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Update May 2017


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Update May 31, 2017

British and Irish Lions arrive in New Zealand

The British and Irish Lions touched down in New Zealand, Wednesday, May 31 at the start of their 5 week tour. The Lions last toured in New Zealand in 2005. (AP Photo/File)

Auckland, New Zealand (AP) — The British and Irish Lions landed in Auckland on Wednesday to begin their 13th rugby tour of New Zealand, facing possibly their toughest schedule as they attempt to achieve only their second test series victory over the All Blacks 47 years after the first.

The Lions' New Zealand-born coach Warren Gatland stepped back onto his home soil after the long flight from London at the head of a touring squad of 41 players - 16 from England, 12 from Wales, 11 from Ireland and two from Scotland.

More than 20,000 fans are expected to accompany the Lions on their 10-match tour which kicks off Saturday against a Provincial Barbarians selection at Whangarei, north of Auckland.

The Lions' flight landed shortly before noon Wednesday and was greeted by a haka performed by indigenous Maori as the aircraft drew up to the terminal building.

Inside the terminal, the touring party received a traditional powhiri or welcoming ceremony, with waiata (songs) and with hongi, the traditional form of Maori greeting in which noses are pressed together. The Lions players, dressed in formal suits and red ties, responded with songs of their own.

Lions manager John Spencer described the welcome as "incredible", saying "we look forward not only to our visit but also to engaging with your communities to show respect to your people and your cultures."

The Lions will play three tests against the world champion New Zealanders — two in Auckland, one in Wellington — and will also play the New Zealand Maori and, for the first time, all five New Zealand Super Rugby sides.

While previous Lions teams have had much larger itineraries, none has been as intense as the one they are about to face, which Gatland has described as "crazy."

In an interview shortly after the schedule was announced, Gatland said "whoever agreed to that schedule from the Lions point of view, it's crazy."

"I don't see how you could even win that. You're playing five Super Rugby sides, the New Zealand Maori and three tests, and another game, all in a five-week period. It's so tough."

The Lions first toured New Zealand in 1904 and have won a series here only once, in 1971 when a team featuring the stellar talents of Wales flyhalf Barry John and Ireland center Mike Gibson beat the All Blacks 2-1 in a four-test series.

Their most recent tour, in 2005 when England coach Clive Woodward claimed to have assembled the strongest rugby team in history, ended in a resounding 3-0 series defeat and a loss to the New Zealand Maori. The Lions last won a test against the All Blacks in 1993.

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew said planning for the Lions tour had been extensive, now it was time for action.

"It will be another great opportunity for our country to showcase on the international stage and beam New Zealand across the world," he said.


Refusal to shake hands creates French Open flap

Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka serves the ball to Slovakia's Jozef Kovalik during their first round match at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, Tuesday, May 30, in Paris. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Howard Fendrich

Paris (AP) — As anyone who ever has played or watched tennis — professional or recreational — knows, the post-match handshake at the net is as much a customary part of the sport as a racket, ball or serve. So when a player who lost at the French Open rebuffed his opponent's attempt at the ritual Tuesday, it became the talk of the tournament.

On a day when No. 1 Andy Murray and No. 3 Stan Wawrinka won, and a couple top-10 players unaccustomed to long stays at Roland Garros — Alexander Zverev in the men's draw, Johanna Konta in the women's — lost, the most buzzworthy development stemmed from a match between one guy who stands 50th in the world and another who is 285th.

After losing to Martin Klizan of Slovakia 7-6 (4), 6-3, 4-6, 0-6, 6-4 in the first round at Roland Garros, wild-card entry Laurent Lokoli of France skipped the usual sign of sportsmanship. Instead, he went to the sideline to pack up his things.

When Klizan approached, right arm extended, Lokoli dismissively waved him off with the back of a hand, motioning to stay away. Afterward, Lokoli said he wasn't being a sore loser but rather that he didn't want to shake because he thought Klizan was faking an injury during the match and was generally "disrespectful."

"I just have (a) problem with his attitude," Lokoli said, "because he wasn't fair. That's it."

Klizan, who will face Murray in the second round, initially opened his news conference by being confrontational with reporters, repeatedly saying he had no comment and adding: "I don't want you to make a big story about nothing."

Eventually, he spoke about a problem with his left calf that he said forced him to pull out of other recent clay-court tournaments and made him consider withdrawing from the French Open. Later Tuesday, Klizan played in a doubles match that he and Joao Sousa of Portugal lost in straight sets.

Lokoli was angered by what he interpreted as gamesmanship, saying Klizan appeared to be dogging it in moments — such as the 6-0 fourth set — hampered by his leg: "I'm wondering if he's going to retire or no, because now he's not running anymore, you know?" And then, in Lokoli's view, Klizan suddenly would be fine.

"I'm just saying that, you know, there are ways of doing things. If you're injured, for instance, well, you're injured. So what? Call the doctors," Lokoli said. "This is what really bothered me."

He added: "Look at reality. The person just on the other side of the net is doing things that are very, very weird. Strange things."

Klizan explained the fourth set this way: "He played perfect. No mistake. Serving aces. I was playing bad. At that time, I feel a little bit one pinch in my calf. So I was scared."

As video of their awkward exchange after the final point made the rounds on social media, even Murray took note.

"Obviously I saw a few videos of (Klizan's) match today," Murray said after his 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, 6-0 victory over Andrey Kuznetsov. "It was obviously a pretty entertaining match."

Murray, the runner-up in Paris last year, overcame some trouble in the second set, broken in 3 of 4 service games during one stretch. But he picked up his game in the last two sets, which the three-time major champion saw as a good sign after struggles this year.

"It was a decent start," Murray said, "considering, obviously, how I played in the buildup."

While 2015 champion Wawrinka, No. 8 Kei Nishikori, No. 18 Nick Kyrgios and No. 29 Juan Martin del Potro were among other winners on Day 3, No. 9 Zverev and No. 27 Sam Querrey were seeded men who exited.

The only seeded woman to lose was Konta, who was a semifinalist at the Australian Open last year but never has won a main-draw match at the French Open.

Zverev is a 20-year-old who won the Italian Open last week, raising his profile considerably, but he has yet to reach the second week of a Grand Slam tournament.

"You sometimes play bad. It's just: This is our sport. There is no regrets. I mean, what can you do? In Rome, I played fantastic, I won the tournament. Here I played bad, I lost first round. That's the way it goes," said Zverev, who broke a racket over his leg during his 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 loss to Fernando Verdasco.

"But," he added, "the world doesn't stop now."


Ainslie gets badly needed win in America's Cup qualifiers

Great Britain's Land Rover BAR races against Sweden's Artemis Racing (not shown) during America's Cup qualifying on the Great Sound in Bermuda on Tuesday, May 30. (Gilles Martin-Raget/ACEA via AP)

Bernie Wilson

Hamilton, Bermuda (AP) - Sir Ben Ainslie regained his sea legs after a few rough days in the America's Cup qualifiers on Bermuda's Great Sound.

Ainslie steered Britain's Land Rover BAR to a badly needed victory Tuesday after four straight losses, leading the whole way to beat Sweden's Artemis Racing by 30 seconds on the opening day of the second round robin.

"We needed that one," said Ainslie, who has struggled with speed and collisions aboard his foiling 50-foot catamaran this spring. "We had a couple of really tough days and we really needed to turn that around. We had to have some pretty frank conversations last night about how we're sailing and the setup of our boat and were able to improve our performance markedly."

Land Rover BAR had been struggling since Saturday, when it smashed into SoftBank Team Japan during the prestart, punching a hole in its port hull. It lost badly and nearly sank as it returned to the dock. The British crew lost to two-time defending champion Oracle Team USA and Emirates Team New Zealand on Sunday before an eye-opening loss to Groupama Team France on Monday.

There are huge expectations back home in England, which has failed for 166 years to win back the silver trophy it lost to the schooner America in 1851. It would be unfathomable if the first team eliminated was led by Ainslie, who was knighted several months after winning his fourth straight Olympic gold medal, in home waters in 2012. Ainslie helped Oracle Team USA rally to defend the America's Cup in 2013 before starting his own campaign, which has the backing of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Oracle Team USA leads with six points, followed by Emirates Team New Zealand with five and Land Rover BAR with four.

Ainslie has been propped up by two bonus points earned from leading the standings after preliminary regattas the last two years. If not for those points, he'd be tied at the bottom of the fleet with Artemis, SoftBank Team Japan and Groupama Team France, all with two points.

"We hoped we wouldn't need them, but certainly coming into this event it's well-documented that we're struggling for straight-line speed and thankfully our performance in the America's Cup World Series was very strong," Ainslie said. "It was a target for the team for the points, but also as a new team in the America's Cup to prove that we can race and win at this level."

In one of the many radical departures from tradition, this is the first time the defender has sailed against challengers in the preliminaries. If Oracle wins the qualifiers, it will carry a one-point bonus into the first-of-seven America's Cup match beginning June 17. If a challenger wins the qualifiers and then reaches the match, it will get the bonus point.

After the second round robin, one challenger will be eliminated and Oracle will practice on its own while the challengers sail their semifinals and finals.

Not only has Ainslie struggled with speed, but he's had three collisions. He hit the dock coming back from training in March and then slammed into the back of Emirates Team New Zealand during a practice race, causing damage that took the Kiwis three days to repair.

Also Tuesday, a rematch between Artemis and Team New Zealand fizzled when the Swedish-backed boat was flagged for a port-starboard infraction, allowing the Kiwis to sail to an easy win.

"We copped the penalty fair and square there," said Artemis skipper Nathan Outteridge, an Australian, who took his third straight loss.

It came a day after their thrilling showdown was marred by an umpiring error. Artemis was flagged for a penalty at the last mark, allowing the Kiwis to win. Chief umpire Richard Slater later said the penalty should not have been called.

Oracle had a minor issue with its wing sail and still cruised to an easy win against France.

A flap that covers an access panel on the wing came loose and wing trimmer Kyle Langford jumped up to fix it.

"Kyle did a good job ... put a bit of a Band-Aid on it and we were able to get through the race," skipper Jimmy Spithill said. "But from that point on we were kind of in delivery mode."

Oracle Team USA, owned by software billionaire Larry Ellison, won by 1:56.


Penguins wary, Predators confident as Game 2 looms

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) tries to unsuccessfully redirect a shot in front of Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (35) during the third period of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, Monday, May 29, in Pittsburgh. The Penguins won 5-3. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Will Graves

Pittsburgh (AP) — The winning team went nearly two full periods without a shot. The hottest goaltender in the playoffs was only tested 11 times in 58 minutes — and lost.

No wonder Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan described his team's 5-3 victory over Nashville in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final as "bizarre."

And that doesn't even include the catfish tossed onto the ice by a Predators fan at PPG Paints Arena in the middle of a second period. The fish that splatted on the Nashville blue line earned the thrower three misdemeanor charges and also came as close to Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne as anything the Penguins managed during 20 minutes in which the highest-scoring team in the league couldn't even muster a single shot.

"It's not always pretty," Sullivan said. "We don't get points for style. But what I love about our team is that we find ways to win, we compete."

True, though for the majority of Game 1, the competition was pretty one-sided. The Predators controlled the pace and the puck, just not the scoreboard. It left the guys from "Smashville" in a new position for the first time since they began their mad dash to the final a month ago: chaser instead of chasee as Game 2 looms on Wednesday night.

