American Blanks grabs early lead at Canadian Open
American Kris Blanks shot a 3-under 67 to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Canadian Open on Thursday.
Matt McQuillan was the best of 17 Canadians with a 2-under 68, putting the 30-year-old PGA Tour rookie in a tie with 11 players, including Ernie Els.
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Rickie Fowler, Anthony Kim and Lucas Glover — playing together in softer morning conditions — all shot 69 to finish among another group of nine players on a day when only 21 players were under par on the tight tree-lined, 7,010-yard Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club in Vancouver.
Blanks played in the morning, after overnight rain softened the course, making it easier to attack the small greens. But first players had to find the fairway to avoid thick rough many said was tougher than the U.S. Open.
Calcavecchia shares Senior British lead
Mark Calcavecchia defied the afternoon rain to shoot a bogey-free 68 and take a three-way share of the first-round lead at the Senior British Open on Thursday. Bidding to become the fourth player to win both the British Open and the senior version, the 51-year-old American had two birdies on either side of the turn before parring the final five holes. Calcavecchia, winner of the British Open at Troon in 1989, was joined at 4 under by Ireland's Mark McNulty and Australia's Mike Harwood at Walton Heath.
Three-time winner and eight-time major champion Tom Watson shot a 75, which included a double bogey at No. 8 after finding the middle of the fairway off the tee. "I wasted a lot of strokes on the greens today. I made two putts, that's about it," Watson said.
■ Swedish amateur Robert Karlsson shot a 5-under 67 Thursday to share the lead with countryman Alexander Noren and Jaco Van Zyl of South Africa after the first round of the Nordea Masters in Stockholm. Bubba Watson shot a 71 and Dustin Johnson, who shared second place in the British Open on Sunday, had a 73.
■ Former British Open champion Karen Stupples of England shot a 5-under 67 for a share of the first-round lead with Sweden's Maria Hjorth and South Korea's Ahn Shin-ae at the Evian Masters on Thursday. Stupples, who won her only major in 2004, recovered well from a double bogey on the ninth hole to make six birdies for a 30 on the back nine as heavy rain soaked the course at regular intervals during the day.
Schleck now 15 seconds behind leader
Andy Schleck led a daring attack in the Alps to win the 18th stage of the Tour de France on Thursday, putting him within seconds of the yellow jersey and quashing Alberto Contador's hopes of a fourth title. France's Thomas Voeckler, in a show of grit of his own, narrowly kept the lead by muscling up a punishing final climb to limit the damage at the end of the 125-mile trek from Pinerolo, Italy, to the Galibier Serre-Chevalier ski station in France.
Contador started the stage trailing Voeckler by several minutes after a rough start to the three-week race and finished it with a dismal final climb. "Victory is impossible now," he said.
Schleck began the day in fourth place and is now 15 seconds behind Voeckler.
SPORTS IN THE COURTS
Jockey Smith charged with DUI
Police say Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith was arrested for investigation of DUI in San Diego. Smith was arrested Wednesday night, hours after winning the Oceanside Stakes aboard Mr. Commons on Del Mar's opening day. He was booked into the Central Jail and released at 4:02 a.m. Thursday on $2,500 bail. A court date has been set for Sept. 1. Smith rode Zenyatta for the last 17 races of her career, including a loss in the Breeders' Cup Classic that kept the mare from finishing her career with a 20-0 record.
WKU men will play VCU, Louisville
A visit from a Final Four team and a trip to Louisville highlight the 2011-12 Western Kentucky men's basketball schedule released Wednesday. The Hilltoppers will play VCU on Nov. 23 at E.A. Diddle Arena, and it could be the teams' second meeting in a week. Both are in the eight-team Charleston Classic from Nov. 17-20. Louisville will play host to WKU on Dec. 23.
Magic joins Detroit investment effort
Hall-of-Fame basketball player turned businessman Earvin "Magic" Johnson said Thursday joining a Detroit venture capital company that includes Quicken Loans founder and chairman Dan Gilbert is "the right opportunity" to invest in the largest city of his home state. The ex-NBA star and Lansing native will be a general partner in Detroit Venture Partners, an early stage venture capital firm launched by Gilbert and two others last year that targets technology startups and growing them in Detroit.
Tulsa releases ex-sprinter Jones
Former Olympic gold medal-winning sprinter Marion Jones was cut by the WNBA's Tulsa Shock, bringing her future in basketball into question. Jones was averaging less than a point per game in 14 appearances for Tulsa, which is 1-14 heading into the All-Star break.
U.S. beats Czechs in World Cup
Stacy May-Johnson homered, Rhea Taylor had a two-run triple and the United States beat the Czech Republic 7-2 Thursday night in Oklahoma City at the World Cup of Softball. A group of rookie Americans combined to win the team's first international game on U.S. soil this year.
The last word
Chicago Cubs Manager Mike Quade, unhappy that shortstop Starlin Castro lost an infield fly in the sun Wednesday:
"The sun has been in the same damn spot for however long Wrigley Field has been here."