Lowry earns world title with unconventional Bridgestone win
Shane Lowry began daydreaming Sunday morning about lifting the Bridgestone Invitational trophy on the 18th green, and then he would quickly return to reality because he knew there was a long day ahead with world-class players all around him.
Turns out he was right.
He just never could have dreamed how it unfolded.
Lowry hooked one tee shot so far left that he was given a free drop because the 11th tee box was in the way. He opened the face of a pitching wedge to hit over a 50-foot tree and made birdie. Lowry finished the most important round of his career with a sand wedge that he hammered through a tree on the 18th to a little more than 10 feet away for a closing birdie.
Not to be overlooked were two huge par saves that carried him to a 4-under 66 and a two-shot victory over Bubba Watson.
"It's fairly special to do that against such a good field, to shoot bogey-free 66 on a golf course like that," Lowry said. "I know it will stay with me now for the rest of my career. I've done everything I needed to do today."
Watson also closed with a 66. Jim Furyk and Justin Rose, who shared the 54-hole lead, fell behind on the front nine and couldn't catch the 28-year-old Irishman. Both closed with a 72 and tied for third.
■ Jeff Maggert won the Shaw Charity Classic on Sunday for his third Champions Tour title of year, birdieing five of the last six holes on the front nine in a four-stroke victory.
The 51-year-old Texan, two strokes behind playing partners Miguel Angel Jimenez and Colin Montgomerie entering the round, closed with a 6-under 64 at Canyon Meadows to finish at 16-under 194.
Maggert added birdies on the par-5 11th and par-3 14th, dropped a stroke on the par-4 15th and parred the final three holes.
Montgomerie was second after a 70.
■ Martin Piller broke the Digital Ally Open tournament scoring record Sunday, finishing at 26-under 258 for his second Web.Com Tour victory of the year.
The 29-year-old Piller, married to LPGA Tour player Gerina Piller, closed with a 6-under 65 at the Nicklaus Golf Club at LionsGate to break the mark of 21-under 263 set by James Nitties in 2011.
Piller earned $108,000 to jump from fifth to scecond on the money list with $309,549, more than enough for a PGA Tour card next season.
College footballKiffin returning as Tide offensive coordinator
Lane Kiffin is back for Year 2 as Alabama's offensive coordinator, despite being up for at least one NFL job.
Kiffin faces a much different challenge this year with another search for a starting quarterback and no Amari Cooper, but for the Crimson Tide just having him back is good news.
Reportedly a candidate for the San Francisco 49ers' offensive coordinator job, Kiffin stuck with coach Nick Saban and the Tide.
"The calls that come, obviously you're going to listen to them," he said Sunday at Alabama's media day. "I just really felt that we had done so many good things in Year 1, but this chapter wasn't over yet. There's still so many things to learn from Coach.
"Just going into the offseason, it's kind of like being a freshman. I've said that to one of our coaches. I feel like a sophomore now where last year you're a freshman just trying to figure it out, trying to get the scripts ready, get to practice and stuff. Now you really start to understand how and why he does it and why it's so successful."
The former Southern California, Oakland Raiders and Tennessee Volunteers head coach guided one-year starting quarterback Blake Sims to a school record for passing yards en route to the national semifinals.
Now, Kiffin has five quarterbacks to choose from before the opener Sept. 5 against Wisconsin, led by Jake Coker and David Cornwell.
■ Charlotte offensive line coach and Kentuckian Phil Ratliff died Sunday, six days after suffering a cardiac event. He was 44.
Ratliff became the 49ers' offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator on Jan. 1, 2012.
A native of Louisa, Ratliff received his bachelor's degree in elementary education with a specialization in special education from Marshall in 1994. Ratliff played at Marshall from 1989-92 and later coached there. He also coached at James Madison, helping the school win the 2004 NCAA I-AA national championship.
South Lexington wallops Texas team
Samuel Tackett carried the South Lexington 12-year-olds to a 13-1 victory over West Texas in the Cal Ripken/Major 60 World Series on Sunday.
Tackett racked up four RBI on three hits, homering in the first inning and doubling in the second and fourth innings.
On the mound, Tackett gave up just one hit, allowed one earned run, walked one and struck out seven in 22⁄3 innings.
Ben Johnson got two RBI for the Kentucky team, while Jacob Smith added another.
Minor-league baseballLegends rally in 6th to top Drive
The Lexington Legends rallied with four runs in the sixth inning to take the lead and then held on for a 5-4 win over the Greenville Drive Sunday night at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.
Wander Franco drove in three runs for Lexington.
Jake Newberry (3-2) got the win. He worked a scoreless seventh and was relieved by Eric Stout with two outs in the eighth. Stout retired all four hitters he faced to earn his second save.
The last word
Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. made an incredible one-handed catch in practice Saturday, burning the defensive back off the line of scrimmage and then cruising down the left sideline before reaching out with his left hand to pluck the ball out of the air. But Coach Tom Coughlin was not particularly impressed. Said teammate Victor Cruz:
"Coach is old-school. If we had an extra hand to put on the ball, he'd want three hands on it."