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PGA Tour
Kim wins playoff for Houston title



Humble, TX (Sports Network) - Anthony Kim parred the first playoff hole Sunday to defeat Vaughn Taylor and win the Houston Open at the Tournament Course at Redstone Golf Club.

Kim and Taylor headed back to the 18th after Taylor rolled in an 18-foot birdie putt in regulation to get within one stroke of Kim, who was in the final group.

Kim drove into a bunker, then found more sand by the green. He blasted out to five feet, but his putt slid by on the right edge. Kim had three feet to force a playoff and his putt fell to send the two to sudden death.

Kim split the fairway at 18 and Taylor found a bunker off the tee. Taylor's approach landed in the same bunker Kim made bogey from on the 72nd hole. Kim knocked his second safely to the middle of the green some 30 feet from the stick.

Taylor couldn't get it closer than 17 feet. Kim narrowly missed his birdie putt, but tapped in for par. Taylor needed to make the 17-footer to extend the playoff, but his ball never reached the hole.

The victory was Kim's third on the PGA Tour and first since his multiple-win season of 2008. Kim captured the Wachovia Championship and AT&T National that year and heads into Augusta National with some momentum for next week's Masters.

"There were never doubts I'd win again," said Kim, who only hit 23 fairways for the week, which was dead last in the field. "There were doubts in my game."

For Taylor, it was a tough loss.

If Taylor could've pulled out the win, he would've earned an invitation to The Masters next week. He was raised in Augusta, attended high school and college there and still lives in the city.

Kim, a third-round co-leader, shot a two-under 70 on Sunday to match Taylor, who posted a four-under 68, at 12-under 276.

Charl Schwartzel (67) and Graham DeLaet (68) shared third place at minus-11, while former PGA Champion Shaun Micheel, who has no tour status this year, fired a seven-under 65 to take fifth at 10-under 278.

Kim shared the third-round lead with Bryce Molder, but picked up birdies at one and four. Taylor birdied four and six, but after a bogey at No. 7, he trailed Kim by three.

Both players birdied the par-five eighth, but Kim gave one back after a terrible drive at the 10th. The bogey left him two ahead of Taylor, but Taylor rolled in a 10-footer for birdie at 12. Kim followed him with a birdie at the 12th one group later and Kim took a two-stroke cushion late into the back nine.

Taylor two-putted from 70 feet for a birdie at the par-five 13th. Kim couldn't make birdie at the hole and sank a six-footer to save par at 14 and stay one shot ahead.

At the par-four 17th, Taylor drove into the rough, then found a bunker. He pitched out to 33 feet and two-putted for a bogey to fall two strokes back.

The margin ended at 18 when Taylor made his 18-foot birdie putt and Kim couldn't make his five-foot par save.

Then it was the playoff and Kim's trip to the winner's circle.

"It was weird, I just didn't have it this week," said Kim, who pocketed $1,044,000 for the victory. "There were stretches where I played great and hit some quality golf shots.

"For the most part, I did a great job scrambling."

Kevin Stadler (68) and Jeff Maggert (70) shared sixth at nine-under 279.

Molder (74), world No. 4 Lee Westwood (71) and Matt Kuchar (70) tied for eighth place at minus-eight.

Phil Mickelson shot a one-under 71 on Sunday and was part of a group in 35th place at two-under par. Mickelson had three double-bogeys and seven birdies, including six in a row, in the final round.

"I had a nice stretch there on the backside, and I'm looking forward to Augusta," said Mickelson. "I love the way that course is much more forgiving for me off the tee."

NOTES: Mickelson brought Dr. Tom Buchholz, one of his wife Amy's doctors, out of the gallery to caddy for him on a few holes...This was the first playoff of the year on the PGA Tour...Next week is The Masters, which was won by Angel Cabrera last year...Cabrera missed the second cut in Houston after Saturday's round.

04/04 19:14:00 ET

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