Sports briefs: July 8

July 8, 2013 

Cycling Tour de France

Christopher Froome of Britain, center, raced through a downhill curve during the ninth stage of the Tour de France Sunday. Froome is the overall leader.

CHRISTOPHE ENA — AP

Golf

Blixt comes from four behind to win Greenbrier at 13 under

Jonas Blixt shot a 3-under 67 on Sunday to win the rain-delayed Greenbrier Classic by two strokes. The Swede emerged from a five-player chase over the final five holes to pick up the $1.1 million winner's check. He also won a spot in the upcoming British Open and next year's Masters.

Blixt overcame a four-shot deficit at the start of the final round and finished at 13 under. Third-round leader Johnson Wagner (73), Australians Steven Bowditch (68) and Matt Jones (68), and Jimmy Walker (71) tied for second.

Blixt went ahead with a 9-foot birdie putt on No. 16 and wrapped up his second tour win with two pars.

Blixt was overcome with emotion after watching Wagner and Walker, needing holes-in-one at No. 18, reach the green but well away from the hole.

The tournament was halted for three hours because of thunderstorms at the Old White TPC course at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va.

Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland won the French Open, shooting a 4-under 67 in the final round to capture his ninth European Tour title by four strokes. McDowell had five birdies and a bogey to finish 9-under 275. The Northern Irishman won the World Match-Play Championship in May, but missed the cut in his three following tournaments.

Richard Sterne of South Africa was second. He made three birdies on the front nine before three bogeys on the back nine.


Tour de France

Froome holds lead; Martin wins stage

Left alone and with his teammates far behind, Chris Froome held off repeated attacks to retain the Tour de France lead Sunday as the three-week race left the Pyrenees mountains.

Dan Martin of Ireland, a 26-year-old Garmin-Sharp rider, won Stage 9 following a two-man sprint against Denmark's Jakob Fuglsang after they escaped Froome and the other pre-race favorites on the last of five tough climbs along the 105-mile trek from Saint-Girons to Bagneres-de-Bigorre in southwest France.

As the race neared its first rest day Monday, Froome was relieved he was able to quash four attacks by Movistar's Nairo Quintana on the last climb — la Hourquette d'Ancizan — despite his Sky teammates lagging behind. They were worn out after a strong team effort to help him win the yellow jersey a day earlier.


Soccer

Messi gets 4 goals in Chicago exhibition

Lionel Messi gave fans a show with four goals to lead his all-star team to a 9-6 victory in Saturday night's Messi & Friends vs. the Rest of the World soccer exhibition in Chicago. Messi played into the 69th minute and left the game to a mixture of cheers and boos from the 25,000 fans at Soldier Field.

The game was the only U.S. appearance in a series of fundraisers for charities Messi is affiliated with.

Originally a four-game series, two games were played in South America, but Wednesday's contest in Los Angeles was canceled after Messi declined to play in a dispute with promoters.

The game was to feature up to 35 international stars, but attracted half that. Nine former Northwestern University players helped filled out the rosters.


NFL

Fans trade in Hernandez jerseys

The doors to the New England Patriots' team store opened 30 minutes ahead of schedule Saturday. That was not the plan, but there was really no choice.

By 9:30 a.m. a line of fans had already snaked around the store to take advantage of the team's weekend-only jersey exchange offer. Fans came with Aaron Hernandez jerseys, either the No. 81 he wore in 2012 and 2011, or the No. 85 he had as a rookie in 2010. Forty miles away in North Dartmouth, Mass., Hernandez sat in jail, charged with first-degree murder.

The fans entered a tent adjacent to the store, directed by a sign reading "Jersey Exchange." They were then given tickets, which entitled them to swap their Hernandez jersey for another player's.

Ninety minutes after the store opened, the Patriots said more than 500 jerseys had been exchanged. By 5 p.m., the number had grown to nearly 1,200. The exchange ended Sunday.

• Police plan to increase security for the Pro Football Hall of Fame parade on Aug. 3 in Canton, Ohio., in response to disorderly conduct along the route last year, when police arrested dozens of people before the parade and accidentally shot and injured one man. Captain Jack Angelo of the Canton police said the city will have more officers on the street and will get help from the State Highway Patrol. He said officers won't tolerate intoxicated or rowdy people causing disruptions along the parade route.

The renovated Hall of Fame will induct seven new members and mark its 50th anniversary to cap a two-year, $27 million expansion and restoration program.


Horse shows

Junior Horse Show set to start

The 77th Junior League Charity Horse Show starts at 6:30 p.m. Monday at The Red Mile in Lexington with almost 1,000 exhibitors from around the world competing for $70,000 in prize money.

Competition will begin at 6:30 every night and day sessions will begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday through Friday.

Tuesday will be Military Appreciation Night and Wednesday is Family Appreciation Night. On Military Appreciation Night members of the military get in for free.

On Family Appreciation Night, a can of food will get you in. The food will be given to God's Pantry food bank. There will also be activities for children including racing stick horses in the ring, riding ponies, and face painting.

Friday there will also a silent auction during and after the show. There will be a ringside party afterward and entertainment by Chad Graham and Thirty Spokes.

The event finishes on Saturday with Championship Night competition in 15 classes.


The last word

ESPN radio host Colin Cowherd tweeted while watching the Boston baseball game Sunday night:

"Every Red Sox player seemingly has a beard. It's like Lincoln is batting 1 thru 9."

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