Other Sports

Sports briefs: Dec. 12

Luke Donald, who finished third in Dubai, earned $1.34 million more than Rory McIlroy on the European Tour this season.
Luke Donald, who finished third in Dubai, earned $1.34 million more than Rory McIlroy on the European Tour this season. ASSOCIATED PRESS

Golf

Donald first to win both PGA and European money titles

Luke Donald finished third in the Dubai World Championship on Sunday behind winner Alvaro Quiros and became the first golfer to win both the PGA Tour and European Tour money titles,

Quiros made a 40-foot eagle putt on the 18th hole for a two-shot victory over 1999 British Open champion Paul Lawrie.

The top-ranked Donald, who won the PGA title earlier this year, had to finish better than ninth or hope Rory McIlroy didn't win the tournament. McIlroy, weakened with a virus all week, tied for 11th at 9-under 279. That left McIlroy more than $1.34 million behind Donald in the money race.

"It's funny to kind of sum up my feelings" said Donald, who has just come back from five weeks off in which he buried his father and was on hand for the birth of his second child.

"You know, this is something I've wanted for the past few months, to try and win both money lists," Donald said. "It's very strange because I looked at the leader board on 13 and couldn't see Rory. I couldn't see Rory's name on there and the leaders were playing well, and at that point, I kind of knew I had made history and the last six holes were kind of surreal."

Quiros had a final-round 5-under 67 on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates to finish at 269. Donald was three shots behind Quiros after he ran off three birdies in a row for a 6-under 66. Peter Hanson was fourth, another two shots back, and Masters champion Charl Schwartzel was in fifth another shot behind.

The big-hitting Quiros came into the final day with a two-shot lead but squandered it after he had three bogeys on the front nine to go with five birdies. Lawrie, who led after the first day, took the lead after he notched five birdies in his first eight holes.

But Lawrie bogeyed the 12th after an approach shot missed the green and Quiros birdied the 14th to take the lead for good. Lawrie's short game continued to haunt him when an errant chip on 16 cost him a birdie chance. Then, the 42-year-old Lawrie missed a 6-foot birdie putt at the 17th that would have tied it.

Quiros managed to reach the 18th green in two while Lawrie was there in three. Rather than play it safe, Quiros clinched the win with a long eagle putt. The Spaniard pumped his fist as the crowd cheered. The win was just Quiros' second this year on the tour — after the Dubai Desert Classic — and sixth overall on the tour.

It was a much happier ending than a week ago, when Quiros had a 3-shot lead going into the final round of the Hong Kong Open. He let it slip after erratic drives and poor putting, finishing in a tie for seventh — five shots behind McIlroy, who holed a greenside bunker shot to win.

Quiros praised the rivalry that developed over the final round with Lawrie, who ended a nine-year drought earlier this year with a victory in Spain.

"I was hitting good shots all day but, as I said, Paul was marvelous," he said. "He was holing every single putt. He was in contention every single time. I think he was just one or two times in trouble and the second one was on 12. From this moment onwards, it changed the situation completely."

Rookies Bradley, Steele team for victory

PGA Champion Keegan Bradley and Brendan Steele shot a 13-under 59 in scramble play Sunday to become the first PGA Tour rookies to win the Franklin Templeton Shootout. Bradley and Steele took control with an eagle by Steele on No. 14 and a birdie on No. 15, finishing at 32-under 184 for a three-stroke victory over two teams in Naples, Fla.

The two had been talking about playing in Greg Norman's event since the spring, and said they weren't at the three-format event to "goof off."

After sharing the lead with Champions Tour golfers Mark Calcavecchia and Nick Price following the first round of modified alternate shot, they were one ahead of them after Saturday's better-ball.

Bradley and Steele made seven straight birdies from Nos. 6 to 13, then Steele made an eagle putt from off the green, and followed that up with a 4-footer on No. 15 for birdie.

Calcavecchia birdied No. 18 to give him and Price a 61, moving them into a tie for second at 187 with Rory Sabbatini and Jhonattan Vegas, who shot 60. Charles Howell III and Justin Leonard, and 2009 champions Jerry Kelly and Steve Stricker tied for fourth another shot back.

Bradley and Steele had a chance at the tournament record of 34 under, but parred No. 16 and 18 coming in. Bradley, the nephew of former LPGA Tour and World Golf Hall of Famer Pat Bradley, and Steele shared $750,000 from the $3-million purse.

Soccer

North Carolina wins NCAA men's title

Ben Speas lofted a 25-yard shot over goalkeeper Klay Davis midway through the second half to give North Carolina a 1-0 victory over Charlotte in the NCAA championship in Hoover, Ala.

The Tar Heels (22-2-2) earned their first men's soccer title in 10 years. They lost in the semifinals each of the previous two seasons and fell in the final in 2008.

Speas, who had an assist in North Carolina's semifinal victory over UCLA, worked the ball toward the middle of the field just outside the Charlotte box and hit a left-footer that barely cleared the outstretched arm of Davis.

The unseeded 49ers (17-5-3) outshot North Carolina 14-3 in the second half, including a flurry of four shots during a quick burst with about 4 minutes left.

Horse racing

Sam Sparkle outruns favored Crossbow

Sam Sparkle rallied to beat Crossbow, the 3-5 favorite, by a half length on Sunday in the $57,000 Hunch Stakes for 3-year-olds at Aqueduct. Mike Luzzi was aboard for trainer Gary Contessa as Sam Sparkle got his second win in 14 starts. He covered the 6 furlongs in 1:10.38.

The last word

The Cincinnati Bengals' playoff chances took a hit on Sunday. The Houston Texans left the field with arms raised in celebration after rookie T.J. Yates threw a 6-yard touchdown pass with 2 seconds left for a 20-19 victory that likely scuttled Cincinnati's chances of post-season play. At 7-6, the Bengals fell behind in the chase for the final AFC wild card berth. They've lost four of their last five, turning what started as a promising season into something that's starting to look like another disappointment. The Bengals have reached the playoffs only twice in the last 20 years. Safety Chris Crocker said:

"It's not even about the playoffs anymore. We can't think about the post-season until we start winning games. It's a remote idea right now. Just win."

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