"Now we face a little adversity," said defenseman Ryan Ellis, who scored the first Stanley Cup Final goal in team history. "We see what kind of group and character we have to bounce back."

The Predators haven't dropped consecutive games in the postseason and their four previous losses were pretty easy to explain. What happened on Monday night was not. The only area where Nashville wasn't markedly better than the defending Stanley Cup champions is the only one that really matters.

"Everything was there that we liked but the result," Ellis said.

Ellis described the Predators as more disappointed than mad. You can probably add baffled to the list. Nashville became the first team since the NHL began tracking the stat in 1957 to hold a team without a shot for an entire period during the Stanley Cup Final. The gulf actually stretched 37 minutes in all, which sounds like a perfect way for the opponent to win.

Except the streak was bookended by goals. The first, a ricochet off Nashville defenseman Mattias Ekholm, gave the Penguins a 3-0 lead with 17 seconds left in the first period. The second, a sniper shot by Penguins rookie Jake Guentzel exactly 37 minutes later, put Pittsburgh back in front to stay at 4-3.

The angst Nashville felt isn't new to those who face the Penguins. Pittsburgh was outshot throughout the first two rounds of the playoffs. It didn't stop the Penguins from knocking off Columbus in five games and Washington in seven. There's a bit of a changeling quality to this group as opposed to the one that beat San Jose in six games to win the Cup last spring.

Sullivan calls it the ability to "win games different ways," but what happened in Game 1 seems borderline impossible. The Penguins understand they were equal parts lucky and good. They also understand they can't afford to have their offense go dormant for nearly two periods.

Only a handful of Penguins participated in a skate on Tuesday, though the video room was crowded while they searched for ways to make sure a funk like that doesn't happen again.

"We know that's not necessarily the way you want to play the game every night," Crosby said.

The Predators are more focused on the process than the end product. Save for a bumpy stretch near the end of the first period where the Penguins scored three times, Nashville did exactly what it wanted to do. Defenseman P.K. Subban pointed to the response after falling behind by three as proof the stage is not too big.

"It's easy in a Stanley Cup game to come back in the room, everybody is quiet, nerves," Subban said. "But that's not our hockey club. We know how good we can be. The way we responded was typical Nashville Predators."

Typical for everyone except Rinne. The 34-year-old goalie is the main reason Nashville's season will extend into June for the first time. Yet his iffy play in Game 1 continued a troubling trend. He came into the series 1-5-2 with a .880 save percentage and 3.57 goals-against average in his career against the Penguins, numbers that ticked in the wrong direction even though he spent a majority of three periods standing in his crease with nothing to do while his teammates were at work at the other end of the ice.

Rinne's teammates rallied to his defense. They're well aware that without him they likely would have traded their sticks for golf clubs long ago.

"Looking back since I came here a couple years ago, he's been the best player in almost all of the games played," Filip Forsberg said. "We have all the belief in Pekks we can ever have. I'm looking forward to see him play next game."


Update May 30, 2017

Djokovic, Nadal open with easy wins in Paris

Serbia's Novak Djokovic serves against Spain's Marcel Granollers during their first round match at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, in Paris, France. Monday, May 29. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Howard Fendrich

Paris (AP) — If Novak Djokovic was hoping to take a little pressure and attention off himself after some rough results, he might very well have found the perfect way to do that by adding Andre Agassi as a coaching consultant of sorts for the French Open.

Well, for up to a week of the tournament, anyway.

With Agassi seated in the stands, generally expressionless during the match and silent afterward, the No. 2-seeded Djokovic was not always at his clean-swinging best while beating Marcel Granollers 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 on Monday to begin the defence of the title that allowed him to complete a career Grand Slam at Roland Garros a year ago.

"I mean, it's hard to say whether there is significant difference on the court, because it's only a few days that we are together," Djokovic said. "So it's going to take a little bit of time. ... I'm patient and, for us, this is a great way to start off our collaboration and friendship and get to know each other and then see where it takes us."

On a relatively quiet Day 2, Rafael Nadal started his pursuit of a record 10th French Open championship with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 victory over Benoit Paire. Other seeded men advancing included No. 5 Milos Raonic, No. 7 Marin Cilic and No. 10 David Goffin, while No. 14 Jack Sock, the top-ranked U.S. man, and No. 31 Gilles Simon — both in Nadal's section of the draw — plus No. 32 Mischa Zverev all lost.

Defending women's champion Garbine Muguruza and former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki won in straight sets, but two seeded American women joined Sock on the way out: No. 19 CoCo Vandeweghe and No. 25 Lauren Davis.

Leave it to the No. 4-seeded Nadal to win relatively simply and then lament a portion of his performance.

"For me," he said, "it's important to serve a little bit better than what I did today."

Djokovic made it sound as if Agassi's role right now is more about offering life advice than tennis tips.

Sunglasses perched atop his shaved pate, leaning forward with his chin resting on his hands and elbows on his knees, Agassi occasionally applauded during the 2-hour first-round match. Later, Agassi — who counts the 1999 French Open among his eight Grand Slam titles — declined to take questions from a reporter.

Djokovic, for his part, had plenty to say about their partnership, which sounds more like a brief experiment than the start of a long-term arrangement, even if that's what the Serb insisted he hopes it can become.

"Well, he's going to stay ... I hope, 'til the end of this week. Then he has to leave, because he has some scheduled ... things that he cannot reschedule. So that's all," said Djokovic, whose 29 unforced errors were one more than Granollers' total. "I'm going to try to use the time spent with him as best as I can, as best as we can. So far, plenty of information, plenty of things to kind of process."

A year ago, when Djokovic finally fulfilled his quest to win a trophy in Paris, he was working with Boris Becker — who was on hand Monday and visited with Agassi — and Marian Vajda. But Djokovic split with those coaches, as well as other members of his entourage, hoping to regain the groove that made him the first man in nearly a half-century to win four consecutive majors.

Since then, though, the highlight for Djokovic was a runner-up finish at the U.S. Open. Otherwise, he lost his No. 1 ranking to Andy Murray and lost in the third round of Wimbledon, the first round of the Rio Olympics and the second round of the Australian Open.

"You're developed to kind of flip the next page very quickly. Whether or not you win or lose in a big tournament, there is another big one coming up in a matter of weeks' time or even less. So for me, it was really strange to get to feel what I felt the end of last season," Djokovic said, "because I always, even when I would face that before in my career, I felt that I would overcome it very quickly."

This time, he acknowledged, that didn't happen.

"I had to work harder," Djokovic said.

And he opted to make changes.


Kiwis win thriller on incorrect Swede penalty in Cup trials

Artemis Racing and Emirates Team New Zealand compete during America's Cup qualifying on the Great Sound in Bermuda on Monday, May 29. (Ricardo Pinto/ACEA via AP)

Bernie Wilson

Hamilton, Bermuda (AP) - Three days into qualifying races and there's already a controversy in the America's Cup.

A thrilling showdown between two of the top challengers turned on a penalty Monday, leaving one crew fighting to keep its 50-foot foiling catamaran from tipping over, and the other crew dumbfounded.

A few hours later, the chief umpire released a statement saying the officials blew the call.

Emirates Team New Zealand beat Artemis Racing after the Swedish team was penalized turning onto the last leg Monday on Bermuda's Great Sound.

Artemis was flagged for a port-starboard violation and had to slow just as it approached the finish line after a short reach across the wind, allowing the Kiwis to win.

There were protestations of "no way" and "completely rubbish" on the Swedish catamaran, which is crewed mostly by Australians.

Turns out their protestations were spot on.

In a statement, Richard Slater, the chief umpire for the independent America's Cup Race Management, said officials "have had a discussion, we have looked at other evidence, information and data, and I think if we were to go back in time and make that call, we would green that call and not penalize Artemis."

Once a call is made, it can't be changed.

"It was obviously a pretty good race, such an epic battle, really, the whole way around," said Artemis skipper Nathan Outteridge, an Aussie. "I'm sure Pete and the boys enjoyed it as much as we did, probably a bit more at the end there."

Outteridge felt Artemis gave the Kiwis enough room.

"We were a bit shocked when the blue light came on," he said.

There were stunned looks on the crewmembers' faces after the finish.

Slater said that as the boats were approaching the gate mark, "our job is to be certain that Artemis Racing were keeping clear, and we weren't at that time certain they were keeping clear."

Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Peter Burling said the Kiwis were looking to set up a port-starboard at the mark, but didn't expect it to be so close.

Coming in at high speed, Burling dropped the catamaran off its foils and buried the starboard bow in the water to slow down.

"We were pretty lucky we didn't end up on our side," he said. "At 40 knots, you need room."

"We thought it was pretty tight, but we were happy with the outcome," Burling added. "Like any sport, you've got to play to the whistle."

It was one of the most exciting America's Cup races in years. Artemis also was penalized for being over the start line early. Still, there were nine lead changes on the seven-leg course.

Artemis and New Zealand don't have to wait for a rematch. They face off again in the opening race of the second round robin on Tuesday.

Earlier Monday, British sailing star Ben Ainslie, who leads Land Rover BAR, lost his fourth straight race. Land Rover BAR had a bad mark rounding halfway through the race and Groupama Team France went flying past and won by 53 seconds.

New Zealand finished the first round robin with four points, one behind two-time defending champion Oracle Team USA.

Struggling Land Rover BAR has three points, followed by Artemis, SoftBank Team Japan and Groupama Team France with two points apiece.

One challenger will be eliminated after the second round robin, which wraps up Saturday.

Ainslie would be in real trouble if not for bringing in two bonus points earned during preliminary regattas.

This is the first time the defender has sailed against challengers in the preliminaries. If Oracle wins the qualifiers, it will carry a one-point bonus into the first-of-seven America's Cup match beginning June 17. After the round robins, Oracle will practice on its own while the challengers sail their semifinals and finals.

Artemis looked strong in practice racing earlier this spring. It's looking to bounce back from the death of Andrew "Bart" Simpson in May 2013, when its 72-foot catamaran broke apart during a training run on San Francisco Bay.

The Kiwis are looking for redemption after blowing an 8-1 lead on match point in the 2013 match, when Oracle Team USA won eight straight races to retain the Auld Mug.

The Kiwis sacked skipper Dean Barker and replaced him with Burling.

Besides being top challengers, the Artemis and Team New Zealand sailors are familiar with one another. Outteridge and fellow Artemis crewman Iain Jensen won the gold medal in the 49er class in the 2012 Olympics, with Burling and fellow ETNZ sailor Blair Tuke taking the silver. At Rio last summer, Burling and Tuke won the gold, with Outteridge and Jensen taking the silver.

In the last race of the round robin, Barker steered SoftBank Team Japan to a 2:34 rout of France.


Tiger Woods blames medications for his arrest on DUI charge

Tiger Woods was arrested Monday on a DUI charge in Florida. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Doug Ferguson

Palm Beach, Florida (AP) - Tiger Woods attributed an "unexpected reaction" to prescription medicine for his arrest on a DUI charge that landed him in a Florida jail Monday for nearly four hours.

Woods, the 14-time major champion who had back surgery five weeks ago, was arrested on suspicion of DUI at about 3 a.m. Monday and taken to Palm Beach County jail. He was released on his own recognizance.

An arrest report might be available on Tuesday, Jupiter Police spokeswoman Kristin Rightler said.

"I understand the severity of what I did and I take full responsibility for my actions," Woods said in a statement Monday evening. "I want the public to know that alcohol was not involved. What happened was an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications. I didn't realize the mix of medications had affected me so strongly."

