Sports briefs: Sept. 23

September 23, 2013 

Tour Championship Golf

Sweden's Henrik Stenson tipped his hat after his Tour Championship title and FedEx Cup win, worth a $10 million bonus.

DAVID GOLDMAN — AP

Golf Stenson moves to 4th in world after Tour Championship win

Henrik Stenson capped off the best stretch of his career Sunday with the biggest payoff in golf.

Stenson held off a brief challenge by 20-year-old Jordan Spieth and closed with a 2-under 68 to win the Tour Championship by three shots over Spieth and Steve Stricker. The 37-year-old Swede also captured the FedEx Cup and its $10 million bonus. Stenson earned $1.44 million for winning the tournament.

Stenson, who two years ago was outside the top 200, moved to No. 4 in the world.

Spieth left one lasting impression on his remarkable rookie season. The youngest player in Tour Championship history ran off four straight birdies on the back nine at East Lake and pulled within one shot of Stenson with his 10-footer on the 16th.

Spieth caught a buried lie in the bunker short of the 17th green and made bogey, while Stenson steadied himself with an 8-foot birdie on the par-5 15th to return his lead to three shots. Stenson only made it easy at the end with three pars — nearly holing out from the bunker right of the 16th green, hitting a scary shot from the right fairway bunker on the 17th to the middle of the green, and saving par from another bunker on the 18th.

Spieth closed with a 64, while Stricker had a 65.

Stenson, who finished at 13-under 267, became the first European to win the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup.

"Since the Scottish Open, it's been just an incredible run," he said. "I'm speechless. It was a tough day out there. To hang in there the way I did, I'm really satisfied. ... It hasn't quite sunk in yet. I had to fight hard mentally to keep all this aside, and I managed to do that. It's going to feel better as the week goes on. I'm pretty sure about that."

Tiger Woods, the No. 1 seed going into the Tour Championship, never recovered from his 73-71 start. He closed with a 67 to tie for 22nd, his worst finish ever at East Lake, and wound up second in the FedEx Cup. That still was worth a $3 million bonus.

• Julien Quesne of France made five birdies on the back nine to win the Italian Open by one stroke Sunday for his second European Tour victory. The 33-year-old Quesne began the day four shots off the lead and looked out of contention when he double-bogeyed the second hole. But he got one shot back on the fourth, another at the sixth and then stormed home in 31 for a 5-under 67 at the Circolo Golf Torino.

Tiger Woods wrapped up at least one award as player of the year. Woods has won the PGA of America's points-based award for player of the year on the strength of his five PGA Tour victories, the money title and the Vardon Trophy.

Adam Scott would have had to win the Tour Championship and the Vardon Trophy for the race to end in a tie.

Woods had 90 points — 10 points for each of his five wins, 20 points each for the money title and Vardon Trophy for lowest adjusted scoring average.

It was the 11th time that Woods won PGA player of the year, and ninth time he won the Vardon. He had not won either award since 2009, the year that ended with his personal life unraveling.


UK sports

Men's soccer falls in finals

South Florida struck for goals in each half and held on to post a 2-0 win over the Kentucky men's soccer team in the finale of the Gamecock Classic, hosted by South Carolina, on Sunday afternoon.

The Wildcats finished with advantages in shots and corner kicks for the second consecutive game in Columbia. UK had an 11-6 advantage in shots and an 8-2 mark in corner kicks. The Bulls managed just three shots on goal, but two connected for goals.

• On the final day of the Mason Rudolph Championship, the University of Kentucky women's golf team combined to shoot a 10-over par, 298 to finish the tournament in 10th place at 35-over par overall.

UCLA took home the team championship with a three-day total of 14-under par.

UK senior Liz Breed was the top finisher in a tie for 13th for the Wildcats at two-over par (218).


NBA

Rose ready to hit ground running

Derrick Rose believes he's ready to dominate again and help the Chicago Bulls contend for a championship.

With training camp set to open this week, the former MVP point guard says there are no lingering issues with his surgically repaired left knee.

Rose says it might take one game or "five games, 10 games" to regain his rhythm. He also thinks it will be a "smooth process."

Rose spoke Sunday before a youth event at the United Center to promote next month's launch of his latest signature adidas basketball shoe and apparel.


Tennis Venus dominates in Pan Pacific

Venus Williams overpowered Mona Barthel of Germany 6-3, 6-1 on Sunday to advance to the second round of the Pan Pacific Open.

Williams needed just 1 hour, 4 minutes at Ariake Colosseum to dispatch Barthel and set up a second-round matchup with top-seeded Victoria Azarenka, who has a first-round bye.

Top-ranked Serena Williams, who won her 17th Grand Slam singles title at the U.S. Open, pulled out of the $2.3 million tournament, saying she needed time to recover from a busy summer playing schedule.

No. 3-ranked Maria Sharapova also pulled out of the Tokyo tournament because of a right-shoulder injury that kept her out of the U.S. Open.

In other matches, ninth-seeded Sloane Stephens of the United States beat Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland 6-3, 6-2 while 12th-seeded Samantha Stosur of Australia came from a set down for a 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 win over Alize Cornet of France. Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium, seeded 14th, defeated Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic, 7-6 (4), 7-5.


The last word

Antrel Rolle is hardly ever at a loss for words. The Giants safety and defensive captain has never met dead air he couldn't fill with some phrase or explanation. But after New York got spanked by the Panthers in what could be considered a "must-win" game, it was the simplest question anyone could ask Sunday that caused him to pause. For seven seconds. Without saying a word.

What is going on?

"Hmm. ... There's not too much going on right now."

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