Zach Johnson grabs lead in World Challenge; Tiger 4 back
Zach Johnson birdied four of the par 5s and shot a 5-under 67 to take a one-shot lead Thursday over Matt Kuchar in the World Challenge in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Only five players in the elite 18-man field managed to break par at Sherwood Country Club. One of them was tournament host Tiger Woods, who had a new driver in the bag and missed only two fairways. The problem was his putter, including a short birdie attempt that missed on the last hole. He had a 71.
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Kuchar hit his approach to 2 feet on the final hole for a 68.
■ England's Luke Donald topped the Nedbank Golf Challenge leader board at 5 under when first-round play was suspended for the day because of lightning in Sun City, South Africa. Donald completed 11 holes at Gary Player Country Club.
■ Ireland's David Higgins shot a 6-under 64 to take a one-stroke lead in the Hong Kong Open. Italy's Andrea Pavan was second in the event sanctioned by the European and Asian tours.
■ Jaye Marie Green shot a 4-under 68 to increase her lead to five strokes after the second round of the LPGA Tour's qualifying tournament in Daytona Beach, Fla. The 19-year-old Green had a 14-under 130 total at LPGA International. She played the Hills Course on Thursday after shooting a course-record 62 on Wednesday on the Jones Course.
■ Cherry Blossom Golf & Country Club in Georgetown chose not to host an NGA Tour event next summer because of sponsorship and scheduling factors. The NGA Tour released its 2014 schedule on Wednesday, and its Kentucky stop will be at Shelbyville Country Club on May 19-25.
The NGA Tour played a tournament in Georgetown the last few years, but Cherry Blossom general manager Luther Conley said his course "chose to back off for this one year. We lost several major sponsors in this tough economy."
Cherry Blossom will host the State Amateur for the first time on June 16-20, and Conley said it would be difficult to also put on an NGA Tour event a few weeks earlier. Conley said there's a chance the NGA Tour could return to Cherry Blossom in the future.
Lexington Catholic girls win
High school: Rachel Blake scored 21 points to lead Lexington Catholic past visiting Rowan County 60-42. The winners outshot the Lady Vikes 59 percent to 35 percent.
■ Trent Gilbert poured in 30 points to lead Scott County past Ryle 73-64. The game was tied at halftime but the Cardinals pulled away with a seven-point bulge in the third quarter.
■ Matt Rose led the way with 15 points as Lexington Christian held off Louisville Christian 63-62. Depth helped, as LCA's bench outscored the Louisville school's 30-17.
■ NBA: Carmelo Anthony had 19 points and 10 rebounds as the Knicks ended a nine-game losing streak with 113-83 romp over Brooklyn in the first meeting of the season between the city rivals.
Tebow gets offer from Italian team
Tim Tebow has been offered a four-month contract for $200,000 to play for the Milano Seamen in the Italian federation for American football. Tebow was cut by the New England Patriots before this NFL season. He would be the most prominent player to appear in the Italian league — by far.
The Seamen, who lost to Parma 51-28 in last season's title game, have the league's largest stadium, with 8,000 seats.
■ Two former Missouri football players are suing the NCAA in federal court over the lingering effects of head injuries they say they suffered decades ago, joining a cascade of recent lawsuits against college sports' governing body related to traumatic brain injuries.
Tony VanZant and Sharron Washington, played for Missouri from 1987 to 1991. Washington was a hard-hitting defensive back who was twice featured in ESPN's "Hit of the Week" during the 1991 season, according to the suit. That was the same year he set a school record for most solo tackles in a season, including 18 in a game against Illinois. Washington said he remained dizzy for a week after that game. Both say they still suffer headaches, depression and other traumatic ailments.
■ Minnesota Vikings cornerback Chris Cook has been fined $26,250 for contact with an official, per NFL guidelines. Cook told reporters Wednesday his agent has filed an appeal with the league. He said he realizes he has to keep his composure in those situations and added a "guarantee it will not happen again."
Cook was upset in the third quarter Sunday, accusing Chicago wide receiver Alshon Jeffery of offensive pass interference and complaining there was no call during the incompletion. Two plays later, Jeffery beat Cook for a 46-yard touchdown, and Cook confronted side judge Laird Hayes, inadvertently touching his arm. That drew him a 15-yard penalty and an ejection from the game.
The Vikings rallied to beat the Bears 23-20 in overtime.
Hall of Fame changes eligibility rules
NASCAR has made sweeping eligibility changes to the Hall of Fame election process, including tweaks that make both Bill Elliott and Mark Martin immediately in line for induction.
Among the six changes announced Thursday is that drivers are now eligible if they have competed for 30 or more years in NASCAR or have turned 55 in the calendar year before nominating day.
The previous rule made drivers eligible after they'd been retired for three years. Now drivers can continue to compete without compromising eligibility. The ballot will also include only 20 nominees, down five from the first five classes.
UK volleyball hosting 2 rounds of tourney
The No. 17 University of Kentucky volleyball team will host the first and second games of the NCAA Tournament Friday and Saturday in Memorial Coliseum.
The Wildcats play Duquesne Friday at 7:30 p.m. after No. 20 Michigan State and Ohio square off at 5 p.m. The winners meet Saturday at 7 p.m. in the second round with a chance to advance to the NCAA Regionals, hosted by UK on Dec. 13-14.
Duquesne, the Atlantic 10 Conference champions, were 20-9.
■ Former Giro d'Italia winner Danilo Di Luca was banned from cycling for life following a third doping offense, joining Lance Armstrong as one of the highest-profile riders to be kicked out of the sport. He was also fined $50,000.
The 37-year-old Di Luca tested positive for the blood booster EPO in a surprise test in April, five days before this year's Giro.
■ The Minnesota Twins have signed former Yankees right-hander Phil Hughes to a $24 million, three-year contract. The Twins reached agreement with Hughes last week and finished it on Thursday after the 27-year-old passed his physical. Hughes went 4-14 with a 5.19 ERA for the Yankees last season.
The Twins are hoping that a move out of hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium to spacious Target Field will help Hughes rediscover the promise he showed earlier in his career. Hughes was a first-round draft pick and an All-Star in 2010.
The last word
Florida State might be a 28-point favorite over Duke in the Atlantic Coast Conference football championship game, but don't tell Duke's All-ACC safety Jeremy Cash the Blue Devils won't win. After all, his philosophy is:
"When life gives you lemons, make grape juice and and let everyone wonder how you did it."