Woods apologized to his family, friends and fans and said, "I expect more from myself, too."

"I will do everything in my power to ensure this never happens again," he said.

Woods, whose 79 victories rank No. 2 on the PGA Tour's career list, has not competed for nearly four months. He is out for the rest of the season while he recovers from fusion surgery performed April 20 in Texas.

In an update posted on his website, he said the surgery provided instant relief from pain and that he hasn't "felt this good in years."

Police said Woods was arrested on Military Trail, a six-lane road, south of Indian Creek Parkway. Woods did not say in his statement where he had been or what he was doing at that hour. Jail records show that the 41-year-old was booked into jail at 7:18 a.m. and released at 10:50 a.m. The jail released a booking photo of Woods in a white T-shirt.

Rightler, the police spokeswoman, said she did not have details about the circumstances leading to Woods' arrest, nor did she have any information about whether the arrest involved drugs or alcohol.

His agent at Excel Sports, Mark Steinberg, did not respond to a voicemail from The Associated Press seeking comment. PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw said the tour would have no comment.

Woods said in his statement that he fully cooperated with law enforcement and thanked Jupiter Police and the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office for being professional.

Notah Begay, a roommate of Woods when they played at Stanford, was empathetic. Begay was arrested for aggravated drunken driving in 2000 when he ran into a car outside a bar in New Mexico. He was sentenced to 364 days in jail, with all but seven days suspended.

"It's embarrassing for Tiger, something that you can't go back and change," Begay said on Golf Channel from the NCAA men's golf championship in Sugar Grove, Illinois, where he was working for the network. "I've been there myself. ... But it was a turning point in my life. Hopefully, it's something he'll learn from, grow from, take responsibility for and use it to make some changes."

Woods has not been seen at a golf tournament since he opened with a 77 at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in February, withdrawing the next day because of back spasms. He was in Los Angeles for the Genesis Open, run by his Tiger Woods Foundation, but he did not come to the course at Riviera because of his back.

He was at the Masters, but only to attend the dinner for past champions.

Woods, who had been No. 1 longer than any other golfer, has not been a factor since his last victory in August 2013 as he battled through back surgeries from a week before the 2014 Masters until his most recent fusion surgery on his lower back a month ago.

It was the first time Woods has run into trouble off the golf course since he plowed his SUV into a tree and a fire hydrant outside his Windermere, Florida, home in the early morning after Thanksgiving in 2009, which led to revelations that he had multiple extramarital affairs.

A police report then showed that a Florida trooper who suspected Woods was driving under the influence sought a subpoena for the golfer's blood test results from the hospital, but prosecutors rejected the petition for insufficient information.

A witness, who wasn't identified in the report, told the trooper he had been drinking alcohol earlier. The same witness also said Woods had been prescribed two drugs, the sleep aid Ambien and the painkiller Vicodin. The report did not say who the witness was but said it was the same person who pulled Woods from the vehicle after the accident. Woods' wife has told police that she used a golf club to smash the back windows of the Cadillac Escalade to help her husband out.

He eventually was cited for careless driving and fined $164.

Woods and wife Elin Nordegren divorced in 2010. He later had a relationship with Olympic ski champion Lindsey Vonn that lasted two years.


South Africa cruise to 7-wicket consolation win vs England

South Africa's players celebrate taking the wicket of England's Jonny Bairstow during the third One Day International cricket match at Lord's cricket ground in London, Monday, May 29. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

London (AP) — South Africa cruised to a consolation seven-wicket victory against England in the third and final one-day international to trim the series loss to 2-1 on Monday.

Kagiso Rabada (4-39) and Wayne Parnell (3-43) plundered England, who rallied from 20-6 to 153 all out in the 32nd over.

South Africa made 156-3 in 28.5 overs, built on a 95-run opening stand between Hashim Amla (55) and Quinton de Kock (34).

Both openers were clean bowled in successive overs before JP Duminy (28 not out) and captain AB de Villiers (27 not out) shared a half-century stand to carry South Africa home.

"We had a lot to play for today, and there are some encouraging signs," de Villiers said. "The boys hung onto almost everything that came their way. The intensity was very good."

Earlier, England crumbled against Rabada and Parnell. It was a dramatic turn of fortune at Lord's, after England scored more than 300 runs in Leeds and Southampton to win the first two internationals.

Rabada's three-wicket burst in one over left England reeling at 20-6 inside the first five overs, the first time in an ODI that half a dozen wickets fell in the first 30 balls of a match.

"We seemed to nick everything," England captain Eoin Moran said.

"If you look at our dismissals, South Africa didn't let us get away. Sometimes you have to sit in. It was a nice reminder. Today wasn't our day."

Jonny Bairstow top-scored with 51, but England's middle-order looked vulnerable in the absence of the rested Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, and Chris Woakes.

Morgan's team made a dismal start with Rababa claiming Alex Hales, Jos Buttler and Adil Rashid in one over.

Bairstow featured in two half-century stands with David Willey (26) and debutant Toby Roland-Jones (37 not out), but the top order collapse had already done enough damage.

Bairstow was finally stumped in the 28th over after hitting eight fours in his 67-ball knock as left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj (3-25) wrapped up the innings.


Barcelona hire former player Ernesto Valverde as new coach

Ernesto Valverde has been appointed the new head coach of FC Barcelona. (AP Photo/Claude Paris, File)

Tales Azzoni

Madrid (AP) — Barcelona picked one of their own to improve their winning ways.

Former player Ernesto Valverde has been hired as the new coach, the club confirmed on Monday.

The longtime Athletic Bilbao manager will replace Luis Enrique, who ended his three-year stint after winning the Copa del Rey on Saturday.

Valverde received a two-year contract, with an option for a third.

The expected announcement was made by Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu after a club board meeting.

Valverde's official introduction will be on Thursday.

"I personally spoke to Valverde and he is very happy and excited about the thrilling challenge that is to coach Barcelona," Bartomeu said.

A former forward, the 53-year-old Valverde played two seasons for Barcelona in the late 1980s and was coached by Johan Cruyff, the Dutch great who gave Barcelona their winning identity.

"Valverde has the ability, judgment, knowledge and experience. He loves football and has a style that is similar to Barca's," Bartomeu said. "He is a hard worker and is passionate about using technology in training and in match management."

The calm-mannered Valverde is known for an attacking style that should fit well with Barcelona.

His teams prioritize ball possession and like to pressure high in the attack while without the ball. His most used scheme with Athletic was the 4-2-3-1, with a true striker up front.

It was a style that helped Athletic play offensively and remain highly competitive, constantly fighting for qualification spots in European competitions. They finished seventh in the Spanish league.

Valverde led Athletic to victory over Barcelona in the final of the 2015 Spanish Super Cup, which marked the team's first title in more than three decades. They won the first leg of that final 4-0 with an inspiring performance at its San Mames Stadium.

He announced he was leaving Athletic last week after four seasons. He also coached Athletic from 2003-05. Valverde has coached the most matches in Athletic's history. He also played for the club from 1990-96.

His other jobs were at Espanyol, Olympiakos, Villarreal and Valencia. He led Espanyol to the UEFA Cup final in 2007, losing to Sevilla in a penalty shootout.

Luis Enrique left Barcelona this weekend after helping the club win nine titles out of a possible 13 in the three seasons he was with the Catalan club. He made the surprise announcement he would quit back in March, saying he needed to rest.

It was Barcelona's worst season under Luis Enrique, despite winning two titles, the Spanish Super Cup and the Copa del Rey. Barca were eliminated by Juventus in the quarterfinals of the Champions League and lost the Spanish league to Real Madrid in the final round.

"We expected more this season, we can't say that it was a successful one," Bartomeu said. "We can't be satisfied."

Valverde will have in his hands a team with Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez, but he will eventually need to start revamping part of an aging squad that includes veterans Andres Iniesta, Javier Mascherano and Gerard Pique.

His first official match will likely be against rivals Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup final in August. 


Update May 29, 2017

Vettel extends lead with Monaco GP win

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany celebrates after winning the Formula One Grand Prix at the Monaco racetrack in Monaco, Sunday, May 28. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

Jerome Pugmire

Monaco (AP) — Sebastian Vettel stood out last season for his furious rants more than his slick driving. Six races into the new campaign, the Ferrari driver is no longer Formula One's Mr. Angry, moving 25 points clear of Lewis Hamilton and in serious contention for a fifth title.

The title race took a further swing Ferrari's way after Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix, with Vettel winning ahead of teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

Hamilton finished seventh and behind his Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas, who was fourth.

Ferrari did not even win a race last year, but the Italian manufacturer has turned the tables on Mercedes. Faster and — so far — more reliable, with a calm and confident Vettel behind the wheel, the Prancing Horse is galloping away.

Vettel's third win this season was the 45th of his career and Ferrari's first here since Michael Schumacher in 2001. That was during Ferrari's dominant era. Early suggestions are that Ferrari could be on the verge of a new one.

"It's very, very special to win here," Vettel said. "With the season we've had, the Ferrari fans and the Ferrari flags are increasing."

There are few better places to celebrate than glitzy Monaco, and Vettel seemed keen to make the most of it.

"We're going to have a very fun night," he said.

It was a much different story last year, when Vettel was swearing and cursing on team radio, aiming expletives and broadsides at other drivers and even F1 officials.

"We had a lot of hard times last year, but this year it seems to be (the other way around)," Vettel said. "We must make sure we keep the momentum up in the next couple of races."

Vettel has been all smiles and compliments this year, emotionally praising his team in Italian after Sunday's win.

Daniel Ricciardo, Vettel's teammate during a dismal season at Red Bull in 2014, finished third to make it an even worse day for Mercedes.

"We've just been missing pace," Bottas said. "Ferrari were very strong this weekend and for whatever reason, their car seems easier to operate."

Vettel let out a whoop of delight after crossing the finish line with bright sunshine gleaming off the famed red of Ferrari. As the German national anthem played, he stood atop the podium with his eyes closed.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen was fifth, ahead of Spanish driver Carlos Sainz Jr.

Raikkonen started from pole position for the first time in nine years, with Vettel joining him on the front row.

After Raikkonen and Bottas had come in for a tire change a few laps earlier, Vettel changed halfway through the 78-lap race. When he came back out, he was in front of Raikkonen while Ricciardo had jumped ahead of Bottas.

It seemed to be a case of the Ferrari team giving preferential treatment to Vettel with Raikkonen's stop looking like it came far too early.

"I got the bad end of the story today," Raikkonen said. "It's still second place but it doesn't count a lot in my books at least."

Vettel sympathized.

"We get along well and I can understand Kimi's not totally happy today," he said.

Whatever the strategy was, Ferrari will not mind after securing maximum points.

"Something we've been waiting for a long time has finally come to pass, a race which will be part of our history," Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne said. "Not only a victory, but a one-two finish at a Grand Prix with a tradition as glorious as Monaco, where Ferrari last won with another one-two, delivered on that occasion by Schumacher and (Rubens) Barrichello. Today it was a really exciting race."

Not for everyone.

German driver Pascal Wehrlein crashed near the tunnel after being shoved by British driver Jenson Button.

With the drivers trundling behind the safety car, tire temperatures dropped dramatically and some could not cope. Marcus Ericsson crashed his Sauber and McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne followed suit moments later.

Then, after the safety car came out again, Russian Daniil Kvyat also lost control of his car in a frantic finish.

Up ahead, Vettel was already thinking about his party. 


