McNeill grabs share of lead after up-and-down round
George McNeill closed with a double-bogey Saturday and shares the lead with three others entering the final round of the Children's Miracle Network Classic in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
McNeill overcame a five-shot deficit and made two eagles on a cool day at Disney World that made greens fast but easy to reach. He shot a 3-under 69 that left him tied at 203 with Justin Leonard (71), Justin Rose (69) and Mathias Gronberg (66) after three rounds.
"I can't remember the last time I made two eagles in a round," said McNeill, who won the 2007 Frys.com Open for his lone tour title. "So I was pretty excited about those."
■ Tiger Woods lost his three-shot advantage in six holes Saturday in the Australian Masters. By the end of the day, he was happy to simply be tied for the lead with Greg Chalmers and James Nitties. Woods hit one poor shot after another, put himself in bad positions and had to scramble for an even-par 72. The only good news for the world's No. 1 player was that he still had a chance. Woods was scheduled to tee off for his final round at 8:33 p.m. EST. Saturday.
■ Michelle Wie took a share of the lead in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, shooting a 2-under 70 to match Cristie Kerr at 10 under in Guadalajara, Mexico. Winless on the LPGA Tour, Wie had four birdies and two bogeys Saturday. Kerr shot a 67.
■ Paul Casey pulled out of next week's season-ending Dubai World Championship with a rib injury and will miss out on finishing at the top of the European Tour money list. The 32-year-old Englishman had only just returned to action after being sidelined for three months with an injury he picked up practicing for the British Open in July and was fifth in the Race to Dubai. He returned for the World Match Play Championship in Spain two weeks ago but then withdrew in the final round of last week's HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai.
Djokovic ousts Nadal at Paris Masters
Novak Djokovic overpowered Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-3 Saturday to reach the Paris Masters finals for the first time. He will face Gael Monfils of France on Sunday. Monfils advanced to the finals with a 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 win over Radek Stepanek.
Djokovic is 3-0 overall against Monfils.
"He is one of the players who is very unpredictable," Djokovic said. "He can play really, really fast. And with a big serve, he can do a lot of damage to opponents."
The third-ranked Djokovic was dominant from the start and didn't face a single break point en route to the victory over Nadal. Winning 83 percent of first-serve points, Djokovic also had 31 winners.
"I felt so good on the court that all the shots I hit transformed into winners," Djokovic said. "It was perfect, exactly the way I wanted."
Djokovic defeated Nadal for the second consecutive time to improve his overall record to 6-14 against him. He reached his 10th finals of the year.
World champion Kim sets record
Kim Yu-na, the world champion from South Korea, set a world record for a short program Saturday night at Skate America in Lake Placid, N.Y., breaking her own mark with 76.28 points. She capped the mesmerizing performance to a James Bond medley with a marksman's pose that would make Sean Connery or Daniel Craig proud.
"I'm trying to do a clean program every time," Kim said after blowing away the field, grabbing a 17.48-point lead over American Rachael Flatt. "It's not about the score. I don't want to think about the score."
The 19-year-old sensation even admitted that breaking the world mark was a surprise — to her, if not to the adoring fans who began buzzing when she came out for warmups, erupted in cheers when she finished to a standing ovation, then pressed their faces against windows overlooking the interview area.
Slovakia beats U.S. in World Cup tuneup
In its first warmup match for next year's World Cup, the U.S. was missing key starters and lacked sharpness in a 1-0 loss to host Slovakia on Saturday. Marek Hamsik converted a penalty kick in the 26th minute after Austrian referee Stefan Messner called defender Jonathan Bornstein for pushing Vladimir Weiss — the son of Slovakia's coach — in the penalty area. Hamsik sent a low shot to the right corner, with goalkeeper Brad Guzan diving in the opposite direction.
■ New Zealand reached the World Cup for the first time since 1982, and Cameroon and Nigeria also qualified Saturday for next year's soccer showcase in South Africa. By the end of Saturday, 27 of the 32 berths in next year's field will have been decided, with the remainder settled Wednesday.
EKU, WKU runners 2nd at NCAA regionals
A pair of runners representing Kentucky schools placed second in the men's and women's Southeast Regional Championships on Saturday morning at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer Park in Louisville.
Eastern Kentucky junior Wesley Ruttoh, who qualified for the NCAA Championships, completed the 10K course in a time of 30 minutes, 4.46 seconds. Liberty's Samuel Chelanga won in 29:31.25.
"Wesley ran a very aggressive race, hung tough at the end and beat a lot of very impressive runners," EKU Coach Rick Erdmann said. "It was his best race by far."
Louisville senior Cory Thorne was eighth (30:23.52).
Western Kentucky senior Janet Jesang ran the women's 6K course in 20:12.28, second only to Virginia's Catherine White (20:03.90). Louisville senior Tarah McKay was third (20:17.34).
Men's soccer eliminated in C-USA semis
Kentucky's George Davis IV scored his first goal of the season in the Wildcats' 2-1 loss to host Tulsa in the semifinals of the Conference USA Tournament on Friday night. It was UK's first loss Oct. 14.
The last word
Delusional running back Larry Johnson, who was released by the Kansas City Chiefs earlier this week, on the possibility of returning and getting the 55 yards he needs to break the team's career rushing mark:
"Hopefully, maybe someday, when I'm 33-34, and I've still got a little bit of burn left, they'll let me come back and get those yards."