Other Sports

Sports briefs: Dec. 7


Furyk wins a Chevron Challenge overshadowed by Tiger

Jim Furyk dressed in red and played the part Sunday, holing a clutch par putt and hitting his best shot of the day on the final hole to win the Chevron World Challenge for his first victory in more than two years. He said the choice of color was a coincidence, not a statement. Even so, it was a fitting conclusion to a week dominated by talk of Tiger Woods.

Woods, the tournament host, wasn't around to present the trophy to one of his favorite players on the PGA Tour. He withdrew because of unspecified injuries from his Nov. 27 car accident, yet Woods remained part of every conversation because of worldwide publicity over allegations of extramarital affairs.

Furyk, who closed with a 5-under 67, last won a tournament recognized by the world ranking at the 2007 Canadian Open.

Graeme McDowell, the replacement for Woods, had to hole out from 18th fairway to tie Furyk, and his shot looked as though it had a chance until it spun by the hole. The birdie gave him second place alone. That was enough to move him to No. 38 in the world, making him a lock for the Masters next year.

"Timing is everything," McDowell said. "To get the call-up was good, although I wish it had been different circumstances. Sometimes this game gives you something back when you least expect it."

Troy Merritt had a three-stroke lead over former Boise State teammate Graham Delaet on Sunday when fifth-round play in the rain-delayed PGA Tour qualifying tournament in West Palm Beach, Fla., was suspended for the day because of darkness.

Marianne Skarpnord had a one-stroke lead over Nicole Jeray and Amanda Blumenherst after the fourth round of the LPGA Tour qualifying tournament Sunday in Daytona Beach, Fla. Louisville native Leah Wigger was two shots back in a tie for fourth. University of Kentucky golfer Mallory Blackwelder is in a tie for 38th, four shots out of 20th.

Robert Allenby won the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa on Sunday, beating Sweden's Henrik Stenson on the third hole of a playoff. Allenby closed with a 1-under 71 to match Stenson (69) at 11-under 277 on the Gary Player Country Club course. The winner earned $1.2 million.


UK volleyball will face Florida State

The Florida State volleyball team defeated Jacksonville State 3-0 (25-18, 26-24, 25-22) Sunday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to set up a third-round match with Kentucky. With the win, the Seminoles (30-2) move on to the third round for the first time in program history and will face UK (29-4), which swept past its first two opponents. Florida State and Kentucky will face off on Friday in Minneapolis, Minn., with the winner playing either Minnesota or Colorado State. Game times for the third round matches have yet to be announced. The fourth-round contest will take place on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and will air nationally on ESPNU.

UNC wins another women's soccer title

Anson Dorrance has been coaching the same system at North Carolina for 31 years, and he's certainly not going to change anything now. The Tar Heels earned their second straight and 21st overall national championship on Sunday, beating Stanford 1-0 in the final of the Women's College Cup in College Station, Texas. Jessica McDonald scored in the third minute and North Carolina's smothering defense hung on from there. The Tar Heels (23-3-1) have won six NCAA titles since 1999, three times as many as any other team overall. Stanford (25-1) failed in its bid to join North Carolina as the only teams to finish a perfect season — no losses or ties — with a championship. The Tar Heels have done that four times (1991-93, 2003).

Horse racing

Espoir City wins Japan Cup Dirt

Espoir City won the $4.7 million Japan Cup Dirt by 3½ lengths over Silk Mobius at Hanshim Racecourse on Sunday. The favorite in the 16-horse field took the lead at the start of the race and led wire-to-wire for his first victory in an international Grade I race. The 4-year-old Espoir City had a winning time of 1:49.90 for the 1,800-meter race. The victory was the colt's ninth in 17 career starts. Tizway, the lone entry from the United States, finished 12th. Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird was pulled out of the race last week with a leg injury.


Donaghy says his officiating was clean

Disgraced former NBA referee Tim Donaghy said he refused to make calls to affect games even if it meant he lost money and it angered the mob. In one game where he bet on San Antonio, he ejected Coach Gregg Popovich midway through the first quarter and the Spurs eventually lost the game. That drew the ire of the mob, which reportedly lost money using his tip.

"I just told them that I wasn't making calls in games to influence the outcome," Donaghy said in an interview on 60 Minutes that aired Sunday night on CBS. "And I'm not going to be able to obviously predict the winner every night, and they have to accept that's what's going to happen."

Donaghy insisted he made wagers on NBA games based on his knowledge of other officials' biases for and against certain players and teams, and that his officiating was not compromised — a claim that was backed up by the FBI.

"Watching the tapes, we could see there was never anything outlandish where he called a foul or he omitted a foul because he wanted to see a certain team win" retired FBI special agent Philip Scala told the news show. "We never saw that."

Castro's son elected to baseball post

A son of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro has been elected one of three vice presidents of the International Baseball Federation after a vote Sunday in Lausanne, Switzerland, Cuban sports officials said. Antonio Castro, a 39-year-old doctor, was elected to the post along with Japan's Kazuhiro Tawa and Mexico's Alonso Perez. Ricardo Fraccari of Italy was selected the federation's new president. The IBAF administers baseball outside the major pro leagues.

The last word

Tiger Woods and his marital problems proved a tempting target for Saturday Night Live. Weekend Update anchor Seth Meyers poked fun at reports Woods and his wife, Elin Nordegren, were in negotiations over their prenuptial agreement:

"What's really weird is he presented her with one of those huge, oversized checks."