Dutch rider Tom Dumoulin wins 100th Giro d'Italia

Tom Dumoulin, of the Netherlands, is framed by Milan's gothic cathedral as he holds up the trophy after winning the Giro d'Italia, Tour of Italy cycling race, in Milan, Sunday, May 28. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

Milan (AP) — Tom Dumoulin won the 100th Giro d'Italia in dramatic fashion Sunday, reclaiming the overall lead in a final-stage individual time trial.

It's the first Grand Tour victory for Dumoulin, a Dutchman with Team Sunweb, and it sets him up as a potential rival for three-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome.

Dumoulin entered the final stage in fourth position but finished far enough ahead of his rivals over the flat 29-kilometer (18-mile) route from Monza's Formula One race track to Milan's cathedral to move back into the lead.

"This is crazy. I could not have imagined this," Dumoulin said. "I was strong. I was lucky. Just everything fell into place the whole Giro."

In the overall standings, Dumoulin finished 31 seconds ahead of 2014 champion Nairo Quintana of Colombia and 40 seconds ahead of last year's winner, Vincenzo Nibali of Italy.

Dumoulin's fellow Dutchman Jos van Emden won the 21st stage in 33 minutes, 8 seconds.

"It couldn't be better," Van Emden said. "I'm really happy for Tom. He deserves it."

Dumoulin came second in the stage, 15 seconds behind. Nibali came 13th, 1:09 behind Emden and Quintana was 27th, 1:39 back.

Dumoulin entered the final stage 53 seconds behind Quintana.

It was the third time the pink jersey changed hands on the last stage. Felice Gimondi replaced Johan De Muynck in 1976, Francesco Moser dethroned Laurent Fignon in 1984 and Ryder Hesjedal overcame Joaquim Rodriguez in 2012.

Dumoulin also won the race's other time trial in Stage 10 and claimed Stage 14, which had an uphill finish. Dumoulin wore the leader's pink jersey for eight days but then struggled in the serious mountain stages and lost the lead to Quintana two days ago.

Dumoulin came close to winning the 2015 Spanish Vuelta, which he led heading into the penultimate stage. But he faded fast on the final mountain ride, and finished sixth behind winner Fabio Aru. The final stage was the traditional leisurely arrival to Madrid, which offered no chance to come back.

This time, the concluding time trial was just what Dumoulin needed, enabling him to become the first Dutch rider to win the Giro.

"I'm not the first TT rider who can do well in the mountains," Dumoulin said. "Miguel Indurain is five steps ahead of me. There are guys like Bradley Wiggins, but I don't want to compare myself to anyone."

Relief came via the team radio.

"I was feeling good. Halfway they said 'Don't take risks anymore,' so I thought, 'Maybe I'm winning now?'" Dumoulin said. "They better never do that again, because it was close in the end."


Sato holds off Helio to give Andretti another Indy 500 win

 

Takuma Sato, of Japan, celebrates winning the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Sunday, May 28 in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Mike McKnown)

Jenna Fryer

Indianapolis (AP) — At the end of 500 miles around Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it was a former Formula One driver who took the checkered flag.

He even drove for Andretti Autosport.

It just wasn't Fernando Alonso.

Takuma Sato became the first Japanese winner of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday when he denied Helio Castroneves a record-tying fourth victory as the two traded the lead in the closing laps.

"I know Helio is always going to charge," Sato said. "But he's just such a gentleman and such a fair player."

The Andretti family has struggled for decades to win this race, but as a car owner, Michael Andretti certainly knows the way to victory lane.

Sato's victory gave Andretti a second consecutive win in "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing." An Andretti driver has now won the 500 three times in the last four years, and five times overall dating to 2005 with the late Dan Wheldon.

Last year, it was with rookie Alexander Rossi. This time it is with Sato, who joined the team just this season and had largely been overlooked at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Andretti camp expanded to six cars for the 500 to add Alonso, a two-time F1 champion who brought massive European interest to the race.

Six cars never seemed to spread the team too thin, and the main issue facing Andretti Autosport was the reliability of its Honda engines. Alonso put on a thrilling show and even led 27 laps — third most in the race — but he was sent to the paddock when his engine blew with 20 laps remaining.

"We didn't build the thing that was smoking down the front straight," said McLaren boss Zak Brown, who engineered Alonso's trip to Indianapolis. Part of the reason Alonso was able to skip F1's showcase Monaco Grand Prix earlier Sunday for Indy is because the McLaren team — and its Hondas — have grossly underperformed this season and Alonso is not a current title contender.

Alonso did have a spectacular race and simply fell victim to his engine late in the race. The crowd gave the Spaniard a standing ovation as he climbed from his car.

"I felt the noise, the engine friction, I backed off and I saw the smoke and, yeah, it's a shame," Alonso said. "It's a very nice surprise to come here with big names, big guys, the best in open-wheel racing and be competitive."

He still drank from a carton of milk to close out his experience at Indy, and didn't rule out a potential return.

"The last two weeks, I came here basically to prove myself, to challenge myself," Alonso said. "I know that I can be as quick as anyone in an F1 car. I didn't know if I can be as quick as anyone in an Indy car."

The Honda teams had a clear horsepower advantage over Chevrolet, but things were dicey in Indy for more than a week and certainly on race day: Before Alonso's failure, 2014 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay lost his Honda and so did Charlie Kimball. Hunter-Reay led 28 laps and was a strong contender late.

"I'm really happy for Honda. They worked really hard to get us here," said Andretti. "I know how big this news is going to be tomorrow when they wake up in Japan. It's going to be huge. I'm really happy for them, that we were able to give them a win with our Japanese driver here."

Added Sato about the popularity of his victory in Japan: "This is going to be mega big. A lot of the Japanese fans are following the IndyCar Series and many, many flew over for the Indianapolis 500. We showed the great result today and I am very proud of it."

In a Chevrolet for Team Penske, Castroneves briefly took the lead but couldn't make it stick as Sato grabbed it back. Castroneves was disappointed to fall short of the four-time winners club — particularly since it was his third runner-up finish.

"Being second again sucks, being so close to getting my fourth," Castroneves said. "I'm really trying. I'm not giving up this dream and I know it's going to happen."

The margin of victory was 0.2011 seconds and the win was redemption for Sato, who crashed while trying to beat Dario Franchitti on the final lap of the 2012 race.

A joyful Sato dumped a bottle of 2 percent milk over his head, received a kiss from the Indy 500 Princess and raised his finger in the air. Michael Andretti ran down pit lane to reach Sato's crew, then rushed to hug his driver.

As for the difference between 2012, when Sato crashed in the first turn of the final lap racing Franchitti, Sato said his strategy this year was perfect.

"I was pointing in the right direction into (Turn) One," said Sato, who was congratulated in victory lane by Franchitti.

It was only the second IndyCar victory for Sato, who won driving for A.J. Foyt in Long Beach in 2013 — a span of 74 races.

Ed Jones finished a career-best third and was followed by Max Chilton and Tony Kanaan, the highest finishers for Chip Ganassi Racing. Two-time winner Juan Pablo Montoya was sixth.

Honda drivers took six of the top 10 finishing positions.

Pole sitter Scott Dixon, already having a rough week because he was robbed at gunpoint at Taco Bell hours after turning the fastest qualifying effort in 21 years, was knocked out of the race in a terrifying crash in which his car sailed through the air and landed cockpit-first atop the inside safety fence. Dixon's car was split in two amid sparks and flames.

The tub of the car remained intact and the 2008 champion was able to climb out on his own to a roar from the crowd. He walked to a waiting ambulance while the race was placed under red flag and crews began to clean up debris scattered over hundreds of feet in the accident caused when Dixon's car collided with that of Jay Howard.

"Just a little beaten up there. It was definitely a rough ride," Dixon said. "We had a great shot. We had gotten a little loose but they had dialed it in."


Oracle goes 2-1 to take lead in America's Cup qualifiers

Two-time defending champion Oracle Team USA, left, and Artemis Racing of Sweden, right, compete in the 35th America's Cup sailing event on the Great Sound in Bermuda on Sunday, May 28. (Ricardo Pinto/ACEA via AP)

Bernie Wilson

Hamilton, Bermuda (AP) - Two-time defending champion Oracle Team USA won't go undefeated in this America's Cup regatta and Groupama Team France won't go winless.

On an afternoon of light, shifty winds on the turquoise waters of Bermuda's Great Sound, Oracle won two of three races to take a two-point lead in the America's Cup qualifiers. Groupama Team France opened Sunday's racing with a stunning upset of Artemis Racing of Sweden.

Britain's Land Rover BAR got its foiling 50-foot catamaran patched up overnight after a frightening collision with SoftBank Team Japan on Saturday. But skipper Ben Ainslie and crew gave up the lead in their two races and were beaten handily by Oracle and Emirates Team New Zealand. That's not a good sign for a country that's tried for 166 years to win back the silver trophy it lost to the schooner America in 1851.

Oracle, skippered by Australia Jimmy Spithill, beat Land Rover BAR by 39 seconds, lost to Artemis by 39 seconds, and routed stablemate SoftBank Team Japan by 54 seconds.

This is the first time the defender has sailed against challengers in the preliminaries. If Oracle wins the qualifiers, it will carry a one-point bonus into the first-of-seven America's Cup match beginning June 17.

Spithill is determined to get that point, even if the team, owned by software billionaire Larry Ellison, isn't always perfect.

"It was a day where it was really easy to make mistakes," said Spithill, who led Oracle to a rousing comeback win over Emirates Team New Zealand in the 2013 America's Cup on San Francisco Bay. "We actually made quite a lot of them, especially early on in the first two starts. As we saw today, if you sailed well, the boat speed really didn't matter. It was really about trying to avoid all those minefields out there."

Oracle has five points, followed by Emirates Team Zealand and Land Rover BAR with three apiece. Land Rover BAR entered with two bonus points from preliminary regattas, while Oracle entered with one bonus point. Artemis has two points and SoftBank Team Japan and France one apiece.

Oracle is finished with the first round robin, which continues with three races Monday. The second round robin starts Tuesday, after which one challenger will be eliminated. Oracle will then train on its own while the challengers sail their semifinals and finals.

Beating Artemis by 3 seconds "was really good for the team," French skipper Franck Cammas said. "They worked two years for that. It's good for the mind, it's good for the maturation for the next days."

With the weekend crowded due to Friday's schedule being blown out by too much wind, Oracle was the only team to sail three races Sunday. It swapped out two of the workhorse grinders per race. Due to the way the rotation works, Aussie Ky Hurst sailed the last two races.

"Give full credit to the boys; three races," Spithill said. "The guys are in great shape, so it's not really an issue in terms of the physical side for the guys."

Oracle recovered from a bad start against Land Rover BAR and passed the Brits about halfway through the race. The American lead grew as Land Rover BAR came off its foils and buried its bows in the water just after the weather mark, a recurring problem.

Artemis skipper Nathan Outteridge, also an Aussie, got the best of Spithill at the start of their race. Oracle got close, but Artemis played the shifts for a big win.

Oracle had no trouble against SoftBank Team Japan, which is led by Dean Barker, the former skipper of Emirates Team New Zealand. The two syndicates shared a design package, but SoftBank Team Japan, a startup syndicate, is clearly behind on the sailing front.

Spithill wasn't surprised with the big difference between Oracle and Japan.

