Watson edges Simpson in playoff for second win of year
Bubba Watson overcame a three-stroke deficit over the final eight holes of regulation and beat Webb Simpson in a playoff Sunday in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans for his second PGA Tour victory of the year and third of his career.
Watson had a little luck. Simpson, who remained winless on the PGA Tour, was left to wonder what might have been if not for an unusual one-stroke penalty on 15 when his ball moved as he was addressing it on the green, less than a foot from the hole.
"I better limit my comments on that rule, because I think it's such a bad rule," said Simpson, who seemed to think windy conditions, combined with relatively dry, hard greens, caused the ball to move. "When the wind or other natural things affect the golf ball, the player shouldn't be penalized. ... It was just unfortunate, but Bubba deserves a win, and I'm pretty happy for him."
Watson, also the winner at Torrey Pines in late January, matched Simpson with a 3-under 69 to finish at 15-under 273 at TPC Louisiana in Avondale. Both players birdied the 18th on the first extra hole, with Watson making a 12-foot putt to force the second playoff.
After his 329-yard drive narrowly stayed out of the water and landed in a fairway bunker, Watson hit his second shot 210 yards to the green on the 568-yard, par-5 18th. Simpson's second shot landed in a bunker short of the green, and he blasted out to 12 feet.
After Simpson narrowly missed his birdie putt, Watson holed out for the victory.
Top-ranked Westwood wins Ballatine's
Top-ranked Lee Westwood rallied to win the Ballantine's Championship for his second straight victory, shooting a 5-under 67 on Sunday for a one-stroke victory over Miguel Angel Jimenez. Westwood, the English star who won the Asian Tour's Indonesian Masters last week to regain the No. 1 spot in the world, finished at 12-under 276 at Blackstone Resort in Seoul, South Korea.
■ Maria Hjorth rallied to win the Avnet LPGA Classic for her fifth tour title as Alexis Thompson's bid to become the youngest winner crumbled amid errant, water-logged shots. Hjorth shot her second straight 5-under 67 to finish at 10-under 278, two strokes ahead of Song-Hee Kim (71) on The Crossings course at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail's Magnolia Grove complex in Mobile, Ala. The 16-year-old Thompson, tied for the lead with Kim entering the round, had a 78 to drop into a tie for 19th at 1 under. Thompson opened and closed with bogeys and had double bogeys after her ball went into the water on Nos. 14 and 15.
■ Monday qualifier Ted Potter Jr. won the South Georgia Classic on Sunday for his first Nationwide Tour title, closing with a 4-under 68 for a three-stroke victory over Mathew Goggin. Potter had a tournament-record 16-under 272 total on the Kinderlou Forest Golf Club course in Valdosta, earning $112,500 and a full Nationwide Tour membership.
Transy wins 5th-straight league golf title
Led by tournament runner-up Justin Tereshko and third-place finisher Clay Hinton, the Transylvania men's golf team won their fifth consecutive Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference championship Sunday in Anderson, Ind. Tereshko had a four-round score of 20-over 308, three shots behind medalist Eric Whitaker of Franklin. Hinton finished two strokes behind Tereshko to earn HCAC freshman-of-the-year honors. Transy finished 28 strokes ahead of second-place Mount St. Joseph. Transy's Brian Lane was named coach of the year.
EKU loses assistant basketball coach
Eastern Kentucky University basketball assistant Everick Sullivan has left the Colonels' staff to take an assistant coaching position at Georgia State. The former Louisville guard spent the past three seasons as an assistant in Richmond and was promoted to associate head coach last summer. Sullivan will work under first-year coach Ron Hunter, who was hired away from IUPUI in March.
Part of UCLA court sells for $325,000
The original center court jump circle from UCLA's Pauley Pavilion netted $325,085 at auction. SCP Auctions said Sunday that it's the most someone has ever paid for any piece of college basketball memorabilia. The 12-foot jump circle was used from 1965 to 1982 by the men's teams that won eight national championships and the women's team that won the 1978 national title. Former UCLA coach John Wooden and some of his greatest players, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton, signed the piece while it was in storage. The names of the buyer and the UCLA alum who sold the piece were not released.
Tornado-affected athletes to get benefits
Alabama is being allowed to help athletes left homeless by a massive tornado under what's commonly called the NCAA's "Katrina waiver." Alabama compliance director Mike Ward said the NCAA granted Alabama status to provide impacted athletes with benefits not normally allowed, though it hasn't yet received an official waiver.
Athletic department spokesman Doug Walker told The Birmingham News in a story Sunday that a couple of dozen Crimson Tide athletes are homeless. He said most are being helped by friends or have headed home since final exams were canceled. "But obviously we have a long-term issue," Walker said. "We're working toward a long-term solution within the guidelines. The NCAA has been helpful and the SEC has been very helpful."
Sharapova needs three sets to advance
Caroline Wozniacki easily advanced to the second round of the Madrid Open on Sunday, while Maria Sharapova had to rally to beat Arantxa Rus 2-6, 6-3, 6-2. The top-seeded Wozniacki did not give Ayumi Morita of Japan a single break opportunity and rolled to a 6-2, 6-3 win at the clay-court event. The eighth-seeded Sharapova won on her second match point when Rus netted a forehand.
■ Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic defeated Feliciano Lopez 7-6 (4), 6-2 to win the Serbia Open for his fifth title and 27th consecutive victory this season.
■ Nikolay Davydenko won his second BMW Open title by beating Florian Mayer of Germany 6-3, 3-6, 6-1. The seventh-seeded Russian also won the Munich tournament in 2004.
The last word
Chicago White Sox captain Paul Konerko, after the team's franchise-worst 18th loss in April:
"It's not one of those things where a rah-rah speech is going to make it happen."