Former St. X star Thomas in second at U.S. Amateur
Former St. Xavier standout Justin Thomas had an eagle, three birdies and no bogeys in his first round at the U.S. Amateur, which started with 311 other golfers Monday in Aurora, Colo.
Thomas, who was at 5-under par, trails only his University of Alabama teammate Bobby Wyatt, who was at 7 under.
Wyatt birdied four of the first five holes.
"Hopefully, I can play a good round (Tuesday)," Wyatt said. "I am feeling really good about my game right now. Hopefully, I can carry it along all week."
Thomas, the Jack Nicklaus award winner as the top collegiate golfer this past season, did not miss a green during his round.
"I hit it pretty well," Thomas said. "I just took advantage of my scoring opportunities. I'm obviously going to be pleased anytime I shoot a 65."
He also took note of his college teammate's standout round.
"Didn't surprise me at all," Thomas said of Wyatt. "Bobby is an unbelievable player and he's playing really good. I didn't expect anything less from him."
The top 64 finishers will advance to match play, which begins Wednesday and will be played on the 7,409-yard, par-71 course at Cherry Hills Country Club. Any ties will be resolved by a playoff prior to the commencement of match play, which concludes Sunday.
University of Kentucky golfer David Snyder, a Somerset graduate, opened with an even-par round and is tied for 46th.
Love to take time on Ryder Cup picks
Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III filled out his roster of assistants on Monday by adding Scott Verplank and Jeff Sluman. Far more interesting is his decision in three weeks when he picks four Americans who will be hitting shots and trying to win back the cup.
For the first time since 2006, the PGA Championship did nothing to change the standings in the final qualifying event for the U.S. team. Tiger Woods was No. 1 on the list of eight automatic qualifiers, with Phil Mickelson holding down the final spot.
Love announces his four captain's picks Sept. 4, the day after the second FedEx Cup playoff event. He indicated that the next three players in the standings — Hunter Mahan, Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk — were likely selections, calling them "high on the list."
As for the rest of them?
"We have three weeks to watch them," Love said. "We have a chance to watch a guy get hot. How are these guys playing now that they can relax and don't have to try to make points? Now they are shifting gears a little bit. And we want to see how they play. Obviously, we don't have to go tell them that they are under the gun. They know that there's three more tournaments."
Brandt Snedeker and Bill Haas are the only players under serious consideration who are competing this week in Greensboro, N.C. The real emphasis begins the following two weeks at The Barclays, which features the top 125 on the PGA Tour at Bethpage Black; and the Deutsche Bank Championship.
The other qualifiers were Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Master champion Bubba Watson; and Ryder Cup newcomers Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner and U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson. Dufner and Bradley will be playing for the first time in any cup competition.
Belarus shot putter loses gold for doping
Just hours after the close of the Olympics, a female shot putter from Belarus was stripped of her gold Monday in the first case of an athlete losing a medal for doping at the London Games.
With the disqualification of Nadzeya Ostapchuk, the gold medal was awarded to Valerie Adams of New Zealand — who winds up as Olympic champion for the second time in a row.
The International Olympic Committee said Ostapchuk, a former world champion, tested positive for steroids both before and after winning the shot put last week for her first Olympic gold.
After an IOC hearing, she was formally expelled from the games and had her victory and medal removed from the records. She was the eighth athlete, and first medalist, caught during the IOC's London drug-testing program.
"Catching cheats like this sends a message to all those who dope that we will catch them," IOC spokesman Mark Adams said.
Valerie Adams was bumped up from Olympic silver to gold, with Evgeniia Kolodko of Russia upgraded to silver and fourth-place finisher Gong Lijiao of China moved up to bronze.
No Travers for Haskell winner Paynter
Paynter, winner of the Grade I Haskell Invitational last month, will not run in the $1 million Travers at Saratoga Race Course on Aug. 25, owner Ahmed Zayat said Monday. Trained by Bob Baffert, Paynter spiked a fever two days after his Haskell triumph at Monmouth Park and was sent to Mid-Atlantic Equine Medical Center in New Jersey to monitor his treatment. The son of Awesome Again arrived at Belmont Park last Friday with designs on a possible Travers start but the turnaround was deemed too quick.
"This colt is special. Let's not run him in Travers. He won't be ready in time," Zayat posted on his Twitter account.
Paynter finished second to Union Rags by a neck in the Belmont Stakes in what was just his fifth career start. The bay colt then rolled to a 33/4 length Haskell victory over a field that included Grade I winners Dullahan and Gemologist.
Baffert still has Grade I winner Liaison on track for the 1¼-mile Travers. The Indian Charlie colt worked 5 furlongs in 1:00.38 on Saratoga's main track Monday morning.
Expected for the Travers as well are Jim Dandy winner Alpha and runner-up Neck n' Neck; Street Life and Five Sixteen, first and second in the Curlin; Haskell runner-up Nonios and third-place finisher Stealcase; and champion Hansen, most recently fourth in the Grade II West Virginia Derby, along with Cogito, Atigun and possibly Teeth of the Dog, NYRA stakes coordinator Andrew Byrnes said.
■ For the second time in five days, Ramon Dominguez rode four winners at Saratoga to widen his lead in the jockey standings. With 39 wins through the first four weeks of the meet, Dominguez holds an 18-win lead over Javier Castellano and Jose Lezcano, who are tied for second in the jockey standings with 21 wins apiece. Dominguez started the day with a win on Buckeye Heart. Dominguez guided Synthesizer ($40.80 to win) to an upset in the fourth race, then followed that with a victory aboard King David in the fifth. His final win of the day was on Ea in the eighth.
UK starts season ranked 13th in nation
The Kentucky volleyball team was ranked 13th in the American Volleyball Coaches Association's pre-season poll. It's the third time in the past four seasons that the Wildcats will start the season in the top 25. And the ranking matches a program-best by the 1983 squad.
Kentucky starts its season with the Kentucky Classic at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 24, against North Carolina.
Sand Gnats slip past Legends 4-3
Savannah pitchers walked eight batters, but the Sand Gnats held on for a 4-3 victory against the Lexington Legends on Monday night in Georgia. The Legends' batters only managed four hits, two by second baseman Chan Moon.
The last word
New Zealand's Valerie Adams after learning she won the gold medal in the women's shot put at the London Olympics after Belarus' Nadzeya Ostapchuk was disqualified for doping:
"What's happened has happened and what's my feeling towards her? None at all. I don't want to waste any energy on her. What I want to do is enjoy the moment and savor the moment. It's a pity it came out a week later (than the event)."