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Lincicome digs deep to win Kraft Nabisco

Tournament winner Brittany Lincicome tees off on the 16th hole during the final round the LPGA Kraft Nabisco Championship golf tournament in Rancho Mirage, Calif., Sunday.
Tournament winner Brittany Lincicome tees off on the 16th hole during the final round the LPGA Kraft Nabisco Championship golf tournament in Rancho Mirage, Calif., Sunday.
Mark Avery, Associated Press

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — Her heart racing and her hands shaking, Brittany Lincicome did whatever she could to kept it together on the final holes of the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

She breathed deep. She and her caddie sang country songs, mostly Sugarland and Kenny Chesney.

It worked, because she hit two brilliant shots on 18 to set up a 4-foot eagle putt that she rolled in to win her first major on Sunday.

"I can't even describe it," Lincicome said moments after taking the traditional plunge into the lake that surrounds the 18th green. "It's surreal, really."

Never worse than three strokes behind in the final round, Lincicome stayed close as her good friend Kristy McPherson and Cristie Kerr traded the lead back and forth on a perfect day at Mission Hills.

Trailing McPherson by one stroke, the 23-year-old Lincicome broke through with an amazing sequence of shots on the par-5, 485-yard 18th.

McPherson calls Lincicome "Bam-Bam" because of the length of her drives, and Lincicome lived up to that by booming a 275-yard drive down the middle of the fairway.

"It just came down to 18, and luckily my length is a strong point and I bombed it out there and went for the green," Lincicome said.SHELL HOUSTON OPEN: At Humble, Texas, Paul Casey finally considers himself one of the world's top golfers, just in time for the Masters.

Casey won the Shell Houston Open on Sunday for his first PGA Tour victory, beating J.B. Holmes with a bogey on the first playoff hole. The 31-year-old Englishman has nine international victories since 2001, but had never won in the United States. The victory boosted Casey from No. 12 to No. 6 in the world rankings, a career high.

"It's time to start believing I can be a top 10 player in the world and maybe I can be in the top five," Casey said.