Sports briefs: July 24

July 24, 2013 

Former University of Kentucky player Eric Quigley

CHARLIE BAGLAN

Golf Former St. X standout Thomas says he'll turn pro in September

Justin Thomas, a former St. Xavier standout who was the 2012 NCAA Player of the Year as a freshman and an integral part of Alabama's national-title team in 2013, told the Golf Channel that he will turn pro after the Walker Cup in September.

"It was so hard," Thomas, 20, said Monday night. "It was a great two years and I'll never forget what I went through with the team. To win nationals after what happened last year (losing in the 2012 finals), it was kind of the icing on the cake. It was the perfect way to go out."

Thomas, No. 4 in the World Amateur Ranking, told the Golf Channel that his plan after the Walker Cup, a match play tournament featuring the top amateurs from the United States, Great Britain and Ireland, is to try and secure a few sponsor exemptions during the start of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season, and perhaps play a couple of weeks in Europe, before for Q-School.

This will be the first year that Q-School is not a shot at a direct route to the PGA Tour. Instead, the top finishers will receive Web.com Tour cards.

Thomas also still has next week's Western Amateur and the U.S. Amateur (Aug. 12-18) on his schedule.

Thomas has already played in four PGA tournaments and has made the cut three times. His best finish was a tie for 30th at this year's Travelers Championship.

"I feel like I'm ready and thought I was very comfortable in the events that I have played in," Thomas told the Golf Channel. "I'm really excited about the next few months."

J.B. Holmes announced on his Twitter account (@JBHolmesgolf) that he won't return to the PGA Tour this season.

Holmes, who broke an ankle while rollerblading in March, said "Rehab is going well but it looks like I am done for the year."

The former University of Kentucky and Taylor County High School standout added that he wants to be 100 percent before he returns to the tour.


Basketball Davis says he's not a lock for Team USA

The New Orleans Pelicans' Anthony Davis isn't taking anything for granted despite being the only player with Olympic experience at Team USA's camp this week in Las Vegas.

"I don't think I'm a lock at all (for the 2016 Olympics)," Davis told the Chicago Tribune. "I have to earn my spot."

Davis, the No. 1 draft pick in 2012 out of Kentucky, averaged 3.7 points and 2.7 rebounds in the London Olympics.

"It was a great experience," Davis said. "I had a lot of fun, and the guys really taught me a lot about hard work. Hopefully, I can bring everything I learned to mini-camp here and make the national team moving forward."

Davis has also said that, despite his young age, he's becoming a team leader for the Pelicans.

"I know there are guys on the team who are older than me, with more years in the league, but at the same time, you can't be quiet," Davis said. "I try to tell them what I see on the floor and express my opinion, my basketball knowledge."

Coach Monty Williams said he's happy to see Davis evolve.

"He wants to be an All-Star," Williams said. "He wants to be a night-in and night-out guy that you can count on. So he's put the work in. He's also more vocal, and he's stepping out there to show our team that he's not going to sidestep being a leader. I've pushed him to do stuff in his second year that he hasn't been asked to do. And I think that's good for him, because he's a special player."

■ Team USA's mini-camp is located with point guards, including John Wall, Mike Conley, Jrue Holiday, Kyrie Irving, Ty Lawson, Damian Lillard and Kemba Walker. They'll have to find other ways to separate themselves, Coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

He told the group, "Don't come in and everybody try to be a point guard. Try to be a guard," according to a report in USA Today.

"Point guard is the toughest position in the league," Wall said. "It's great to have all these guys here. It makes it more fun. You have to come out and play your best every day you're here because they're going to do the same."

Wall added, "So far, it's been hard to single out any one point guard. Someone's going to have a good day, but I don't feel anyone's had a terrific day every day."


Fifth Third Bank Tennis Championships

Polansky rallies to eliminate Quigley

Canadian Peter Polansky fought off triple match point in a second-set tiebreaker and went on to defeat former University of Kentucky standout Eric Quigley 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-1 at the Fifth Third Bank Tennis Championships on Tuesday night at UK's Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex. Quigley said the home crowd's strong support propelled him in the first set as his powerful first and second serves took Polansky by surprise.

"I knew he was a good player, but I did not expect him to be serving that well," Polansky said. "I could not do much with his serve the first two sets."

Polansky said his only goal at triple match point was to keep Quigley playing another point.

"You never think you can come back so you try and stay calm and lose the right way," he said.

However, Polansky did find a way a win.

"It came down to a point or two (in the second set)," Quigley said, "and that's where his experience came in."


Minor-league baseball

Greenville halts Legends' win streak

The Greenville Drive rallied for two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to defeat the visiting Lexington Legends 5-4 on Tuesday afternoon. The Legends, who had won eight straight games, gave up back-to-back RBI singles to Mario Martinez and Aneury Tavarez. Lexington's Terrence Gore stole two more bases to give him 56.


The last word

After throwing 11 touchdown passes without an interception in a sensational playoff run that ended with a 34-31 win over San Francisco, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco no longer has to prove he is one of the league's elite players. He's the only quarterback in NFL history to win a playoff game in each of his first five seasons, and now he's got the fame — and a paycheck — worthy of such an accomplishment. He said Tuesday:

"I can't really complain at this point. We won last year, I have a lot of money — or I'm going to get a lot of money — and we're going to win football games. That's the way it is around here. We're not going to apologize for acting like a good football team."

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