunday.

The 26-year-old Scott closed out the victory by nailing a 16m putt on the final hole to post his second consecutive bogey-free round and finish with a six-under 66.

"It worked out well," Scott said. "My plan was to come here and feel the juices flowing and they certainly were flowing that last hole."

He regained the lead with four holes to play and took a one-shot lead into the final hole.

Opening the door

But Scott hooked his tee shot on 18 into the water, opening the door for defending champ Appleby to possibly force a playoff.

"I was disappointed with my tee shot. I just hit it on the wrong side," Scott said.

Appleby's chances disappeared when he landed in the sand off the 18th tee and then followed Scott into the water with his second shot.

Tied with Appleby for the lead through 10 holes, Scott took charge with two birdies on his final eight holes. Appleby bogeyed three of his final five.

Scott, who has two wins in his last six starts, heads to next week's Masters in a positive frame of mind.

Most of the top players have chosen to practice their way into form leading up to The Masters.

Tiger Woods, defending Masters champion Phil Mickelson, South African Ernie Els and three-time Houston Open champion Vijay Singh of Fiji all are took the week off in preparation for the first major of the year, which starts on Thursday at Augusta National.

Scott is the seventh Australian to win here, joining Appleby, Bruce Devlin, Bruce Crampton, David Graham and Robert Allenby.

US player Bubba Watson, who began the fourth round with a three-stroke lead, shot a par 72 and tied Appleby for second.

Tommy Armour shot 66 and finished fourth, four shots back.

Pressel wins Kraft

Precocious professional Morgan Pressel became the youngest player in LPGA history to win a major title on Sunday with her triumph in the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills Country Club.

Pressel, 18, capped a flawless 3-under-par 69 with a 5m birdie at the final hole for a 3-under total of 285.

As she waited in the clubhouse, overnight co-leader Suzann Pettersen squandered a three-shot lead to hand the youngster the victory in the US$2 million tournament, the first women's major of this year.

Pressel, who started the round four strokes off the pace, collected the US$300,000 first prize for her first career title.

`Dream come true'

"This is just a dream come true," Pressel said. "This is my first professional victory and to make it in a major is incredible."

Pettersen, the 2001 Ladies European Tour rookie of the year, bogeyed 15, double-bogeyed 16 and bogeyed 17 to fall a shot behind Pressel.

She then missed her bid birdie 18 and force a playoff.

She carded a 74 to finish tied for second on 286 with Britain's Catriona Matthew (71) and US player Brittany Lincicome (72).

South Korean Se Ri Pak, bidding to complete a career Grand Slam, entered the final round tied with Pettersen for the lead but closed with a five-over 77 to finish tied for 10th, five shots back.

She was joined on 289 by last year's player of the year Lorena Ochoa of Mexico, who posted a final-round 72.

Neither defending champion Karrie Webb of Australia nor Swedish superstar Annika Sorenstam were able to challenge Pressel, Pettersen or Pressel in the final round.

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