Other Sports

Sports briefs: Jan. 16


Appleby, Maruyama share lead at Sony Open in Honolulu

Stuart Appleby finished with three straight birdies to tie Shigeki Maruyama for the lead Saturday at the Sony Open, setting up a long final round in which just about everyone is still in the game. Because the opening round was washed out at Waialae in Honolulu, Sunday will feature 36 holes.

Maruyama said he is more concerned about stamina than nerves on Sunday. Winless on the PGA Tour since 2003, Maruyama hit a bunker shot that banged into the pin and dropped for birdie on the par-3 seventh to break out of a tie, and a two-putt birdie on the short par-5 ninth gave him a two-shot advantage over the early starters.

The 41-year-old Maruyama said with a laugh, "My feet. It's a problem. ... I'm getting older, and 36 holes is going to be a struggle," said Maruyama, who was at 10-under 130.

Appleby had a strong finish for the second straight day and shot 66. He and Maruyama were at 10-under 130.

Roland Thatcher (65), Mark Wilson (67) and Steve Marino (67) were a stroke back.

■ Defending champion Charl Schwartzel shared the Joburg Open lead with fellow South Africans Thomas Aiken and Garth Mulroy after the third round in Johannesburg. Schwartzel and Mulroy shot 2-under 69s, and Aiken had a 68 to finish the day at 15-under 198.

David Drysdale of Scotland was one shot behind after a 67 that included six birdies. Jamie Donaldson of Wales had a 65 and Oscar Floren of Sweden a 66 to sit at 11-under in a five-way tie for eighth.


Clijsters faces tough Aussie opener

Kim Clijsters figures she didn't win three U.S. Open tournaments and 40 titles overall in her career while worrying about the opposition. She'll take that thought into the Australian Open, where her first-round match against Dinara Safina will feature two former top-ranked players.

Clijsters said that despite her 7-2 record against Safina, the match against the tall Russian will be a "challenge, but I've played some good matches against her."

As for her opposition, Clijsters said "I really don't want to waste too much energy on what's happening on other parts of the draw or what's being said around us."

Clijsters and Safina will play their first-round match Tuesday at Melbourne Park.

■ Defending men's champion Roger Federer and top-seeded woman Caroline Wozniacki will highlight the first day's play of the Australian Open on Monday. The opening-day schedule was released Saturday, with 2008 winner Maria Sharapova to play Thailand's Tamarine Tanasugarn and Wozniacki to face Gisela Dulko of Argentina. Defending champion and second-seeded Federer will play Lukas Lacko of Slovakia.

Third-seeded Novak Djokovic, the 2008 champion, takes on Spain's Marcel Granollers, while American Andy Roddick plays Jan Hajek of the Czech Republic.


Cards GM mum on Pujols contract talks

Albert Pujols will sign autographs for $175 a pop on Sunday at the St. Louis Cardinals' Winter Warmup. The team has until the start of spring training to get the three-time NL MVP to sign a new contract. General Manager John Mozeliak confirmed the deadline set by Pujols, but declined Saturday to characterize negotiations. The Cardinals exercised a $16 million option for next season on Pujols' contract in October. Both sides want to keep the negotiations private. Pujols' two-hour autograph session, which will raise funds for Cardinal Care, is sold out.

"Really, we don't want to sit here and handicap or guess or kind of give any type of gut feel where this thing is headed right now," Mozeliak said. "Hopefully in the near future it's something we can talk more about, but right now I'm not prepared to."

Mozeliak also declined to discuss negotiations at a fan forum, where he requested the topic not come up, saying, "I have no idea."

■ The Chicago Cubs will honor Ron Santo with a statue outside Wrigley Field and the team will wear a special patch next season to pay tribute to the former broadcaster and third baseman. The Cubs said Saturday they will unveil the monument before their game against the Washington Nationals on Aug. 10. Santo died of complications from bladder cancer at the age of 70 on Dec. 3. A nine-time All-Star in his 15-year career, Santo hit .277 with 342 homers and 1,331 RBI. He also won the Gold Glove award five times.

■ The Cardinals and reliever Kyle McClellan agreed on a one-year contract worth $1,375,000, avoiding arbitration. The 26-year-old right-hander appeared in 68 games in a setup role last season, going 1-4 with a career-best 2.27 ERA and two saves.

■ Catcher Geovany Soto agreed to a $3 million, one-year deal with the Chicago Cubs, avoiding arbitration. Soto, the 2008 NL Rookie of the Year, batted .280 with 17 homers and 53 RBI in 105 games last season when his salary was $575,000.

■ Free-agent reliever Kyle Farnsworth agreed to a $3.25 million, one-year contract with the Tampa Bay Rays. The 34-year-old right-hander went 3-2 with a 3.34 ERA in 60 games for the Kansas City Royals and Atlanta Braves last year.

College football

Georgia linebacker enters NFL Draft

Georgia outside linebacker Justin Houston, second in the Southeastern Conference with 10 sacks this season, said he will skip his senior season to enter the NFL Draft. Houston, who is projected as a possible first-round pick, was third on the team with 67 tackles. He had 20 career sacks, seventh-best in school history.

■ All-America safety Mark Barron said he'll be back for his senior season at Alabama, which had already lost three star juniors. Barron led the Crimson Tide with 75 tackles and had three interceptions despite missing the team's Capital One Bowl victory over Michigan State with a torn pectoral muscle.

High School Football

Kentucky comes up short in Border Bowl

Bell County's Ben Madon and Hazard's Jon Combs both threw touchdown passes and Newport Central Catholic's Chris Kelly ran for another in Kentucky's 28-18 loss to Tennessee in the Border Bowl in Williamsburg. Madon's TD pass to Rowan County's Darrell Cross covered 61 yards. Combs' TD came on a 34-yard pass to Tates Creek's Jontez Jones.


Phelps wins again at Austin meet

Michael Phelps won the 100-meter backstroke in 54.14 seconds — more than a second off his personal best — in the Austin Grand Prix in Texas. The 14-time Olympic champion edged emerging rival Ryan Lochte for the second straight night after winning the 100 butterfly on Friday. Nick Thoman was second and Lochte finished third.

Missy Franklin, the 15-year-old star from Centennial, Colo., won the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke. Lexington's Elaine Breeden won the 200 butterfly in 2:10.89.

■ In the final race of the meet, Kentucky's women's team took first and third in the 400-freestyle relay to rally for a 152-148 victory against Alabama at the Lancaster Aquatic Center. The winning team included Kayla Sergesketter, Jenna Newsome, Kristen Wilson and Mandy Myers. The men's team lost to No. 17 Alabama 178-122.

The last word

New 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh on the difficulty many other college coaches have had making the transition to the NFL:

"I don't really ever make any comparisons between myself and other coaches, or really comparing anything, but I hope to be very underestimated. I've always found that to be a wonderful competitive advantage and try to cling to that advantage as long as I can."