Blake wins Champions finale; Lehman takes points title
Jay Don Blake quietly celebrated his first victory in 20 years with his wife and a close friend in South Korea. His second win in less than two months drew a much larger crowd of supporters.
With nearly two dozen family and friends in attendance, including several grandchildren, Blake put an emphatic stamp on his year, shooting an even-par 71 to win the Charles Schwab Championship on Sunday in San Francisco.
"That means a lot, to have my whole family here," Blake said. "Sometimes, I'm a little worried about it because you get a little nervous trying to play well and perform for them. Sometimes, I put too much pressure and stress on myself worrying about that."
Not that he showed it.
Almost two months after surviving a five-hole playoff to win the Songdo Championship in South Korea for his first win since 1991, Blake calmly worked his way through the final round while a crowd of contenders took turns making brief runs at the lead.
Blake hit 12 of 14 fairways, made a pair of nice par saves out of the sand on the back nine then made the tournament-winning par on 18 after taking a bogey on the par-3 17th.
The only time the normally stoic Blake showed any emotion came after he made the six-foot putt for par on the final hole for a two-stroke victory in the Champions Tour's season finale. He finished at 8-under 276 at TPC Harding Park.
Blake pumped his right fist twice and tipped his cap to the crowd before disappearing in a wave of family and friends who rushed the green. Blake earned $440,000 for winning and took an additional $200,000 for finishing fourth in the overall standings.
"I was nervous, tense, stressed, the whole thing," Blake said. "But I still tried to stay patient and play my game and just hoped that I could make some birdies and stay out on top."
Tom Lehman managed to stay on top of the points standings and won a $1 million annuity despite not playing well this week. He shot a 72 to tie for 18th at 2 over, just enough to hold off Mark Calcavecchia by 74 points. Calcavecchia (69), Loren Roberts (70), Michael Allen (71) and Jay Haas (71) tied for second. Calcavecchia needed to finish no worse than a tie for second with one other player to have a chance to overtake Lehman.
"The ending was pretty tight," Lehman said. "(Calcavecchia) just hung in there and overcame a bunch of mistakes. To come in here knowing you have to finish second or better, and finish tied for second for second with just one too many guys was impressive."
■ Martin Kaymer ran off nine birdies over the last 12 holes to blow past Fredrik Jacobson and a host of stars on his way to a 9-under 63 and a three-shot victory in the HSBC Champions in Sheshan International in Shanghai.
■ Momoko Ueda won the Mizuno Classic in Shima, Japan, for the second time in five seasons, beating Shanshan Feng with a 15-foot birdie putt on the third hole of playoff.
Players unhappy with Stern's 'ultimatum'
NBA players have until Wednesday to accept Commissioner David Stern's latest offer, though the response already seems obvious.
"Right now, we've been given the ultimatum, and our answer is that's not acceptable to us," union president Derek Fisher said.
But the next proposal promises to be worse, surely moving players and owners even further apart and threatening to destroy the 2011-12 season.
Early Sunday morning, the league said it offered players up to 51 percent of basketball-related income — a figure the union insists is fiction. Regardless, it will drop to 47 percent Wednesday if players don't accept the current offer by the league-imposed deadline.
No agreement by the deadline likely will trigger more calls to disband the union and take on the league in court, a battle that would take months. Players don't seem eager to act quickly.
"These are professional basketball players, the finest athletes in the world. How do you think they feel about threats? How do you think they feel about efforts at intimidation?" attorney Jeffrey Kessler said.
Deluxe wins Churchill's Cardinal Handicap
Deluxe rallied to beat Ravi's Song by a half-length Sunday in the Grade III, $109,900 Cardinal Handicap for fillies and mares at Churchill Downs, giving trainer Bill Mott his sixth victory in the race.
It capped a Breeders' Cup weekend to remember for Mott, who won the Ladies' Classic with Royal Delta on Friday and the Classic on Saturday with Drosselmeyer.
The 4-year-old daughter of Storm Cat, Deluxe earned $66,775 to boost her career total to $291,145. It was her first win in the United States following three 2010 victories in France.
New York Marathon
Mutai cuts 2-plus minutes off record
Geoffrey Mutai shattered the course record in the New York City Marathon on Sunday, no surprise after he ran the fastest marathon ever earlier this year. Firehiwot Dado wasn't a favorite coming into the women's race and victory seemed impossible with even a few miles left. But the Ethiopian made a stunning comeback for her first major marathon title
Mutai finished in 2 hours, 5 minutes, 6 seconds, crushing the previous mark of 2:07:43 set by Tesfaye Jifar of Ethiopia a decade earlier. The 30-year-old has established himself as the favorite at next summer's Olympics. In April, Mutai ran the fastest 26.2 miles in history: 2:03:02 in Boston. It didn't count as a world record because the course is considered too straight and too downhill.
"I'm happy to be at that level," he said.
Former St. Xavier standout Bobby Curtis finished 15th in 2:16:46.
Dado trailed London Marathon champ Mary Keitany by nearly 2½ minutes at the 15-mile mark but passed her with about a mile left. The 27-year-old Dado won in 2:23:15 — almost a minute better than her previous personal best.
"She'd been running so fast from the beginning, I didn't imagine I would catch her," Dado said through a translator.
The last word
Former New York City Marathon champion Meb Keflezighi didn't let an upset stomach slow him down too much. He finished sixth in a personal-best time of 2:09:13, despite stopping to vomit at mile 22 before hitting Central Park. Keflezighi said:
"Not a pretty sight because you have people on the left, people on the right, screaming. You kind of like pause. Then all of a sudden when I started running again, they started cheering. So I just kind of dug deep."