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Hull triumphs by five strokes

KATHERINE Hull followed up her US LPGA Tour win last year with her first major victory on home soil by winning the Australian Ladies Masters at Gold Coast yesterday.

Hull, who won last year's Canadian Women's Open, birdied the first hole and went on to shoot a four-under 68 for a five-stroke victory at Royal Pines.

The 26-year-old Hull, who started the day with a three-stroke lead, finished with a four-round total of 16-under 272. Australian Tamie Durdin (70) and South Korea's Ryu So-yeon (67) were tied for second.

Hull was pleased to have been consistent over four rounds.

"I've always been capable of putting three good rounds together, but four was iffy," she said. "I've dreamt about this since I was a kid. It hasn't sunk in yet...."

There was a four-way tie for fourth at 10-under 278, six shots off Hull: Tseng Ya-ni of Chinese Taipei (66), last week's New Zealand Open winner Gwladys Nocera of France (67), Sarah Kemp of Australia (68) and American Mollie Fankhauser (70).

Hull's win will improve her world ranking into the top 20. She finished second at last month's New South Wales Open and in a tie for second at the New Zealand Open last weekend. Hull plans to play at next week's Women's Australian Open in Melbourne.

In Bangkok, South Africa's James Kamte began his rookie year on the Asian Tour with the very best of starts by lifting his maiden title at the season-opening Asian Tour International yesterday.

Kamte held off a spirited challenge from Tetsuji Hiratsuka by closing with a five-under 66 for a 16-under 268 total to pip the Japanese to the title by two shots.

Overnight leader Hiratsuka, who came into the final round with a slender one-shot lead, finished on even-par 71 for a 270 total while Australia's Unho Park and Marcus Both together with Prom Meesawat of Thailand and Filipino Juvic Pagunsan shared third place with matching 271s.

But perhaps the biggest move of the day belonged to China's Wu Ashun.

Starting the day in tied-30th, Wu made a dramatic surge up the leaderboard by firing a total of nine birdies to fashion a superb final round 63.

The Chinese eventually finished on 272 in tied-seventh place.

In San Diego, John Rollins caught up with Camilo Villegas again, and this time kept right on going until he finished off a two-under 70 that gave him a three-shot lead in the Buick Invitational on Saturday.

Rollins, who lost a share of the lead with a bogey on the final hole of the second round, made up for that quickly with two birdies in the first four holes to take the lead, then surged farther ahead when the Colombian struggled from the sand and on the greens.

The margin could have been even wider if not for three three-putt bogeys by Rollins over the final seven holes, including the par-five 18th that raised hopes for Villegas and a few others.

Rollins was at 12-under 204.

Villegas capped off an ugly front nine with a double bogey when his bunker shot sailed over the green, leaving him five shots behind. He steadied himself for a two-over 74.

had a 71 and was at seven-under 209.


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