Other Sports

Sports briefs: March 1

Golf

Mahan rallies to edge Fowler for victory at Phoenix Open

Hunter Mahan had been one of the most successful golfers not to win a tournament the last two years. That's not the case anymore.

Mahan came from four strokes back to win the Phoenix Open by a shot over Rickie Fowler on Sunday in a 1-2 finish for former Oklahoma State players.

"It's always a little better to lose to a Cowboy," Fowler said.

The 27-year-old Mahan had an eagle and a pair of birdies in a late four-hole span to finish at 16-under 268. Mahan, whose first victory came at the 2007 Travelers Championship, closed with consecutive bogey-free 6-under 65s.

Fowler, just 21 and a tour rookie, had a final-round 68 for the second runner-up finish of his young career, both of them in Arizona.

In his second PGA tour event last Oct. 25, Fowler lost in a three-way playoff to Troy Matteson in the Frys.com Open just down the road at the Grayhawk Golf Club.

South Korea's Y.E. Yang also shot a 65 to finish at 14 under, two off the pace. Last year's PGA Championship winner, Yang led until his tee shot went in the water at No. 17.

Although he hasn't won, Mahan has played well the past two years. He played on the 2008 Ryder Cup team and had six top-10s in 2009, including a runner-up finish at the AT&T National. His earnings the last two years topped $5 million.

"It's just finding a way to win. I just haven't been able to do it," he said. "So obviously it feels great to get off the year on my fifth tournament to win. It gives me a lot of confidence in myself that I'm doing the right things in my game, and it feels great, it really does."

Ai Miyazato won the HSBC Champions on Sunday at Singapore to become the first LPGA Tour player in 44 years to sweep the first two events of a season, closing with 3-under 69 for a two-stroke victory over Cristie Kerr. Miyazato, the 24-year-old Japanese star who won the LPGA Thailand last week, took the lead with a birdie on the par-4 16th — a hole she played in 5 under for the week — and parred the final two holes to finish at 10 under on Tanah Merah's Garden Course.

■ English star Laura Davies won the New Zealand Women's Open for her 73rd worldwide title, shooting a 4-under 69 for a two-stroke victory over three players. The 46-year-old Davies had a 9-under 279 total in the event sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour and Australian Ladies Professional Golf.

Baseball

Lincoln to get Reds' first spring start

Reds right-hander Mike Lincoln will get the start in the team's exhibition opener Friday against Cleveland, Manager Dusty Baker said. Lincoln hasn't started a game since 2001, when he was in Triple-A in the Pittsburgh system, but the team approached him this off-season about moving back into a starter's role.

Lincoln is part of a large group of pitchers trying to make the Reds rotation as the fifth starter. The first four spots are locked up by Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo, Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey.

Along with Lincoln, veterans Justin Lehr and Kip Wells are in the battle for the fifth spot, as well as younger pitchers such as Aroldis Chapman, Matt Maloney, Mike Leake and Travis Wood.

Lincoln has appeared in 83 games in the last two seasons for the Reds, all out of the bullpen. He missed most of last season with a bulging disc in his neck. He was out of baseball from 2005-07 after undergoing surgeries on his right elbow.

Louisville wins on walk-off home run

Junior third baseman Phil Wunderlich led off the bottom of the ninth inning and homered on the first pitch he saw to lift Louisville to a 5-4 victory against Minnesota at the Big Ten/Big East Challenge at St. Petersburg, Fla. The Cardinals improved to 7-0 for the school's best start since the 1957 squad went 15-0.

NBA

Shaq to have surgery on his right thumb

Cavaliers center Shaquille O'Neal will undergo surgery on Monday to repair his injured right thumb. An MRI exam Saturday confirmed the injury was a significant sprain. O'Neal was hurt during a win at Boston on Thursday. With O'Neal out of the lineup, Anderson Varejao will continue to start at center.

Andray Blatche scored a career-high 36 points and had 15 rebounds, and Randy Foye hit two jumpers in the final 44 seconds to lead the Wizards to an 89-85 comeback victory over the host Nets. New Jersey guard Courtney Lee missed the game because of a sprained left ankle.

Lamar Odom scored nine of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, Pau Gasol had 15 points and 14 rebounds, and the Lakers overcame an 11-point third-quarter deficit to beat the visiting Nuggets. Kobe Bryant was just 3-for-17 from the field, finishing with 14 points and 12 assists. Carmelo Anthony scored 21 points for Denver before fouling out for the second time this season with 2:13 to play and the Nuggets down by four.

Richard Jefferson scored 20 points in his best game since losing his starting job, and the host Spurs beat Phoenix 113-110 to end the Suns' five-game winning streak. Amare Stoudemire had a season-high 41 points and 12 rebounds for Phoenix.

Horse racing

Muscle Hill named harness horse of year

Muscle Hill overpowered the competition and ran away with harness racing's Horse of the Year honors. A perfect 12-0 record last year earned the 3-year-old trotter 164 of 173 votes from the U.S. Harness Writers Association, easily defeating fellow-trotter Lucky Jim and pacer Well Said for the sport's top award. Well Said was voted Pacer of the Year and Muscle Hill also earned Trotter of the Year honors in voting released Sunday. Muscle Hill's big wins came in the Hambletonian, Breeders Crown, Kentucky Futurity, Canadian Trotting Classic and World Trotting Derby. He set a harness racing record for earnings in a season with $2.45 million.

Presious Passion rolled to his second consecutive victory in the $150,000 Mac Diarmida Stakes on Sunday at Gulfstream Park. The 7-year-old gelding and jockey Elvis Trujillo toyed with his competition throughout the 13⁄8th-mile turf contest, pulling clear from second-choice Winchester to win by 1¼ lengths in 2:13.49 at the Hallandale Beach, Fla., track. Trained by Mary Hartmann for owner Patricia Generazio, Presious Passion bounced back from a disappointing fifth-place finish in the McKnight Handicap in December. The multiple Grade I-winner was an Eclipse Award finalist for champion turf horse and nearly escaped with a victory in the Breeders' Cup Turf last fall.

Etc.

UK men's tennis sweeps doubleheader

Sophomore Alex Musialek and juniors Brad Cox and Alberto Gonzalez each won two singles matches and Kentucky men's tennis team defeated both Jacksonville State and host Belmont. Kentucky (9-4) dominated the first match of the day, defeating Jacksonville State 6-1. The Wildcats beat Belmont 5-1.

■ Kentucky senior Kristin Smith outdistanced the field by more than two feet to earn the Southeastern Conference championship in the women's weight throw at Fayetteville, Ark. Smith's best throw covered 19.98 meters.

Bob and Mike Bryan moved into second place on the Open Era doubles titles list by winning their 58th career title at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships in Florida. The Bryans beat Philipp Marx and Igor Zelenay 6-3, 7-6 (3).

Novak Djokovic successfully defended his Dubai Championships title, beating Mikhail Youzhny 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 in a rain-delayed finals.

The last word

Lorne Chan of the San Antonio Express-News on why MC Hammer might be tempted to take up curling:

"He doesn't care about being an Olympian, he just wants his pants to come back in style."

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