"When you look at the conditions, it's no surprise at all that either team could have been a long way ahead," he said. "No disrespect to Franck, but I think Artemis is a team that the bookies would have had odds-on to win that race, and Franck and the guys just sailed better. It clearly shows that today was about sailing well and trying to avoid some of the tough spots out there."

Ainslie said the shore team "did an amazing job" of patching a hole in the port hull left by Saturday's collision. "It's just a shame we couldn't repay that work with some wins today," he said.

Barker said his boat still needs some work after Saturday's crash.

"The shore crew are looking forward to when Ben's going to bring some beers down," Barker said. "It didn't happen last night, so I'm guessing' he'll probably do it tonight."

Emirates Team New Zealand beat Japan by 33 seconds and Britain by 1:28.


No. 1 Kerber out of French Open in 1st round

Germany's Angelique Kerber leaves the arena after losing in two sets, 2-6, 2-6, against Russia's Ekaterina Makarova at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Sunday, May 28. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

Howard Fendrich

Paris (AP) — A French Open already missing Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova is now without No. 1-ranked Angelique Kerber, too, lending even more of a feeling that the women's championship is anyone's to win.

Kerber has not been playing at all like one of the best at what she does, and on Sunday she became the first woman seeded No. 1 to lose in the French Open's first round in the professional era.

Kerber, who replaced Williams atop the WTA rankings this month, was gone from Roland Garros by lunchtime on Day 1, putting up little resistance while being beaten 6-2, 6-2 by 40th-ranked Ekaterina Makarova of Russia. It's the latest in a string of early exits for Kerber, who reached her first three major finals in 2016.

"This year, I mean, the expectations are much bigger, especially in the big tournaments and the Grand Slams. And the expectations are also, from me, really big, of course, because I know what I can do, what I did last year," Kerber said. "But right now, I think that I have to find myself again."

Other significant results as the year's second Grand Slam tournament began: Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova played — and won — her first match since being stabbed by an intruder at her home in December; Venus Williams began her 20th appearance at Roland Garros with a victory; and Rio Olympics gold medalist Monica Puig eliminated 2015 U.S. Open runner-up Roberta Vinci 6-3, 3-6, 6-2.

Makarova's take when informed of the history made by her victory?

"Well," she said, "that's unbelievable."

Although maybe not, considering how Kerber has fared lately.

Her Australian Open and U.S. Open titles, plus Wimbledon runner-up finish, seem a bit in the distance now: The German has a 19-13 record this season, losing 4 of her past 6 matches.

"If you are losing, it's always tough to (enjoy) the game," Kerber said. "I mean, I know in the last years I had always up and downs and right now, of course, I'm ... down."

Add in that 23-time major champion Serena Williams is pregnant and won't play until next season, and five-time major champion Sharapova was refused a wild card in Paris as she returns from a 15-month doping suspension, and the rest of the field might have more reason than usual to believe in the chance to claim a Grand Slam trophy.

"That's the beauty of our sport right now: Anybody can win and everybody's really good," said Shelby Rogers, an American who beat Marina Erakovic of New Zealand 7-6 (4), 6-4 on a steamy Sunday when the temperature touched 90 degrees (32 Celsius).

"I like playing at this time for women's tennis. It's kind of — I don't want to say 'open,' because everyone's really good, but — very competitive," Rogers said, "and there's not like that dominating force."

Kerber's strokes were off against Makarova, who has reached two major semifinals but never been past the fourth round in Paris. Makarova pointed out she never had played a singles match in the tournament's main stadium (she was the 2013 French Open women's doubles champion).

Kerber had only four winners and 12 unforced errors in the first set and didn't even earn a break point until the last game, which Makarova won, anyway. Makarova then raced to a 3-0 lead in the second set.

Kerber showed some signs of getting into the match, smacking a cross-court forehand passing winner, leaning forward and yelling as she got within 3-1. But that was about it. In the last game, Kerber held seven break points but Makarova fought off each one despite, she said, "fighting with my emotion."

In the preceding match on Court Philippe Chatrier, Kvitova's eyes welled with tears at the end of her 6-3, 6-2 win against 86th-ranked Julia Boserup of the United States.

"I think it doesn't really matter how I played," but I won, Kvitova said.

She had surgery on her left hand — the one she plays tennis with — after the knife attack in the Czech Republic.

Only in recent days did Kvitova decide to enter the French Open.

"I saw her in the locker room a couple of days ago," said Bethanie Mattek-Sands, an American qualifier who will face Kvitova in the second round after beating Evgeniya Rodina 7-5, 6-2. "Gave her a big hug. It's great to see her come back."


Feng holds on for 1-stroke win at LPGA event in Michigan

Shanshan Feng, of China, stands with the LPGA Volvik Championship trophy after winning the golf tournament at the Travis Pointe Country Club, Sunday, May 28, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez)

Noah Trister

Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP) — Shanshan Feng won in Malaysia and Japan during an impressive stretch toward the end of the 2016 season.

On American soil, however, it had been a while since her last victory.

That dry spell ended when Feng shot a 4-under 68 on Sunday to win the LPGA Volvik Championship by one stroke over Minjee Lee and Sung Hyun Park. It was her first victory of the season and seventh of her career — and her first in the U.S. since the CME Group Titleholders in 2013.

"Very happy that I can actually prove to the fans in the U.S. that I can actually win here," she said.

She led by one shot after a bogey-free third round Saturday, then kept the competition at bay on the 6,734-yard course at Travis Pointe Country Club.

Feng, a bronze medalist for China at the 2016 Olympics, led by four strokes with four holes to play, but she made a bogey on No. 16 and Lee birdied 17. Needing a bogey on the 18th to win, Feng easily tapped in for one and finished at 19-under 269.

Lee (65) made six birdies on the front nine, and Park (66) made four on the back.

Playing a couple groups ahead of Feng, Lee knew she needed a strong finish to catch the leader, and after her birdie on No. 17, she tried to reach the green on the par-5 18th in two. Lee missed well to the left and ended up near the scoring tent before scrambling to make par.

"I was like, 'Oh, I'm four shots behind with like two holes to go.' So just tried to play and make as many birdies as I could on the last two holes," Lee said. "I made one."

But Feng still had room for error as she was finishing her round — not that she necessarily realized it. Feng says she tries to ignore the leaderboard when she plays.

"I had no idea about the others other than my playing partners, so I was maybe assuming somebody in front of me maybe would have a super-low round and maybe would catch me," Feng said. "So I had no idea. I was just focusing on my own game and own plan."

Feng's second shot on 18 left her behind a bunker near the green, and her shot from there still came up short of the putting surface. When she did reach the green, she still had two putts for the win from a pretty short distance.

"I asked my caddie. I handed him the ball, I was like, 'Is it OK?' My caddie said, 'Oh, it's fine.' Then I was like, 'Oh, maybe I've got two putt to win,'" she said. "And I looked at the leaderboard and I was winning by two, so I didn't have pressure."

Lizette Salas (69) and Jeong Eun Lee (67) finished tied for fourth, two strokes behind.

Lydia Ko skipped this event but remains No. 1 in the Rolex Rankings. So Yeon Ryu and Ariya Jutanugarn each could have displaced her this week, but Ryu (72) finished tied for 56th at 3 under, and Jutanugarn (71) — the defending champion at this event — was 11 under and tied for 21st. Ryu had finished in the top 10 in 11 consecutive events, dating to last season.

Feng finished last year strong after her Olympic medal, winning twice to cap a streak of six straight tour finishes in the top four.

"I got the bronze medal in Rio and that really gave me a lot more confidence," she said. "After that I just reminded myself every time, 'Hey, just smile all the time, it doesn't matter if you hit a bad shot. I mean it's going to happen because we're human beings and we should allow ourselves to do that, and that's what I've been doing well."

Feng's most recent LPGA win before Sunday was at last year's TOTO Japan Classic , and the ending was similar. She took a three-shot lead to the final hole, then made a double bogey that was enough for a one-stroke victory.

She came into the final round Sunday with a one-stroke lead over Salas and was ahead by two after the front nine. Birdies on Nos. 13 and 14 put Feng ahead by four.


Noren shoots 10-under 62, wins BMW PGA Championship

Sweden's Alex Noren kisses the trophy after winning the 2017 BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Golf Club, Virginia Water, England, Sunday May 28. (Nigel French/PA via AP)

Steve Douglas

Virginia Water, England (AP) - Racked with nerves, Alex Noren could barely line up his 6-foot eagle putt on the final hole that would help to clinch him the BMW PGA Championship on Sunday.

The Swedish golfer still managed to roll it into the center of the cup, where most of his putts ended up during the best round of his life.

Rediscovering his sensational form of 2016, Noren shot a course-record 10-under 62 at Wentworth and came from seven strokes back in the final round to win the signature event on the European Tour against the odds.

"That was the best round of golf I've ever seen," tweeted Peter Uihlein, Noren's playing partner.

The 13th-ranked Noren had to wait before he could really celebrate the ninth and biggest victory of his career, and a first prize of 894,000 pounds ($1.14 million).

He started the final round so far behind that more than two hours of play were remaining after his eagle on the par-5 No. 18.

That set the clubhouse target of 11-under 277, but the likes of Henrik Stenson, Branden Grace, Shane Lowry and Hideto Tanihara were all picking up shots and looked likely to challenge the lead. Noren felt he might even be three strokes too short.

In the end, no one got within a stroke as the chasers fell away once late-afternoon rain arrived.

"It feels amazing and crazy," Noren said. "I had no intention of winning this morning."

Francesco Molinari was second — two strokes back — after a 68, with Stenson (68), Tanihara (68) and Nicolas Colsaerts (65) a shot further behind.

Noren was the hottest player in European golf in the second half of last year, during which he earned four victories in a 10-event stretch from July to November to climb into the world's top 10 for the first time.

The 34-year-old Noren has had just two top-10 finishes since the last of his 2016 wins, at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in November. He has played more events on the PGA Tour this year and said he struggled with the firmness of the greens, but a fifth-place finish at the Dell Technologies Match Play in March restored some confidence before a 10th place at The Players Championship two weeks ago.

His 62 equaled the lowest round of his professional career, matching one at the Portugal Masters in 2009, and established a new course record on the revamped West Course, which underwent a renovation program immediately after last year's event. Thomas Bjorn also shot a 62 at Wentworth, the headquarters of the European Tour, in 2014.

Noren picked up four birdies in his first seven holes, four more from Nos. 12-16, and then came to No. 18, where he felt nervous having made double-bogey on Saturday by sending a chip from the back of the green into the water guarding the front.

This time, his 5-iron approach pitched at 210 yards and rolled just by the pin, giving him a left-to-right putt that he curled in despite saying he was "shaking." It completed a round that was three shots better than any other player's this week.

Noren's next target is to contend at a major.

"The only thing I'm trying to do is play better against better fields and on better courses," Noren said. "I think this is very close to a major. My confidence goes up."

Andrew Dodt of Australia took a one-stroke lead into the final round, but bogeyed No. 1 and shot 73 to finish four strokes behind Noren in a tie for sixth.


Spieth charges, Kisner holds on to win Colonial by stroke

Kevin Kisner watches his approach shot on the eighth hole during the final round of the Dean & DeLuca Invitational golf tournament at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, Sunday, May 28. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Stephen Hawkins

Fort Worth, Texas (AP) — Kevin Kisner came so close several times before finally winning on the PGA Tour. He now has another victory, withstanding a charge by Jordan Spieth at Colonial, after two more runner-up finishes this year.

