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Yim wins as Sorenstam collapses

Annika Sorenstam's right hand flew off the club on the follow-through, the first sign that something was amiss. Then, as everyone watched in disbelief, the ball sailed toward the trees along the right side of the fairway -- and the dreaded out-of-bounds line.

The greatest closer in women's golf had just given one away.

Tied for the lead, Sorenstam knocked her tee shot at No. 17 on the wrong side of the stakes and wound up with a double bogey that allowed Sung Ah Yim to claim her first LPGA Tour victory in the Florida's Natural Charity Championship in Stockbridge, Ga., yesterday.

Yim, a 22-year-old South Korean, tapped in a birdie putt at the final hole for a two-stroke win over Sorenstam, Cristie Kerr, and Karrie Webb -- three players with a combined 104 wins on the Tour.

Three straight rounds in the 60s gave Sorenstam a one-stroke lead going to the final round of a tournament she won in a 10-stroke runaway last year. But the world's No. 1 player slumped to a 75 -- her tee shot on the next-to-last hole merely the worst swing in an unthinkably poor round at Eagle's Landing Country Club near Atlanta.

''There's not much to say other than it was a horrible day," Sorenstam said. ''I would like to forget about it."

Early on, it was clear this wasn't going to be a typical day for Sorenstam. She three-putted from 17 feet at the first hole for bogey. She drove into a fairway bunker and had to hit a blind shot over a clump of razor-sharp pampas grass. And when she yanked another drive into a giant oak tree, leaving her with an impossibly poor lie at the edge of a bunker, Sorenstam screamed at herself, ''What are you doing!"

Her putting was downright atrocious -- at least five misses of no more than 6 feet. The last coming on the 17th, when she had a chance to save bogey and preserve a ray of hope going to the final hole.

Afterward, as Sorenstam was recounting her scorecard, she paused in the middle of things with a most uncharacteristic assessment. ''Ohhhh, this is horrible," she said.

Yim, in just her second year on the Tour, played in the final group with Sorenstam. Amazingly, the part-time university student was the one who held it together at the end, scrambling for a 72 that was good enough to win. She got up-and-down from the fringe on three straight holes before knocking in a 4-foot birdie putt at the 18th to finish at 16-under-par 272.

''I was very, very nervous," Yim said. ''I could hear my heart beating."

PGA -- Stuart Appleby shot a 5-under 67 to cap a wire-to-wire victory in the Shell Houston Open and join Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson as the only two-time winners on the Tour this year.

Appleby, also the 1999 winner in Houston, finished at 19-under 269 on the new Tournament Course at Redstone, six shots ahead of Bob Estes. Appleby matched the tournament record for margin of victory and was the first player in the event's 60-year history to lead from the opening round to the end.

Appleby, who turns 35 May 1, earned $990,000 for his eighth Tour win and has two victories in the same year for the first time in his career. In January, Appleby won the season-opening Mercedes Championships for the third straight time.

Estes closed with a 69, and Steve Stricker was 12 under after a 66. Mathias Gronberg, paired with Appleby, had a 73 to match Jerry Smith (72) at 10 under.

Champions -- Jay Haas had an eagle and three birdies down the stretch, winning the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf Championship by five strokes over Peter Jacobsen and Craig Stadler in Savannah, Ga.

Haas, the Champions Tour Rookie of the Year in 2005, shot a 5-under 67 for a three-round total of 15-under 201 at The Club at Savannah Harbor.

Jacobsen (67) and Stadler (70) each finished at 206, one shot better than Hale Irwin (68) and two better than defending champion Des Smyth (66).

European -- Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano tapped in a short birdie putt on the first playoff hole to beat Henrik Stenson and win the Asian Open in Shanghai.

Fernandez-Castano shot a 2-under 70 in the final round, using two crucial birdies in a bogey-free round. Stenson shot 71. They finished regulation at 7-under 281.

Nationwide -- Paul Gow won his third career title, closing with a bogey-free 3-under 69 (21-under 267) for a three-stroke victory over Craig Lile (72) in the inaugural Athens Regional Foundation Classic in Bogart, Ga. Worcester's Fran Quinn (70) finished tied for fourth with four others at 14 under.

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