Willis sticks with old putter, gets rewarded with Heritage lead
Garrett Willis couldn't give up on "Old Faithful," no matter how many flashy, new belly putters he tested out this week. Willis entered The Heritage at Hilton Head Island, S.C. seeking answers to his poor putting and had planned to park his longtime, Scotty Cameron model. As he walked to the range Thursday morning, though, Willis just couldn't go through with it and asked his caddie to "go back to my car and get 'Old Faithful.' " Good thing he did. Willis had a run of six straight birdies on the front nine on the way to a 7-under 64 and a one-shot lead in the suspended first round of The Heritage.
"Obviously, very excited about putting this well and having a chance to making the cut for a change," Willis said.
He held a one-stroke edge over Arjun Atwal, Matt Bettencourt, Chad Campbell and Tim Herron and was two shots in front of Mark Wilson, Camilo Villegas and 2009 Heritage winner Brian Gay. Luke Donald, No. 3 in the world, led a group at 67 in a round slowed by a rain delay of 2 hours, 16 minutes. Henry Clay graduate Josh Teater was another shot back at 68. Because of the delay, 18 players were unable to finish before dark. Donald could move to No. 1 with a win.
■ Lee Westwood trailed Indonesian Masters leader Siddikur of Bangladesh by two strokes after the first round on Thursday in Jakarta, Indonesia. Westwood birdied his last two holes to post a 4-under 68 at Royale Jakarta Golf Club. He has a chance to regain the No. 1 ranking if he wins this week and fellow Englishman Luke Donald fails to capture the Heritage title on the PGA Tour. Westwood said he was just hoping to celebrate his 38th birthday on Sunday with a 34th victory worldwide. Siddikur, the first Bangladeshi to win on the Asian Tour, shot 66, including two chip-ins for birdies.
■ South Korea's Han Chang-won shot an 8-under 64 on Thursday to take a one-stroke lead in the suspended first round of the China Open. Han had six birdies in a front-nine 30 on the Luxehills International Country Club course in Chengdu.
It's gridiron to diamond for one Bat Cat
The Kentucky baseball team is back at home after a five-game road swing and hosts No. 21 Arkansas in a three-game series this weekend, starting at 6:30 p.m. on Friday at Cliff Hagan Stadium. Saturday's game at 7 p.m. will be televised on FS South The series' finale is Sunday at 1 p.m.
UK center fielder Brian Adams, a scholarship wide receiver on the football team, will pull double duty on Saturday, playing in the Blue-White Spring Game before venturing across Cooper Drive for the first pitch. Fans that attend the football game will be admitted for free.
Kentucky (17-21, 2-13 Southeastern Conference) will start junior righty Alex Meyer (3-5, 3.59 ERA) on Friday against Arkansas lefty Randall Fant (1-2, 3.12 ERA).
■ The Kentucky softball team will resume Southeastern Conference play with a three-game series at South Carolina beginning Friday at 7 p.m. Juniors Rachel Riley and sophomore Kara Dill have been the force behind a six-game winning streak over the last two weeks for UK (33-10, 11-6 SEC). Riley leads the squad with a .413 batting average, and she has hit a career-high seven homers. Dill is hitting .397. The Cats are one homer away from matching the 2007 team's single-season record of 56. Junior Brittany Cervantes' 14 home runs lead the way. During the Cats' streak, they have outscored six non-conference opponents 53-19.
■ The third-seeded UK men's tennis team will play sixth-seeded Auburn on Friday in the second round of the SEC Tournament at Florida. The Cats earned a bye, and Auburn swept the Gamecocks 4-0 Thursday.
Colorado's Burks entering draft
Shooting guard Alec Burks is leaving Colorado early for the NBA Draft after a record-setting sophomore season with the Buffaloes. Burks said Tuesday he plans to hire an agent in the coming days. The draft is June 23. The 6-foot-6 guard ranks third on the school scoring list with an average of 19 points per game. He set the single-season scoring record of 779 points this past season while helping Colorado reach the National Invitation Tournament semifinals in New York. Burks also holds Colorado's freshman scoring record of 512 points. Several mock drafts project Burks going in the middle of the first round, though Burks says he has the potential to be a lottery pick.
■ Standout Michigan sophomore guard Darius Morris has declared for the NBA Draft, though he has not hired an agent. Morris is eligible to return for his junior season if he withdraws his name by May 8. The Los Angeles native helped the Wolverines to a 21-14 record and a trip to the NCAA Tournament. He averaged 15 points after 4.4 as a freshman. He also set a team record with 235 assists in a season and led the Big Ten with 6.71 per game.
■ West Virginia's Kevin Jones is submitting his name for the NBA Draft, Coach Bob Huggins announced Thursday. WVU said Jones will retain the option to return to school. The forward was second on the team in scoring with 13.1 points a game and first in rebounding (7.5).
Packers' Jolly sentenced to probation
Packers defensive lineman Johnny Jolly pleaded guilty to a drug-possession charge Thursday and was sentenced to probation after striking a deal with prosecutors that wipes out a similar charge and spares him any time in prison unless he stumbles again. Jolly had faced up to 20 years in prison if he had been convicted of possessing at least 200 grams of codeine, a controlled substance, after being arrested outside a Houston club three years ago. He pleaded guilty to the 2008 charge while a drug charge from March, in which he was also accused of possessing codeine, was dropped.
District Judge Denise Bradley also ordered Jolly to undergo drug treatment at an inpatient facility for 90 days, barred him from going to bars or nightclubs and ordered him not to drink or use drugs while he is on probation.
■ Barry Sanders, Franco Harris, Marshall Faulk and 29 other retired NFL stars will announce their former teams' second-round picks at the NFL Draft next Friday. The league announced Thursday it would have players announce the picks for an entire round for the first time. The Bengals' representative will be former first-round draft pick and Hall of Famer Anthony Munoz.
Bruins even series with OT win
Michael Ryder scored 1:59 into overtime to give the Boston Bruins a 5-4 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night, tying the first-round series 2-2. Ryder, the former Canadiens winger who also scored in the second period, took Chris Kelly's pass from behind the net and shot past Carey Price to give Boston its second victory in a row in Montreal after the Bruins dropped the first two games of the Eastern Conference series at home.
■ The NCAA is delaying its decision on whether to continue sanctioning the troubled Fiesta Bowl until later this year, saying it needs time to gather information on how the event will be managed in the future. The NCAA said in a release on Thursday that it also wants to review the findings of a BCS task force that is examining the financial and political improprieties uncovered in a Fiesta Bowl internal investigation made public last month. That report could be finished by mid-May.
■ A judge ruled Thursday that a congressional committee does not have to give baseball star Roger Clemens its evidence that he lied about using performance-enhancing drugs but left open the possibility that he might be able to get material from the authors of Major League Baseball's Mitchell Report that first publicly accused him of being a user. Clemens wants the material for his upcoming trial on perjury charges. The DLA Piper law firm that produced the Mitchell Report and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that held hearings on the report's findings were in court to fight Clemens' subpoenas for documents relating to witness testimony and interviews.
The last word
Charles Barkley dismissed the legitimacy of Gatorade endorsements:
"I guarantee you, if Dwyane Wade drank Pabst Blue Ribbon, he'd still be great."