"You start questioning if you're going to win again after a while," Kisner said. "Everybody was questioning if I was ever going to win. Then I win, and then everybody questions if I was ever going to win again."

The affirmative answer came Sunday when Kisner birdied the first three holes on the back nine at Hogan's Alley to go ahead, then finished his 4-under 66 with a clutch par save at the 18th after a wayward tee shot and an approach off the back side of the green and well below the hole.

At 10-under 270, the 33-year-old Kisner finished a stroke ahead of Spieth (65), Sean O'Hair (66) and Jon Rahm (66). He earned a check of just more than $1.2 million, along with the winner's plaid jacket.

Kisner was a runner-up four times, including three playoffs during the 2015 season, before winning the RSM Classic in November 2015. Then came two more runner-ups this year.

Spieth was standing on a chair to see over the crowd at the 18th green after his bogey-free round when Kisner putted up the mound to 5 feet of the cup and then made the winning putt.

"I was going to take my chances with a (par) 4 and see what happened," said Kisner, who never considered a different club for his last two shots.

Rahm, who the last two years won the Ben Hogan Award as the nation's top college player, had just watched his 10-foot birdie chance skirt left of the hole.

Spieth, who had missed consecutive cuts at The Players Championship and the AT&T Byron Nelson, was trying to become the only player other than Ben Hogan to win consecutive Colonials. Hogan won five times, including the first two in 1946 and 1947, along with consecutive wins again in 1952 and 1953.

"I could look back at the end of the year and this could have been the most important round of the year," Spieth said. "I hope that's the case."

After starting the day five strokes behind 54-hole leader Webb Simpson, Spieth had birdies on the first two holes before a nearly 20-footer lipped out at the 453-yard No. 3 hole. He also just missed a 12-footer at No. 9, and a 25-footer at the 446-yard 12th hole rolled over the left edge of the cup, and had another near-miss on a 12-footer at No. 17.

Kisner blew a three-stroke lead at the turn on the final day of the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March and lost by a stroke. He made a nearly 95-foot chip-in for eagle to get him and fellow Aiken, South Carolina, resident Scott Brown into playoff at the Zurich Classic's new team format before losing on the fourth playoff hole.

At Colonial, an unexpected 40-foot birdie putt at the 404-yard 10th hole started Kisner's back-nine push.

"It was a difficult putt just to two-putt. It fell in on the lost roll," he said. "That kind of gets those juices flowing."

When he made a 10-foot birdie at No. 12, Kisner was 10 under — no other player reached that mark. Only one other time since 1999 was Colonial's winning score higher than 11 under, in 2014 when Adam Scott won in a playoff after shooting 9 under in regulation.

After a 14-foot birdie putt at the par-4 15th, Kisner had a two-stroke lead. That was the same hole where Spieth, playing two groups ahead of him, punctuated an 11-foot birdie putt with a fist pump.

"I didn't do any scoreboard watching and really thought I needed to get to 11 under," Spieth said. "I hit so many great putts today. I hit a bad putt on 17. It was pretty frustrating."

About the same time Kisner made a bogey at the par-3 16th, Spieth was hitting his drive way right at the 18th hole and went on to save par after a chip to 5 feet. Kisner hit a similar drive, and also saved par.

Simpson, the 2012 U.S. Open winner, was the 54-hole leader by two strokes, but started the final round with an unusual bogey at the par-5 first hole. His only birdie came at No. 9, and he bogeyed the 18th when he drove into the left rough after Kisner had already posted his final putt. Simpson had a 71 to finish fifth at 8 under.


Update May 27-28, 2017

Petra Kvitova to play at French Open

Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic sits during a press conference at the Roland Garros tennis complex in Paris, France, Friday, May 26. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Samuel Petrequin

Paris (AP) — Only two months after picking up her racket for the first time following a knife attack at her home, Petra Kvitova will be playing at the French Open.

The two-time Wimbledon champion said Friday she will make her comeback at Roland Garros, although she still lacks power and strength.

"I knew this day would come," said Kvitova, who was attacked by an intruder last year. "I'm really happy that really here, the dream comes true."

Kvitova has missed all season while recovering from surgery on her racket-holding left hand. She sustained damage to the tendons in her left hand, along with injuries to all five fingers and two nerves, during the attack.

Doctors initially thought she would need more time before returning to tennis. But Kvitova's recovery was faster than expected and she said last month that she was signing up for the French Open, which begins Sunday, in hopes of being able to compete.

"It wasn't easy, but I'm happy that I work through this and I can play tennis and I can be in the draw," she said.

Kvitova, who won the Wimbledon title in 2011 and 2014 and climbed as high as No. 2 in the WTA rankings, was not allowed to speak about the attack itself because a police investigation is still ongoing. However, she spoke about the anxiety associated with her dreadful experience.

"I didn't sleep well the days after, but I wasn't really staying alone," she said. "From the beginning I was really feeling really weird when I went in the city or somewhere. I was always staring to the guys and looking if there are no strangers there. But with the time, it's better."

Kvitova also provided details on the intense rehabilitation process that preceded her "last-minute" decision to try her luck in Paris.

"I worked very hard behind the scenes," she said. "From the beginning I had this hand in a splint for two months, and even then I was practicing every day, always putting the splint away and trying to make this scar softer. So from the second day after surgery I started to work with that, which was kind of easy, just passive work with the fingers. I couldn't move them."

Kvitova got rid of the splint after two weeks and started to move her fingers slightly. She said she can't still move them completely.

Kvitova also consulted with a hand specialist in the French city of Grenoble every month and she started practicing with a racket at the end of March.

"I hit a few forehands with soft balls from the net, and it felt very, very weird," she said. "I didn't really have touch in the hand for holding the racket. I'm happy that I didn't have to change any techniques or something. Everything seems OK. Of course the hand doesn't have that power and the strength yet, but I'm working on it. Hopefully one day will be everything perfect."

Kvitova will open her campaign on the red clay against 86th-ranked Julia Boserup. She is making her ninth appearance at Roland Garros, where she reached the semifinals in 2012.

"Not many people believe that I can play tennis again. So I'm happy that I can play," Kvitova said. "I actually already won my biggest fight. I stayed in life and I have all my fingers."


Spieth avoids Colonial cut scare, has shot to defend title

Jordan Spieth reacts on the ninth green during the second round of the Dean & DeLuca Invitational golf tournament at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, Friday, May 26. (Ray Carlin/Star-Telegram via AP)

Schuyler Dixon

Fort Worth, Texas (AP) — Jordan Spieth normally doesn't concern himself with the cut line in the middle of a round.

Unless the Dallas native is in danger of staying home on consecutive weekends in what amount to his hometown events.

Spieth recovered from a bad start by going 5 under over his final 13 holes at the Colonial on Friday, and his 2-under 68 put the defending champion at 2-under 138, four shots behind second-round leaders Webb Simpson, Kevin Kisner, Danny Lee and Scott Piercy.

"When your back's against the wall and you feel the nerves kick up because you've got to do something, and you're not going to be able to play both weekends in town," said Spieth , coming off missed cuts in The Players Championship and AT&T Byron Nelson. "That would have been really, really tough for me to swallow if I missed the cut. And it was in my head."

Lee birdied the last hole for a 64, the low round of the tournament on a hot and windy day. Kisner also had a birdie on his final hole, the ninth, for a second straight 67. Simpson, the 2012 U.S. Open champion, and Piercy each shot 66 to join the group at 6-under 134.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia (66) and fellow Spaniard Jon Rahm (69), who played in the same group, were at 5 under along with England's Paul Casey (66) and Sean O'Hair (68).

Phil Mickelson didn't have a birdie while shooting a 75 that left him at 2 over, three shots clear of the cut in his first Colonial since the two-time champ missed the cut in 2010.

Spieth said the key to the recovery was a short bogey putt at 14, his fifth hole, that dropped him to 3 over after he opened with a par 70. The 23-year-old broke from his recent routine by seeking caddy Michael Greller's input on the 4-footer.

"He said, 'Hit this one with confidence and walk it in,'" Spieth said about his third bogey in the first five holes. "I stepped and walked it in. I think it was kind of shocking because it was a bogey putt to go 3 over. No one really walks those in. But it was exactly what I needed."

Spieth immediately followed with a 35-foot birdie putt at No. 15, then had four birdies in the first five holes of Colonial's front nine. That included two birdies on the "Horrible Horseshoe" of holes 3-5.

The 2015 Masters and U.S. Open champion had no bogeys over the final 13 holes after seven bogeys and a double bogey among his first 23, which offset six birdies in his opening round.

"I played one through five in 4 under. I don't think I've ever done 2 under on those holes," Spieth said. "I felt really good about the way that we played those last 14 holes, about as solid as the entire year."

Simpson made a 7-footer at the par-3 16th, then put his approach at 17 just inside 3 feet for a birdie that tied Casey. Third at Colonial last year, Simpson had missed the cut at Colonial his only two other times in 2009-10.

A four-time PGA Tour winner with his most recent victory in 2014, Simpson skipped last week's Nelson and hasn't played both Dallas-Fort Worth events since 2010.

"I didn't play well at Byron my first couple of years, so I just decided to stay out of Texas," Simpson joked.

Kisner made a 14-foot birdie on his final hole, the ninth, to join Simpson. Moments later, Lee rolled one in from 27 feet at the 18th. Piercy had a shot at the outright lead at the ninth, missing from 24 feet.

Casey's best Colonial finish was fifth in his debut in 2009, the same year of his only PGA Tour win in Houston. The 14-time international winner had three birdies and a bogey over his first four holes before settling in with two birdies over the final 14 while generally staying out of trouble.

The highlight for Casey was a 25-foot par save at the par-4 fifth, his 14th hole.

"It's been tricky with the wind," Casey said. "I've handled it so far, so I would actually like it to stay tricky if it can. And I handle the heat well. So I am saying probably the more difficult it is, the better it is for me."

Garcia had six birdies, while Rahm didn't get his first until 17 while finishing with two straight.

Si Woo Kim, playing for the first time since winning The Players Championship two weeks ago, had an 8 on the par-4 ninth after his pitch from greenside bunker went dead right off his club and rolled into the water.

Kim had to go across the pond for his drop and hit another ball in the water, then tossed his club in as well after finally reaching the green on the next shot. He made a 15-footer for quadruple bogey, and finished with a 73 to miss the cut at 5 over.


Quintana reclaims pink jersey with 2 stages to go in Giro

Colombian rider Nairo Quintana wears the pink jersey of the overall leader as he celebrates on the podium after the 19th stage of the Giro d'Italia, Tour of Italy cycling race, from San Candido to Piancavallo, Friday, May 26. (Alessandro Di Meo/ANSA via AP)

Piancavallo, Italy (AP) — Nairo Quintana reclaimed the pink jersey from Tom Dumoulin with two stages to go in the Giro d'Italia on Friday, setting up what could be a tense finale in Milan on Sunday.

Dumoulin couldn't keep up with his main rivals in the final uphill finish of the three-week race and trails Quintana, the 2014 winner from Colombia, by 38 seconds.

Two-time winner Vincenzo Nibali is third overall, 43 seconds behind Quintana.

With Thibaut Pinot of France fourth overall, 53 seconds back, the top four are grouped within less than a minute.

"It's pretty complicated. We have to adapt the strategy day-by-day," Quintana said.

Spanish rider Mikel Landa won the 19th stage in a breakaway, finally tasting victory after two second-place finishes and one third-place result.

