Sports briefs: Oct. 5

October 5, 2012 

GOLF

Grace shoots course record 60 at Dunhill Links

South Africa's Branden Grace made five closing birdies to shoot a course record 12-under 60 in the opening round of the Dunhill Links Championship on Thursday.

Grace, who has won three European Tour events this year, took full advantage of the superb scoring conditions at Kingsbarns, one of three courses hosting the $5 million event.

The 24-year old Grace's score was two shots better than the 62 posted by England's Lee Westwood on his way to victory in 2003.

While no player has recorded a 59 in the 40-year history of the European Tour, Grace is the 15th player to shoot 60.

"It could have been a 59, and I said to my caddy when I hit it stiff on 18 that it could be close to a 59," Grace said. "I had some opportunities, but you know, I never really made anything long. But that round has to be my best ever."

Ryan Moore matched the course record and his career best with a 10-under 61 on Thursday in the first round of the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. The former UNLV player had nine birdies, an eagle — on the 341-yard, par-4 15th — and a bogey in perfect conditions at TPC Summerlin to take a one-stroke lead in the Fall Series opener.

Paul Simson won the USGA Senior Amateur for the second time in three years, beating Curtis Skinner 4 and 3 on Thursday at Mountain Ridge Country Club. The 61-year-old Simson, from Raleigh, N.C., is the 14th player to win the tournament twice. He won in 2010 at Lake Nona in Orlando, Fla., and is a three-time British Senior Amateur champion.

 Retired champion Lorena Ochoa shot a 1-under round of 69 at the Lacoste Ladies Open on Thursday. Ochoa is playing at the request of the sponsor. She was ranked No. 1 for three years and won two majors among 27 victories before retiring from full-time golf in April 2010 to focus on her family and charities.


NHL

First two weeks of season axed

What seemed inevitable for the NHL has become reality. The league canceled the first two weeks of the regular season on Thursday, the second time games have been lost because of a lockout in seven years.

The announcement was made in a two-paragraph statement. It isn't clear if those games will be made up, allowing for a complete 82-game regular season, if a deal can be struck soon with the locked-out players.

Unable to work out how to split up $3 billion in hockey-related revenues with the players' association, the NHL wiped out 82 games from Oct. 11-24 — beginning with four next Thursday, which would have been the league's opening night.


NBA

Rockets' draftee hampered by flight fears

Houston Rockets first-round draft pick Royce White is a no-show at training camp and said he and the team are working on a plan to address his fear of flying.

The 6-foot-8 White was the 16th overall pick after one season at Iowa State. White suffers from anxiety and fear of flying. He says on Twitter that he's working with the team on an "innovative plan" to balance treatment with the NBA schedule.

"Anxiety isn't keeping me from camp," White wrote, "taking a Proactive approach to my mental illness instead of reactive is.(hash)StayingAheadOfMyDisorder."

White said he has an agreement with the team to take a bus to select games. KRIV-TV reported that the agreement is pending league approval. The Rockets would not comment beyond a statement that said they "are committed to Royce's long term success and we will continue to support him now and going forward."

White said he offered to buy the bus himself.

"I will not travel every game via bus," he wrote. "It was decided that the less flying the less stress."

 NFL quarterback Peyton Manning is supporting wife Ashley's move to join the group of minority owners being assembled by prospective Grizzlies owner Robert J. Pera, and a person familiar with the deal says former NBA player Penny Hardaway also will be part of the group. Manning and Hardaway join a minority group that includes singer and actor Justin Timberlake and a couple of Memphis businessmen, the person told The Associated Press on Thursday on condition of anonymity because Pera's purchase of the team is pending approval by the NBA.

Charles Barkley thinks LeBron James can be better than Michael Jordan. Jordan is considered by many to be the best player in NBA history. Barkley says he would never compare anyone to the Hall of Famer and six-time NBA champion. But Barkley also says that James is "just bigger, stronger, faster."

 The NBA is coming back to London with a regular-season game between the Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks in January. The NBA says the Pistons and Knicks will play on Jan. 17 at the O2 Arena, the site of this year's Olympic gold-medal game.


AUTO RACING

Shumacher retires, maybe forever

Michael Schumacher is retiring from Formula One racing again — and this time, he says, "it might be forever." Unable to duplicate the success of his prime, the seven-time F1 champion announced Thursday he will retire at the end of the season, bringing an end to the most decorated career the sport has seen. There had been speculation the 43-year-old German could move to Sauber. He instead chose to end his career.

Jeff Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports announced a contract extension Thursday through 2014 with sponsor AARP and AARP Foundation. The AARP Foundation signed a three-year deal in 2011 with its "Drive to End Hunger" campaign to be Gordon's primary sponsor.

Kyle Busch apologized Thursday to manufacturer Toyota for his profanity-laced rant about the fuel mileage at Dover. Busch had to make a late stop in Sunday's race that he believed cost him the win. Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin also had to stop for gas, but winner Brad Keselowski in a Dodge and Jimmie Johnson in a Chevrolet got better mileage and didn't have to stop. In a statement issued Thursday by both JGR and Toyota, Busch said his comments were "misguided."


ETC.

Eichorst leaves scandal-ridden Miami

Shawn Eichorst left his job as athletic director at scandal-ridden Miami on Thursday and accepted a five-year contract to succeed Tom Osborne at Nebraska. Eichorst's departure comes at a particularly curious time — with the Hurricanes set to play Notre Dame in the rekindling of a college football rivalry on Saturday, and as the school braces to receive potentially crippling NCAA sanctions in the coming months for compliance violations.

 New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks won't play in Sunday's game against Cleveland because of recurring foot and knee problems. Nicks has missed the last two games and coach Tom Coughlin says Thursday that Nicks won't be available against the Browns.

 The British Horseracing Authority has charged a jockey and eight others, including three soccer players, with race fixing. The charges follow an investigation into suspicious betting, focusing on wagers that horses would lose between November 2010 and March 2011.


The last word

The re-aligned Atlantic 10's Rhode Island and Duquesne both have first-year coaches in Danny Hurley and Jim Ferry. Last year their teams at Wagner and LIU-Brooklyn were picked first and second in the Northeast Conference pre-season poll. This season they were chosen Nos. 15 and 16. Said Hurley:

"Looks the same as last year if you just hold the paper upside down."

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