Sports briefs: Oct. 6

October 6, 2012 

Golf

St. Xavier builds 12-shot lead on first day of state tourney

St. Xavier, favored to win its 19th state golf title, finished the first round of the boys' Leachman/KHSAA State Tournament with a 12-shot lead on West Jessamine on Friday at Bowling Green Country Club.

Tigers senior Stephen Stallings, who is trying to become the first repeat medalist in six years, shot a 1-under 71 and is two shots behind St. Mary senior Joey Mayo and one behind freshman teammate Michael Sass. West Jessamine junior Fred Allen Meyer, last year's runner-up, and Louisville Christian senior Ben Montgomery are also at 1 under.

Cochran ahead in first start since July

Russ Cochran topped the SAS Championship leader board Friday in Cary, N.C., in his return from a back injury, hitting all 18 greens in regulation and shooting a 6-under 66.

Cochran, the 2010 tournament winner, is making his first start since the U.S. Senior Open in July.

"I came here hoping to finish the tournament really," said Cochran, a Paducah native who played in college at Kentucky. "But I fell into a great mode and played a good, solid round. Maybe I need more time off, I don't know.

"Of course, when you're playing well, you feel like you could do it all the time," Cochran said. "But I've got to give myself a lot of room and be very, very patient and realize that I haven't been in the heat in a long time. I haven't played, much less been in the heat. I'll be pretty calm (Saturday), I think."

Steve Pate, Andrew Magee, Fred Funk and Jay Don Blake were a stroke back. Funk, the Insperity Championship winner in May, missed a birdie putt on 18 by inches that would have given him a share of the lead.

"I had a really efficient front nine," said Funk, who made the turn with a 30. "I got everything out of that front nine. Obviously, shooting 5 under's great. I'm playing really good. I'm playing solid, close to playing really, really good, and it's more — it's fun just to play."

Magee extended his streak without a three-putt to 190 holes, the third-longest run on the Champions Tour this year.

Defending champion Kenny Perry (Lone Oak, WKU) and Bernard Langer topped a group at 68.


Swimmer Phelps sinks 153-foot putt

Michael Phelps can putt a little, too. The Olympic swimming great upstaged some of golf's finest players Friday by sinking an astonishing 153-foot putt during the second round of team play at the Dunhill Links Championship in St. Andrews, Scotland.

The putt came after Phelps drove the front edge of the green on the par-4 sixth hole at Kingsbarn. He then stepped up with his putter for his second shot, stroked the ball and watched as it rolled and rolled downhill and into the cup.

It took about 17 seconds for the ball to land in the hole, or slightly quicker than it takes Phelps to swim 50 yards.

"That was the longest putt I've ever holed," said the winner of 18 Olympic gold medals. "It was pretty incredible, watching it dive in was a pretty cool feeling."

Branden Grace shot a 5-under 67 and extended his lead to five shots after the second round of the Dunhill Links Championships.

Blixt, de Jonge share lead in Las Vegas

Jonas Blixt shot his second straight 7-under 64 on Friday for a share of the second-round lead with Brendon de Jonge in the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas.

De Jonge followed his opening 62 with a 66 to match Blixt at 14-under 128 after two rounds in perfect conditions in the Fall Series opener. Blixt, from Sweden, and de Jonge, from Zimbabwe, are winless on the PGA Tour.

Ryan Moore, the former UNLV player who matched the TPC Summerlin record Thursday with a 61, was a stroke back after a 68.

John Daly was 10 under after a 63, matching his lowest score of the year. At 132nd on the money list, the two-time major champion is trying to move into the top 125 to secure full playing privileges for next season.


UK sports

ESPN series to follow UK men's basketball

An Oct. 17 premiere is planned for a new ESPN sports series that will follow Kentucky Coach John Calipari and the basketball team as they prepare for the 2012 season, UK announced Friday.

All-Access Kentucky will be 30 minutes weekly and air at 7 p.m. Wednesdays, the university's news release said. The first three episodes are scheduled for Oct. 17, 24 and 31.

"The episodes will chronicle teaching six new players the Kentucky system and trying to mold high school superstars into instant national champions, all while recruiting the class of 2013," UK said.

Kentucky won the NCAA championship earlier this year.

"With many new players on the Wildcats this year, there is enormous interest surrounding this team," said Norby Williamson, ESPN's executive vice president of programming and acquisitions. His comments were included in the news release. "All-Access Kentucky gives us an opportunity to deliver something entertaining and unique that helps bring fans closer to a sport they love."

SportsCenter, ESPN.com and SportsNation will feature segments and highlights from the program.

Volleyball wins fourth straight in SEC

Kentucky's volleyball team swept host Mississippi —25-17, 25-18, 25-19 — on Friday night for its fourth consecutive victory. The loss for the Rebels was their first in the Gillom Sports Center this season. Kentucky got a team-high 11 kills from sophomore Lauren O'Conner and the Cats had 45 kills.

"We were very focused tonight and stayed poised on the road," UK Coach Craig Skinner said. "Kayla (Tronick) did a great job coming in for us tonight and getting some big kills and blocks."

Tronick, making her first career start, had 10 kills.

UK will play at No. 11 Florida at 3 p.m. Sunday.

■ The UK athletics department had a grand opening for its new outdoor track and field facility on Friday. "Our new outdoor track will help us attract some of the best student-athletes in the nation as we aim to compete at the highest levels of intercollegiate competition," Coach Edrick Floreal said. "It also will give us the opportunity to host elite outdoor high school and intercollegiate meets, as we currently do indoors at the Nutter Field House."


NBA

Celtics lose pre-season opener in Turkey

The Boston Celtics lost the first game of the NBA's pre-season Friday, 97-91 to Turkish team Fenerbahce Ulker in Istanbul.

First-round draft pick Jared Sullinger and Jeff Green scored 16 points each, but the Celtics paid the price for a weak second quarter, getting outscored 29-18.

Rajon Rondo had 13 points and nine assists, while Jason Terry, one of a handful of new players on the roster, scored 12. However, 25 turnovers showed there's work to be done before the Celtics' next exhibition game Sunday in Milan, against Emporio Armani.


The last word

If there's a racetrack in the Chase that can be a massive game changer, Clint Bowyer says Talladega is it. Bowyer, who won the last two fall races at the Alabama track, hopes Sunday's race affords him the opportunity to gain significant ground on the three drivers ahead of him in the standings, Chase leader Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin. Bowyer said:

"I think this track is the reason why everybody in the Chase is still in it. This is the only track that all of us can get wiped out, or maybe all of us but one or two. ... This is one that can swing 20, 30 points and take you out of the running or push you into it. ... It's such a thrill to be able to go around there and know that the storm is brewing, and all hell is fixing to break loose, and you're fixing to be a part of it."

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