Landa required nearly five hours to complete the 191-kilometer (119-mile) route from San Candido to Piancavallo. He finished nearly two minutes ahead of Rui Costa, with Stage 17 winner Pierre Rolland crossing third.

On Thursday, Dumoulin criticized the tactics of Quintana and Nibali, saying they were merely racing to make him lose — remarks that earned a sharp rebuke from Nibali.

Before Friday's stage, Dumoulin apologized to Nibali and the pair shook hands.

If anything, Dumoulin's comments appeared to have motivated Quintana and Nibali, who temporarily dropped Dumoulin on a downhill section midway through Friday's stage.

While the Dutchman caught up on the ensuing Sella Chianzutan climb, he didn't have the legs to keep up on the 15.4-kilometer climb to Piancavallo, which began at an average gradient of nearly 10 percent.

"I had bad legs from the start and I made a rookie mistake at the beginning, sitting at the back of the bunch on the downhill," Dumoulin said.

"In the final I tried to limit my losses and I did that very well. My team saved me a couple of times, so I have to thank them. Otherwise it would have been a much worse day. Bad legs today, but I hope they'll be better tomorrow."

Quintana wore pink for one day after winning Stage 9. Dumoulin then took control by dominating a time trial in Stage 10 and had led ever since.

Quintana has also finished on the Tour de France podium three times.

The penultimate stage on Saturday is the last mountainous leg, a 190-kilometer (118-mile) route from Pordenone to Asiago featuring two first-category climbs — a long 24-kilometer ascent to Monte Grappa and a shorter but steeper 14-kilometer rise to Foza.

The 100th Giro ends on Sunday with an individual time trial from Monza to Milan.

"Tomorrow there will be another important stage and then I'll give it all in the time trial," Quintana said.


Bouncing back from DQ, Lee shoots 2nd-round 66 in Michigan

Australia’s Minjee Lee talks with her caddie on the ninth hole during the second round of the LPGA Volvik Championship golf tournament in Ann Arbor, Mich., Friday, May 26. (Dale G. Young/Detroit News via AP)

Noah Trister

Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP) — Minjee Lee cost herself a top-10 finish last week when she failed to sign her scorecard.

It was quite a gaffe, obviously, but it didn't change the fact that the 20-year-old from Australia was playing pretty well.

"Obviously, it was my fault," Lee said. "I played good last week and I know my game's there."

Lee shot a 6-under 66 on Friday and finished the second round two strokes behind leader Sung Hyun Park at the LPGA Volvik Championship. Park shot a 65 to enter the weekend at 12 under.

Lee and Suzann Pettersen (67) were tied for second.

"I feel pretty comfortable out there," said Lee, a three-time winner on the LPGA Tour. "I mean, I was having fun out there and kept it pretty light with my caddie. Yeah, just played golf really."

Lee, who turns 21 on Saturday, was disqualified from the Kingsmill Championship because of the mistake with her scorecard. She seems to have put that behind her, and she wrapped up her round Friday with a birdie on No. 9.

On that final hole, playing partner Charley Hull's approach shot struck Lee's ball, which was already on the green, so the players had to deal with that unusual situation.

"They said move it three inches so that's what we did," Lee said.

Lexi Thompson, who had her own huge penalty at this year's ANA Inspiration, was in Lee's group. She shot 68 and moved to 4 under.

Park birdied six holes on the back nine, and the rookie from South Korea appears to be playing with confidence. She was the top earning player in the Korean LPGA last year and also had four top-10 finishes in seven LPGA Tour events. She has three top-10 LPGA Tour showings this season.

"I think I've definitely felt the pressure and that's probably one of the biggest reasons why I haven't performed up to my standards this year," Park said through a translator. "But I think this week I'm able to let things go a little bit more and play my game."

Aside from Park, Lizette Salas was the only player to shoot a 65 on Friday on the 6,734-yard course at Travis Pointe Country Club. She was at 9 under after missing the cut last week.

"I kind of started off from scratch after Kingsmill after I missed the cut, so I just started from ground zero and worked my way here," Salas said. "Just really having fun. I love Michigan golf and I finished second in Grand Rapids a couple years ago, so I don't know, just kind of got my groove back, I guess."

First-round leaders Stacy Lewis and Wei-Ling Hsu shot 72s and trailed Park by five strokes. Defending champion Ariya Jutanugarn (66) rebounded from a tough first round but still trails the leader by six.

Top-ranked Lydia Ko is not playing in this event, and the other top players in the Rolex Rankings haven't been at their best. Third-ranked Jutanugarn made some progress Friday, but second-ranked So Yeon Ryu (71) barely made the cut at 1 under. Her streak of 11 straight top-10 finishes is in jeopardy.

"When you play bad, you can find, 'OK, I have to fix these.' Or, 'I have to do this one better,'" Ryu said. "But I couldn't really feel it this week. I don't even know. I cannot hit it well, I cannot really putt it well. So hopefully it's going to drop for this weekend."

Paula Creamer (75), Yani Tseng (72), Michelle Wie (71) and Morgan Pressel (75) missed the cut.


3-way tie for halfway lead at BMW PGA Championship

Belgium’s Thomas Pieters. (AP Photo)

Virginia Water, England (AP) — Belgian Ryder Cup star Thomas Pieters, Italy's Francesco Molinari, and Scotland's Scott Jamieson shared the halfway lead in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth on Friday.

The trio sit on 7-under-par overall, one shot ahead of German golfer Max Kieffer.

Pieters, who tied for fourth at the Masters in his last tournament last month, recorded a round of 3-under 69 to set the target for the late starters.

Molinari dropped two shots on the opening nine but roared back into contention with three birdies in the closing six holes, including at 17 and 18, for a 70.

Jamieson dropped three shots in his first three holes to fall five off the lead, but a run of six birdies in seven holes around the turn saw him surge back up the leaderboard. He carded 70, too.

Henrik Stenson (71) and Lee Westwood (69) were two shots behind the leaders, along with Branden Grace (71) and former champion Byeong-hun An (69).

Olympic champion Justin Rose needed an eagle on the final hole to make the cut. Rose sat on 2 over.

Ian Poulter, who returned to form with second place in the Players Championship at Sawgrass last week, described his putting as "pathetic" despite a second round of 69.

The Englishman, eight shots off the halfway lead, said: "I had really good opportunities to birdie all the way back into the clubhouse and I didn't do it."


Wawrinka, Zverev advance to Geneva Open final

Mischa Zverev of Germany celebrates after beating Kei Nishikori of Japan in their semifinal match at the Geneva Open tennis tournament, in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, May 26. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)

Geneva (AP) — Defending champion Stan Wawrinka advanced to the Geneva Open final by beating unseeded Andrey Kuznetsov 6-3, 7-6 (4) on Friday.

The top-seeded Wawrinka will face qualifier Mischa Zverev of Germany, who has peaked this week after a poor clay-court season and beat second-seeded Kei Nishikori 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in the other semifinal.

Wawrinka, the U.S. Open champion, will seek a 16th career singles titles and a seventh on clay, including the 2015 French Open. Zverev is looking for his first title at age 29.

Still, Zverev beat the third-ranked Wawrinka when they last played, at the Swiss Indoors in Basel in October.

Wawrinka clinched with a service winner against the 85th-ranked Kuznetsov.

Earlier, Zverev wasted two match-point chances on Nishikori's serve before breezing through his next service game to clinch with a backhand volley winner.

The final on Saturday will be only the second of Zverev's injury-hit career. The Russian-born left-hander was runner-up at Metz, France, in September 2010.

As recently as March 2015, Zverev had a ranking over 1000 and was being overshadowed by his younger brother Alexander, now a top-10 player at age 20 after winning the Rome title last weekend.

Mischa Zverev's win over top-ranked Andy Murray at the Australian Open in January — before a quarterfinals loss to Roger Federer — lifted him to a then-career best No. 35.

However, he had a 1-6 record on clay in recent weeks and needed to come through qualifying to get into the Geneva main draw.


Kunitz's double-OT goal sends Penguins back to Stanley Cup

Pittsburgh Penguins players and fans celebrate after the Penguins' Chris Kunitz scores a game winning goal in the second overtime period of Game 7 in the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Eastern Conference finals against the Ottawa Senators, Thursday, May 25, in Pittsburgh. The Penguins won 3-2. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Will Graves

Pittsburgh (AP) — Chris Kunitz spent a portion of the spring nursing a lower-body injury and wondering if his time with the Pittsburgh Penguins was over. The veteran forward's contract is up this summer and he's been around long enough to know how these things go, particularly when you're 37.

"It's not fun thinking about the future," Kunitz said.

He found a pretty compelling way to put it off for at least four more games and push his team to the brink of history in the process.

Kunitz's knuckling shot from outside the circle fluttered past Craig Anderson 5:09 into the second overtime to give the defending Stanley Cup champions a 3-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final Thursday night.

Thrust alongside old linemate Sidney Crosby as the game wore on, the two reconnected for a goal that moved the Penguins closer to becoming the first team since the 1998 Detroit Red Wings to win back-to-back titles. Crosby sent a soft backhand pass from the right faceoff circle to Kunitz and for a moment, it seemed like old times.

"With the way he was holding the stick you could tell he wanted it bad," Crosby said. "I just tried to lay it there for him. I've seen him score from there pretty often. It was a huge goal for us, and a great reward for him for the way he played all night."

Kunitz scored twice, his first two of the playoffs. Justin Schultz added the other in his return from an upper-body injury, and Matt Murray stopped 27 shots on his 23rd birthday. The Penguins will host Western Conference champion Nashville in Game 1 on Monday night.

Not bad for a team that watched so many of its core players — from defenseman Kris Letang to Evgeni Malkin to Crosby — deal with some serious bumps along the way. And yet here they are on the doorstep to a title once again.

"If you look at the amount of guys who have played on this roster throughout the course of the year, it's a lot of guys," Crosby said. "The biggest step is ahead."

Mark Stone and Ryan Dzingel scored for Ottawa. The Senators rallied twice to tie it, with Dzingel making it 2-2 with 5:19 left in regulation. Craig Anderson made 39 saves, but couldn't get a handle on Kunitz's shot as the Senators fell to 0-6 in Game 7s in franchise history.

Just don't call them cursed. A year ago, Ottawa didn't even make the playoffs yet they found a way to push the Penguins to the 85th minute of Game 7 of the conference finals.

"We wanted to make then earn it and they earned it, rightfully so," said Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, who assisted on both of Ottawa's goals and played the entire postseason with a pair of hairline fractures in his left heel. "We got to give it to them. They were the better team."

The Senators forced a return trip to Pittsburgh — where they lost 7-0 in Game 5 on Sunday — by leaning heavily on Anderson in a 2-1 Game 6 victory.

Ottawa coach Guy Boucher told his team to not get caught up in the big picture but instead focus on the small ones, a recipe that carried the Senators throughout a bumpy transition under their first-year head coach to within a victory of the franchise's second Cup appearance.

The Penguins, trying to become the first defending champion to return to the Final since Detroit in 2009, came in confident they would advance if they could replicate their dominant Game 6, when they were undone only by Anderson's brilliance.

Pittsburgh has been nearly unflappable in the face of adversity under Mike Sullivan, and is now 13-2 in playoff games following a loss over the last two springs.

"I couldn't be more proud of our team for just its 'sticktoitiveness,'" Sullivan said. "The last four games of this series, we found our game."

