Mahan storms to Doral lead after 50 mph winds do damage
A storm packing 50 mph gusts toppled two TV towers, uprooted 17 young palm trees and sent the monster scoreboard at the 18th hole crashing to the ground Thursday at Doral.
When the Cadillac Championship resumed, Hunter Mahan and most of the world's best players tore up the golf course.
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The raging wind was replaced by an eerie calm that lasted just long enough to take aim at the Blue Monster. Mahan birdied his opening four holes and kept right on rolling until the opening round was suspended by darkness.
He didn't miss a green, didn't come close to a bogey in his 11 holes and was atop the leader board at 7-under par.
"I guess with that storm, it brought some tranquility to the golf course," Mahan said. "Because there was just no wind. There was nothing out there."
There were plenty of low scores — but not from Tiger Woods. In the group that generated most of the buzz and attracted the largest crowd, Woods and Phil Mickelson scrapped their way around Doral, while U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell kept up with his great short game.
Mickelson made a birdie late in his round and was at 2 under through 15 holes, one shot ahead of Woods and McDowell.
The other featured group — the top three players in the world ranking — lived up to their billing. Martin Kaymer, in his second week as the new No. 1, opened with three straight birdies and was 5 under through 10 holes. Match Play winner Luke Donald (No. 3) birdied the 10th hole to join him at 5 under, while Lee Westwood (No. 2) was at 4 under.
"I had a fantastic start," Kaymer said. "But to be honest, it was not that difficult today. You can see the scores. A bunch of people are under par, so it doesn't seem that difficult."
At 7 under, Mahan was two shots clear of Charley Hoffman, who had a 5-under 67 and was among nine players in the 66-man field who were able to finish the round.
■ James Driscoll shot a 9-under 63 on Thursday in the PGA Tour's Puerto Rico Open, missing a chance to break 60 when he played the final four holes in 2 over. Driscoll has a two-stroke lead over Will MacKenzie. John Daly rallied to shoot a 70. He was 4 over after six holes.
Volquez makes first spring appearance
Madison Bumgarner struck out six in four scoreless innings, and the San Francisco Giants hit three quick home runs off Bronson Arroyo in a 7-0 spring training win over the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday. Bumgarner retired the first 10 Reds before Brandon Phillips singled in the fourth. That was the only hit allowed by Bumgarner.
Edinson Volquez, the Reds' opening-day starter, made his first spring appearance after clearing up a visa problem in the Dominican Republic. Set to go three innings, he reached his pitch count after 21⁄3 innings. "My arm feels good but my body is pretty tired," Volquez said. "I flew out of the Dominican at 7:30 a.m. and didn't get here until 10:30 p.m. I am just happy to get into a game."
Reds reliever Aroldis Chapman gave up a run on two hits in two innings but struck out three.
Berra treated after fall in clubhouse
Yogi Berra was released from a hospital Thursday, hours after the 85-year-old Hall of Famer tripped and fell in the Yankees' clubhouse before a spring training game. The Yankees said Berra went by ambulance to the hospital as a precaution after landing on his backside. General Manager Brian Cashman said Berra caught one of his sneakers on the carpet and fell.
■ Roy Halladay and CC Sabathia both pitched like aces, and the Phillies beat the Yankees 7-0 in a spring training game Thursday. Halladay threw six shutout innings, holding the Yankees to four hits. Sabathia blanked the Phillies on three hits for five innings.
■ Dodgers pitcher Jon Garland is expected to miss at least a month after straining his left side during a spring training game.
■ Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton faced five batters beginning in the sixth and didn't retire one in an 8-2 loss to the Padres. He allowed three hits, walked one and hit a batter.
■ White Sox right fielder Dayan Viciedo is expected to miss two to four weeks after he left Chicago's 7-6 victory over the Rangers with a broken right thumb after being hit by a pitch.
Lockout likely as sides trade barbs
The tension and stakes rose in the NFL labor talks with only a day left before the twice-extended collective bargaining agreement expires, increasing the possibility of the league losing games to a work stoppage for the first time in nearly a quarter-century. With the two sides far apart on key economic issues, nine of the 10 members of the owners' labor committee joined NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday at the office of the federal mediator overseeing the talks — but, the union said, none of the owners met with any players. The loudest words came in the evening, during a series of back-and-forth barbs sparked by league general counsel and lead negotiator Jeff Pash's comments questioning the players' commitment to get a deal done. NFL Players Association spokesman George Atallah responded with an e-mail to The Associated Press that said: "Jeff Pash was part of an executive team that sold the networks a $4 billion ticket to a game they knew wouldn't be played. The only thing they've been committed to is a lockout."
Police open investigation into hit
Montreal police started a criminal investigation Thursday into the on-ice hit by Boston's Zdeno Chara that left the Canadiens' Max Pacioretty with a severe concussion and cracked vertebra. Police said they are acting on a request by Quebec's director of criminal and penal prosecutions, Louis Dionne. They added that after evidence is collected, it will be determined if there are grounds for prosecution. The NHL said it would not suspend Chara for Tuesday night's hit, when he slammed Pacioretty into a glass partition.
The last word
Philadelphia Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel, rewarded with a two-year contract extension Thursday, isn't thinking about retiring any time soon. Said the 67-year-old:
"More than likely I'll probably stay around as long as they'll have me. I don't think I'm going to catch Paterno. I'd like to, but he's got a head start on me."