Sports briefs, July 13

July 13, 2014 

Golf

Harman in final PGA pairing

Brian Harman is going to play in the final pairing of a PGA Tour stop for the first time. His playing partner is one accomplished part-timer.

Harman had two eagles in a 6-under 65 on Saturday that gave him a one-stroke lead after three rounds of the John Deere Classic.

Harman's solid performance got him to 17-under 196 at TPC Deere Run. His partner on Sunday will be three-time Deere winner Steve Stricker, who is all alone in second, one stroke better than Scott Brown.

"I pay attention to what Steve's doing, but don't base my game on his," said Harman, who was grouped with Stricker and Johnson Wagner in the third round. "He's had a lot of success here."

Stricker, who shot a 7-under 64 for a three-round total of 197, is 116 under par in his last 23 rounds at TPC Deere Run, including victories in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Brown is third after a 10-under 61, matching the best round on the PGA Tour in 2014.

Phil Mickelson never tires of expressing his affection for Scottish links courses — but he won't be taking away any fond memories of the 18th hole at Royal Aberdeen this week.

The chances of the American retaining his Scottish Open title looked doubtful on Saturday after he bogeyed No. 18 for the third straight round.

That completed a third round of 1-under 70 and left him a long way off the pace in the warm-up for the British Open, which he also won last year for a memorable links double.

 One year later, Inbee Park is still chasing history at the Women's British Open. Instead of trying to win an unprecedented fourth straight major, Park has a chance to become only the seventh woman to win four of the LPGA's majors.

On the tough opening stretch at Royal Birkdale, she ran off three birdies that sent her to a 4-under 68. Then, Park went from a one-shot deficit to a one-shot lead when Ahn Sun-Ju was penalized two shots after her round for building a stance in the bunker on the 18th hole.

The 18 holes remaining could be a sprint among a dozen players. Park had a one-shot lead over a pair of major champions — Suzann Pettersen of Norway (68) and Shanshan Feng of China (69) — along with Ahn. Julieta Granada (72) and Amelia Lewis (71) were another shot behind.

 Several years ago, a rare skin disorder left Gene Sauers unsure if he would survive. Now he has a chance to win the U.S. Senior Open.

Sauers crept up on the field and shot a 3-under 68 on Saturday to take a three-stroke lead after three rounds at Oak Tree National. He moved to 7 under, passing front-runners Bernhard Langer, Scott Dunlap and Colin Montgomerie along the way.

The journey to this opportunity is what makes Sunday's final round extra special for the 51-year-old Sauers. He said a reaction to a wrongly prescribed medication caused Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a disorder that burned the skin on his arms and legs from the inside out.

While he was in the hospital for seven weeks recovering, he pictured his golf swing. He got out of the hospital in June 2011 and eventually returned to the course.

"The good Lord said, 'I'm going to give you another chance,'" Sauers said. "Bogey doesn't matter that much anymore. That's when I learned to have a great time and tried to hit everything I was capable of doing, and it worked out today."

Langer, Dunlap and Montgomerie are tied for second at 4-under.

Horse racing

Hangover Kid takes Bowling Green by head

Hangover Kid edged Grandeur by a head Saturday in the $200,000 Bowling Green Handicap on the turf at Belmont Park.

Jose Lezcano was aboard for trainer Jason Servis as the 6-year-old got his seventh win in 24 starts. Third for much of the race while tucked on the rail, Hangover Kid found an opening in the deep stretch and accelerated through for the biggest win of his career.

The time was 2:28.18 for the mile-and-a-half on the firm course.

Hangover Kid paid $11.40, $3.90 and $3. Grandeur, the 3-5 favorite, returned $2.50 and $2.10 while Sky Blazer paid $4.40 to show.

 NFL star Wes Welker was at the home of British racing. Consider his day incomplete.

The wide receiver for the Denver Broncos had a horse running at Newmarket in the Group 1 July Cup on Saturday. Undrafted, however, finished fourth.

Undrafted won the $300,000 Jaipur Invitational at Belmont Park in June. Welker named the 4-year-old gelding as a reminder of his status as an undrafted player when he joined the NFL.

Ridden by Frankie Dettori and trained by U.S.-based Wesley Ward, Undrafted went off at 25-1 odds. The winner was the favorite Slade Power.

Welker is a big racing fan, having cashed successful a wager at this year's Kentucky Derby. His horse Gypsy Robin ran at Royal Ascot in 2011.

Minor League baseball

Suns wallop Legends

Carlos Garcia and Mauricio Ramos each doubled for the Legends as the Hagerstown Suns thumped host Lexington 8-2.

The Legends didn't score until the seventh inning on a sacrifice fly by Chad Johnson, when the Suns had already built an 8-0 lead thanks in part to a five-run seventh.

Tennis

Hall of Fame opens doors for Davenport

Lindsay Davenport remembers picking up a tennis racket as a child and the feeling that came with the ease of a powerful return. After giving up on two other sports, she found something she liked.

On Saturday, she reached her sport's highest honor with her induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Davenport spent 98 weeks ranked No. 1. She won the 1998 U.S. Open, 1999 Wimbledon, 2000 Australian Open and 1996 Olympic gold medal to go with three major doubles titles. She finished the end of four years ranked No. 1.

Davenport enters the hall with five-time Paralympic medalist Chantal Vandierendonck in the recent player category, coach Nick Bollettieri, executive Jane Brown Grimes and broadcaster John Barrett in the contributor category.

"Hitting the ball and making contact was always something that came very natural to me," Davenport said during a news conference. "It was a blessing. It happened at a very young age. I didn't realize that it was that hard to do and I had a special talent, and it took a long time to put that all together.

"That's what made it so fun to me, the sound and what I could do with the shots and see how hard I could hit them," she added. "Everything else about the game took work and was a struggle, but that was something and that was the reason why I fell in love with it."

The last word

Just a few hours after arriving in Brazil, LeBron James sized up the World Cup final and said it trumps the NBA Finals.

"This is the highest you can get. This is bigger than the NBA Finals in the sense that it's the world and you have so many countries here."

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