Sports briefs: Sept. 9

September 9, 2012 

BMW Championship Golf

Phil Mickelson, right, talked with caddy Jim Mackay during his round Saturday in the BMW Championship in Carmel, Ind.

CHARLES REX ARBOGAST — ASSOCIATED PRESS

Golf

Mickelson grabs share of lead at BMW Championship

The BMW Championship turned into golf's version of an All-Star game Saturday in Carmel, Ind., with Phil Mickelson making 10 birdies to share the lead with Vijay Singh, and a host of other proven players lined up behind them Saturday at Crooked Stick.

Mickelson shrugged when asked about all the stars on the leader board, only because he figured his name wasn't at the top and there was still work to be done. That was before Singh had his only three-putt of the tournament from about 45 feet on the last hole that made him settle for a 69.

Rory McIlroy, going for his second straight FedEx Cup playoff win and his PGA Tour-leading fourth of the year, birdied the 18th to salvage an ordinary day with a 69. He was one shot behind with Lee Westwood, a former world No. 1 who made all five of his birdies on the back nine for a 68.

Dustin Johnson, who has finished no worse than fourth in the other two playoff events, had a 67 and was in the group two shots behind that included Adam Scott and Robert Garrigus, who is trying to play his way into the FedEx Cup finale at East Lake in two weeks.

Not to be forgotten is Tiger Woods, who turned his sloppy play around by chipping in from 25 feet on the ninth hole that began a run of four birdies in a five-hole stretch. He had to settle for a 71, ending his streak of six straight rounds in the 60s. He's three shots behind.

"The cream has risen to the top, hasn't it?" Westwood said.

"It's the playoffs," Johnson said. "Guys come to play golf. In the big tournaments, it seems like all year the top guys are up there every time."

Singh has taken only 74 putts for the week.

"I've had three good rounds of putting," Singh said. "And I need one more."

■ Johnson has hit into some unusual spots on golf courses over the years. Saturday's tee shot on No. 8 might have been a first.

As he walked up the fairway, he already knew the ball had landed in a woman's purse. So when he reached the landing spot, he reached into the purse, pulled the ball out and took his free drop. It didn't faze him a bit.

"I've hit into people's chairs and a trash can ... some interesting things happen out here," Johnson said. "When you've got so many people out watching, things like that happen."

Johnson made par on the hole.

Creamer takes over LPGA lead

Paula Creamer moved into position to end a two-year victory drought, shooting a 6-under 65 on Saturday to take a two-stroke lead into the final round of the Kingsmill Championship in Williamsburg, Va. The nine-time LPGA Tour winner chipped in for birdie on the par-4 13th in her bogey-free round on Kingsmill's River Course. She had a 16-under 197 total, the lowest 54-hole score in the history of the event.

"I haven't won in two years. That feels like forever, but it also feels like yesterday when I did just win, so it's kind of a give or take," Creamer said. "I've been in contention a lot, so it's not that I'm not used to this, that's for sure. ... No matter what happens tomorrow, I'm just going out there and continue what I've been doing this whole year and it's just starting to come together and one round isn't going to make or break it, that's for sure."

Second-round leader Jiyai Shin was second after a 69.


NASCAR

Kahne at ease about Chase this time

For the first time in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship format, Kasey Kahne could relax a little bit as he went into the "regular season" finale on Saturday night. The race was delayed by rain and did not end in time for Sunday's newspaper.

Kahne was the only wild-card contender with multiple victories, and he just needed a clean race to lock down a slot in the 12-driver field. He also had a shot at bumping defending series champion Tony Stewart out of the top 10 in the seeding process.

"It feels a lot more calm, for sure," Kahne said. "I've missed by a few points and made it by just a few points. We've had pressure here a lot of times with the way the Chase all works out and where I've run in points over the years. I feel a lot better about it this time but we need to perform and do a good job Saturday night.

"I'd like to get in the top 10. If we run really well and have a shot at winning the race and Tony has a bad race that gives us a shot. It'll be interesting how it all works out but I feel confident in how we run at Richmond."


UK volleyball

Top-ranked Nebraska holds off Cats

Kentucky senior Ashley Frazier had 20 kills in the 19th-ranked Cats' four-set loss (25-19, 23-25, 25-22, 25-22) to No. 1 Nebraska on Saturday in Lincoln, Neb. Next up for Kentucky (6-4) is its Southeastern Conference opener at Florida on Sunday, Sept. 16.

"I saw some fire tonight that we need to sustain going into SEC play," UK Coach Craig Skinner said.

Freshman Morgan Bergren posted her first career double-double with 47 assists and 10 digs. She also had four kills and a team-high five blocks.


Horse racing

Favored Air Support wins Bowling Green

Air Support, the 7-5 favorite, nipped Bombaguia by a head on Saturday in the $196,000 Bowling Green Stakes on the turf at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. John Velazquez was aboard for his second win in the first three races on the opening-day card. Air Support, a 4-year-old trained by Shug McGaughey, got up in the final strides for his first win since last season's Virginia Derby.


High school football

Bir leads CovCath past Boone County

Senior quarterback Blake Bir threw five touchdown passes to lead Covington Catholic, ranked No. 4 in Dave Cantrall's Rating the State, to a 34-0 victory against visiting Boone County on Saturday afternoon. Two of Bir's TD passes were to Ethan Egbers.


The last word

Kevin Harvick celebrated his Nationwide Series victory on Friday night by "Facetiming" in Victory Lane with infant son Keelan. Asked later if he's a softer, gentler Harvick since becoming a father, the driver quickly proved not much has changed:

"I still want to punch Kyle Busch in the mouth."

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