Other Sports

Sports briefs: Oct. 4

Golf

Watson shoots 64, leads Senior Players by 4 shots

Tom Watson is feeling good and likes his golf game these days.

The 60-year-old Watson celebrated his one-year anniversary from successful left hip surgery by shooting a 6-under 64 and building a four-stroke lead Saturday at the Senior Players Championship in Timonium, Md.

Watson, bidding to become the oldest major winner on the Champions Tour, attacked the Baltimore Country Club course and put together a bogey-free round — he's made only one during the tournament — with six birdies to finish at 12-under 198 and four shots clear of Loren Roberts (65), John Cook (65) and Mark Wiebe (66).

Watson nearly won the British Open back in July, but a balky putter on the 72nd hole cost him the Claret jug. Now, Watson said he's more confident on the greens and, three months removed from his dramatic performance at Turnberry, happy about his play.

He's also healthier. Last season, Watson walked with a limp and had trouble sleeping because of pain in his hip. After the surgery, Watson said he immediately saw results.

"I heard a lot of good things about hip replacement, people getting great results and having more flexibility, more range of motion," he said. "I can get up on a horse, over a fence, all kinds of things now. It is something, to think you've got this metal, ceramic piece of merchandise in there. It works so well, I hope it lasts a long time."

Ochoa in LPGA lead, teen drops back

Defending champion Lorena Ochoa shot a 6-under 66 on Saturday to take a three-stroke lead in the Navistar LPGA Classic in Pratt-ville, Ala., leaving 14-year-old Alexis Thompson eight strokes behind. Ochoa birdied six of her final 12 holes in the bogey-free round.

"It was a good day," Ochoa said. "I didn't make birdies early. I think my first birdie was on hole No. 7. Once I made that, then I just give myself more of a better feeling and a good rhythm. I birdied No. 8, the par 5, and No. 9, so I think that was a really important part of my round, just to be on the red numbers for the day and to see my name out there on the board."

Thompson, the Florida ninth-grader who was part of a five-way tie for the second-round lead, had a 74 to drop into a tie for 13th at 8 under.

"It's just one of those days that your game is off. That's golf," Thompson said. " I mean, you have those days where it just doesn't feel right, and that's what it was like. I probably had like 10 duck hooks out there. I was just like, 'Wow, that's not very good.' But, you know what, it happens."

She had a double bogey on the par-4 sixth.

"I really don't know where that drive was," Thompson said. "It had to be the biggest duck hook I've ever seen."

Scott Piercy shot a 6-under 66 on Saturday for a share of the lead with Matt Kuchar after the third round of the Turning Stone Resort Championship in Verona, N.Y. Kuchar shot a 67.

Second-round leader Vaughn Taylor struggled, shooting a 71 to drop into a tie for sixth at 11 under.

■ Gale force winds forced the postponement of the PGA European Tour's third round at the Dunhill Links Championship without a shot being played. With all three venues — The Old Course, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns — deemed unplayable Saturday, the possibility of any action was abandoned before 10 a.m. local time in St. Andrews, Scotland.

The third round will now be played on Sunday with the final round scheduled for Monday. There was a three-way tie for the lead after Friday's second round, with Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy and Michael Hoey along with Richie Ramsay of Scotland all 11 under.

■ University of Kentucky junior Brian Belden posted back-to-back 69s and is tied for seventh after two rounds of the Gary Koch Intercollegiate in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday. Kentucky is 12th overall.

NHL

Crosby gets best of rookie in shootout

■ Sid the Kid took the storybook ending away from prized rookie John Tavares and the New York Islanders. Sidney Crosby, who scored a goal in the first period, netted the deciding tally in the shootout and gave defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh a 4-3 victory on Saturday night. Tavares got nearly everything he hoped for in his NHL debut, scoring a go-ahead goal and adding an assist.

■ Two-time league MVP Alex Ovechkin converted on a breakaway 77 seconds into Washington's home opener, Alexander Semin added two goals, and free-agent additions Mike Knuble and Brendan Morrison also scored, helping the Capitals beat Toronto 6-4.

■ The Chicago Blackhawks used three power-play goals to beat Florida 4-0 Saturday in Helsinki after losing the season opener the previous day in a shootout. Pleasing the crowd of 12,000, Chicago played Antti Niemi, a Finnish goalkeeper, in place of Cristobal Huet, and he stopped all 23 shots he faced.

Rostislav Klesla celebrated a new four-year contract extension by scoring a goal midway through the third period to push host Columbus past Minnesota 2-1 in the season opener for both teams.

Craig Anderson stopped 35 shots, and the Colorado Avalanche beat visiting Vancouver 3-0.

Etc.

Sharapova wins when Jankovic retires

Maria Sharapova won her first tournament since returning from a 10-month injury layoff when Jelena Jankovic retired because of an arm injury in the first set of the Toray Pan Pacific final Saturday in Tokyo. Sharapova was up 5-2 when the seventh-seeded Serb took a timeout to have her right arm examined by the trainer. Jankovic returned to the court and lost the first two points of the eighth game before retiring.

■ Kansas basketball junior guard Brady Morningstar was suspended for the first semester after his arrest on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Kansas Turnpike spokeswoman Lisa Callahan said Morningstar was stopped early Saturday on the Kansas Turnpike near the East Lawrence interchange. Calls to Kansas athletics officials were not immediately returned.

The last word

Cincinnati Bengals rookie inside linebacker Rey Maualuga was carted off in the third quarter of last Sunday's victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers with a sprained knee ligament, but he returned on the next series. Said Maualuga:

"Some say I had heart for finishing the game. But our motto is 'Not dead, can't quit.' I'm not bleeding to death and my leg didn't get chopped off, so why not go out there?"

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