Other Sports

Sports briefs: July 18

NBA

All-Star Howard says he's serious about playing overseas

Dwight Howard's frustration with the NBA lockout has caused the Orlando Magic star to strongly consider playing overseas. In an exclusive interview Sunday with The Associated Press, Howard said he would consider playing in China or Europe if the NBA lockout doesn't end.

Howard, a five-time All-Star who led Orlando to the NBA Finals in 2009, stopped short of saying he's in contract discussions with teams overseas. "I'm not at liberty to talk about it," he said, "but there's a huge possibility about me going to China or me going overseas to play basketball."

New Jersey guard Deron Williams said recently after signing with a team in Turkey that Howard could become a worldwide star if he played in China. Howard didn't disagree.

"I don't want to just sit over here and forget about basketball and waste, you know, opportunities for me to get better," Howard said.

Cycling

Tour leader Voeckler says he can't win

Thomas Voeckler earned the Tour de France leader's yellow jersey for a sixth straight day after the flat 15th stage on Sunday — won by British sprinting star Mark Cavendish — but the French rider doesn't think he can win it. "I consider that I have zero percent chance of winning the Tour de France," Voeckler said.

Voeckler's surprising success has rekindled France's hopes for its first victory since Bernard Hinault got the last of his five wins in 1985. Voeckler isn't going there.

"I don't want to lie to the public," he said. "Maybe it would make for good publicity, I don't know, but it doesn't interest me. ... I'm not going to announce to the French people that 'I'm in yellow, I have a chance to win.' "

Voeckler leads Frank Schleck of Luxembourg by 1 minute, 49 seconds, and Cadel Evans of Australia is third, 2:06 back. Three-time champ Alberto Contador of Spain is seventh, 4 minutes behind.

Golf

Rookie Kirk gets first PGA Tour win

Chris Kirk won his first PGA Tour event with a one-stroke victory in the Viking Classic, shooting a 4-under 68 to beat Tom Pernice Jr. and George McNeill by one stroke. The 26-year-old rookie tied the tournament record with a 22-under performance over four rounds in Madison, Miss., taking advantage of Annandale Golf Club's soft greens and fairway. The 51-year-old Pernice fell just short in his attempt to become the second-oldest winner in tour history, missing a birdie putt on No. 18. Kirk is the fifth rookie to win this season.

Russell Knox shot a 6-under 66 to earn his first Nationwide Tour victory Sunday, beating Billy Hurley by three strokes at the Chiquita Classic in Maineville, Ohio. The Scot began the day with a one-stroke lead and was never challenged at TPC River's Bend, finishing at 25-under 263. He moved from No. 27 to No. 5 on the season money list.

■ American Tom Hoge shot a bogey-free 5-under 66 to win the Canadian Tour's Players Cup on Sunday in Winnipeg. Hoge is the first player to go through a Monday qualifier and then win the event since the Tour's inception in 1986. The 22-year-old nearly missed his tee time in qualifying and needed a playoff to make the field.

Auto racing

Trucks driver ends 79-race win drought

Matt Crafton held off a charging Austin Dillon to win the NASCAR trucks race in Newton, Iowa, on Saturday night, Crafton's first trucks win since Charlotte in 2008. Dillon led for most of the night and had the fastest truck in the field, but he fell back to eighth after a late pit stop and couldn't recover. Crafton's win snapped a frustrating 79-race winless drought. Pole sitter David Mayhew was third.

Horse Racing

Banker's Buy upsets at Belmont

Banker's Buy, the longest price in a field of five New York-bred fillies and mares, caught pacesetter Cody Samora in the stretch and drew away to a 2¾-length win on Sunday in the $58,800 Miss South Shore Stakes on closing day at Belmont Park. John Velazquez was aboard for Nick Zito as the 5-year-old ran the mile in 1:36.91, notching her first win since July of last year. Banker's Buy paid $11, $4.80 and $3.20. Cody Samora returned $3.40 and $2.10 while Go Unbridled, $2.70, closed for third as the 2-1 favorite.

Soccer

Brazil misses 4 PKs, ousted by Uruguay

Paraguay advanced to the Copa America semifinals on Sunday by defeating defending champion Brazil 2-0 in a penalty shootout after a 0-0 draw following extra time. Paraguay goalkeeper Justo Villar stopped Thiago Silva's shot and Elano, Andre Santos and Fred also missed for Brazil, which was eliminated from the South American competition a day after host Argentina — led by Lionel Messi, widely regarded as the world's best player — lost to Uruguay.

Paraguay will face Venezuela, which beat Chile later Sunday. Uruguay and Peru, which eliminated Colombia on Saturday, will meet in the other semifinal. This will be only the second time since 1987 that the final will not include either Brazil or Argentina.

Tennis

U.S. draws Belarus for Fed Cup qualifier

Russia will host Spain and the Czech Republic will visit Germany in the 2012 Fed Cup quarterfinals in February. Sunday's draw also pitted first-round matchups of Serbia at Belgium and Ukraine at Italy on Feb. 4-5. In the second tier, which determines who will be promoted to the main competition in 2013, the United States will host Belarus, while Slovenia is at Japan, France is at Slovakia and Australia is at Switzerland. Russia will be aiming for its fifth Fed Cup title in eight years when it hosts the Czech Republic in the 2011 finals at Moscow on Nov. 5-6.

The last word

Mosquitoes are such a nuisance in Edmonton this summer that the CFL's Eskimos are asking the city to spray them. Said GM Eric Tillman:

"It was like we were practicing in the jungle yesterday. We don't want malaria to be our next injury."

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