Kunitz ended a 25-game playoff goal drought when he completed a 2-on-1 with Conor Sheary — a healthy scratch in Games 5 and 6 — by slipping the puck by Anderson 9:55 into the second period.

The momentum lasted all of 20 seconds. Ottawa responded immediately with Stone — who stretched his left skate to stay onside — fired a wrist shot that handcuffed Murray .

Pittsburgh kept coming. Schultz, returning after missing four games with an upper-body injury, zipped a shot from the point through Kunitz's screen and into the net with 8:16 left in the third.

Once again, the Penguins could not hold the lead. Dzingel set up at the right post and banged home a rebound off Erik Karlsson's shot that hit the left post and caromed off Murray's back right to Dzingel's stick .

Unbowed, Pittsburgh continued to press. The Penguins pumped eight shots at Anderson in the first overtime before finally breaking through when Kunitz won just the fourth multiple-overtime Game 7 of a conference final in NHL history.

The next step, the last step, awaits.


James passes Jordan, Cavs back in Finals with 135-102 win

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, left, passes the ball as Boston Celtics defend during the first half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals, on Thursday, May 25, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Kyle Hightower

Boston (AP) — The NBA Finals has its first "three-match," courtesy of a King who passed His Airness.

LeBron James scored 35 points and passed Michael Jordan to become the NBA's all-time playoff scoring leader as the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Boston Celtics 135-102 on Thursday night to claim their third straight Eastern Conference title and another trip to the NBA Finals to meet the Golden State Warriors.

Kyrie Irving added 24 points and Kevin Love finished with 15 for the Cavs, who never trailed and led by as many as 39 points in one of their most dominating wins of the series. The Cavs set an NBA record by winning their 13th consecutive series closeout opportunity.

Cleveland's 4-1 series win gives it a 12-1 record this postseason and sets up a third consecutive matchup with Western Conference champion Golden State, the team it beat in the Finals last season to claim the franchise's first championship.

"I wear the number because of Mike," James said. "I think I fell in love with the game because of Mike, just because of what he was able to accomplish. When you're watching Michael Jordan it's almost like a god. So I didn't think I could be Mike."

It will mark the seventh straight trip to the Finals for James, who hit a 3-pointer late in in the third quarter to nudge past Jordan on the playoff scoring list. He quickly flashed one finger as he backpedaled down the court.

In the postgame trophy presentation backstage, James spent most of it lingering in the background as his teammates celebrated.

But there's no denying that his accolades are putting him in the orbit of Jordan, his boyhood idol.

"The biggest thing is I did it just being me, I don't have to score the ball to make an impact on the basketball game," James said. "That was my mindset. If I'm not scoring the ball, how can I still make an impact on the game?"

As much as this series was about James, Irving helped turn the tide of the series with a 42-point effort in Game 4. But he said both he and his teammates continue to be inspired by their leader.

"He's been the driving force, this entire playoff run, and all of us have just helped us along the way," Irving said.

Coach Tyronn Lue said they've gotten tighter this season.

"This team is a crazy team. They just stayed resilient all year, got to the playoffs, and we really stepped our game up," he said. "Now we can start focusing on Golden State to get ready. As of tonight, I'll get started."

Avery Bradley led Boston with 23 points.

The Cavaliers basically conceded the East's top seed to the Celtics at the end of the regular season by opting to rest their starters in advance of the playoffs. But they displayed their superiority over the final two games to wrap up the series.

After allowing the Celtics to seize the early momentum in Game 4, the Cavs barely gave them the chance in Game 5.

Led by its Big Three, Cleveland quickly built a 21-point lead in the first quarter, while getting lots of contributions from their teammates.

Love continued to knock down shots from the outside, Irving sliced his way into the lane to the rim and James got free for several of his one-handed, tomahawk dunks.

It was a very welcomed sight in Irving's case, after he rolled his left ankle in the third quarter of Cleveland's Game 4 win. He showed no signs of lingering issues, though, beating several defenders off the dribble and handing out seven assists.

Meanwhile, J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver helped spread out Boston's defenders by connecting on several wide-open scoring opportunities.

Deron Williams, who had been quiet for most of the series, also got in on the act with a series-best 14 points for Cleveland.


Update May 26, 2017

America's Cup due to set sail Saturday in Bermuda

Emirates Team New Zealand, left, sails alongside Groupama Team France, right, during a practice race on Bermuda's Great Sound before the 35th America's Cup sailing event on Tuesday, May 23. America's Cup competition begins May 26. (Ricardo Pinto/ACEA via AP)

Bernie Wilson

Hamilton, Bermuda (AP) - There's a British knight, a mob of Aussies even though there's no Australian team, a crew of New Zealanders looking for redemption and the now-familiar billionaire set.

Toss in a fleet of fast, space-age catamarans sailing on Bermuda's Great Sound and the 35th America's Cup will be like none before it.

During the next 2 1/2 weeks, five challengers will vie for the right to face two-time defending champion Oracle Team USA in the first-to-seven America's Cup match starting June 17.

The qualifiers had been scheduled to begin Friday with the opening races of Round Robin 1, but they were pushed back to Saturday because of predicted strong winds deemed unsafe for the 50-foot, wing-sailed catamarans.

The opening matchups will be Oracle Team USA against Groupama Team France; Sweden's Artemis Racing against SoftBank Team Japan; France versus Emirates Team New Zealand, the hard-luck loser to Oracle in 2013; and Artemis against Britain's Land Rover BAR, which is skippered by Sir Ben Ainslie.

"I think you'll see the fastest boats on water, the best sailors, the best athletes in the world and it'll be incredible," Oracle Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill, an Australian, said Thursday. "There's no doubt in my mind this will be a defining chapter in the America's Cup and will be known as the foiling America's Cup."

Ah yes, foiling. It's all the rage in sailing and nowhere does it get more buzz than in the America's Cup. When the boats hit a certain speed, they rise up on hydrofoils and speed across the tops of the waves. When the boats are foiling, they're riding only on the leeward daggerboard and both rudders. Daggerboards on both hulls are in the water for a few moments during tacks and gybes. The boats are capable of reaching almost 50 mph.

Here are some things to watch for as the 35th America's Cup is sailed at the northern tip of the Bermuda Triangle:

THE FORMAT

In a break from tradition, the defender, Oracle, will sail against the challengers in the two round robins. One challenger will be eliminated and the remaining teams will sail their semifinals and finals while Oracle trains on its own. If the winner of the qualifiers is Oracle or a challenger that advances to the match, that team will start the match with a one-point bonus.

"We're sailing this to win," Spithill said. "Clearly there is something here worth fighting for."

THE VENUE

In another departure from tradition, the trustee of the America's Cup, San Francisco's Golden Gate Yacht Club, put the venue up for bid. San Francisco, which provided a spectacular backdrop in 2013, fell out early. Bermuda, a British overseas territory, won with a bid of $37 million in infrastructure and services over three years, plus $40 million in various sponsorship guarantees.

AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE, OI OI OI

Nationality rules have long since been dumped, although the British, French and New Zealand teams have strong national representation. Australia doesn't have a team, but Aussies hold key roles in three teams: Spithill and trimmer-tactician Tom Slingsby lead Oracle Team USA, Nathan Outteridge is Artemis' skipper-helmsman and Glenn Ashby is skipper-wing trimmer for Emirates Team Zealand, although Kiwi Peter Burling steers the boat. Ex-Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker now skippers SoftBank Team Japan. Groupama Team France is led by Frenchman Franck Cammas. Ainslie, the most decorated sailor in Olympic history, hopes to become the first Englishman to hoist the Auld Mug in victory in the regatta's 166-year history.

In 2013, there were only two Americans on Oracle's 11-man crew, John Kostecki and Rome Kirby. Kostecki, the tactician, was replaced by Ainslie as the team struggled early. The boats are smaller now and require only six sailors. The projected "starting six" for Oracle Team USA includes just one American — grinder Cooper Dressler of Coronado, California, across the bay from San Diego. However, other sailors, including Kirby, will rotate in on days multiple races are scheduled.

ADRENALINE RUSH

The catamarans are powered by mainsails that look and perform like airplane wings. "Without a doubt the boats are absolutely amazing to sail," Ashby said. "It's quite surreal and the exhilaration and G-forces you feel are pretty much unexplainable compared to sailing on any other kind of craft." The hydraulic systems for the wing sail and daggerboards are powered by beefy grinders. The innovative Kiwis have turned to leg power, building four cycling stations into each hull for the grinders to ride.

MAYHEM

Oracle has capsized twice in the last month and Ainslie ran into the back of Team New Zealand's boat in a practice race, causing damage that took three days to repair. In late 2015, Cammas nearly lost his right foot when he fell overboard during training and was struck by a rudder. Artemis' Iain Percy thinks collisions are the biggest danger. "The boats are very exciting and it's a visual sport, but it does hold danger for the athletes," he said.


Monaco GP practice starts well and ends badly for Mercedes

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain steers his car during the first free practice at the Formula One Grand Prix at the Monaco racetrack in Monaco, Thursday, May 25. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Jerome Pugmire

Monaco (AP) — All was going to plan for Mercedes at the Monaco Grand Prix on Thursday morning. A few hours later the head-scratching began.

Lewis Hamilton was fastest in the first practice ahead of Sebastian Vettel, but then finished more than one second behind as Vettel set the fastest time in the second practice. Hamilton finished that in eighth place, with his teammate Valtteri Bottas down in 10th.

An F1 rarity sent ripples through the F1 paddock: meticulous Mercedes got its set-up all wrong when switching to the quicker ultra-soft tires during the afternoon session.

"The difference between the two sessions was night and day. I'm not sure why the tires weren't working," a concerned Hamilton said. "Ferrari are very quick again .... We're looking forward to a real fight."

Five races into the season, Hamilton trails behind championship leader Vettel by six points with each driver winning two races. Bottas claimed the other.

Since Friday is a rest day — Monaco is the only race to have one — at least the Mercedes engineers and technical staff will have time to figure out the glitch.

"We will have a good think about it," technical director James Allison said.

Victory for Ferrari would be particularly sweet in Monaco — where it has not won since 2001.

Vettel, who won his four titles with Red Bull from 2010-13, sounded optimistic that Ferrari can carry the pace into Saturday's third practice and qualifying.

"It's important to have a good feel for the car," he said. "Kimi and I were quite happy with the long run."

Even the normally inscrutable Raikkonen sounded upbeat after recording the third quickest time in P2 behind Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo — who got pole position here last year.

"We had two smooth sessions," Raikkonen said. "We did some changes and it always got better."

By contrast, the mood inside the Mercedes camp was likely to be one of concern. Hamilton was 1.15 seconds adrift of Vettel and Bottas was 1.18 slower.

It's a significant deficit when teams are scrapping for minimal gains.

"We clearly went in the wrong direction," Bottas said. "When the car isn't quite right, you lose a lot of time in Monaco. At least we've learned what not to do with the set-up."

The Mercedes slump was especially surprising considering Hamilton's smooth first practice.

"I don't know what happened to them today, it was a bit weird," Vettel said. "I'm pretty sure there is a reason and they will be back to full force on Saturday."

Hamilton has 64 pole positions to his name, one less than F1 great Ayrton Senna, but only one of those in Monaco — where he won last year and in 2008.

Meanwhile, Lance Stroll's miserable run continued. The 18-year-old Canadian crashed into the barriers near Casino Square, bringing the session to a brief halt while his car was lifted off the track.

"I just lost the rear of the car pushing for the limit," Stroll said. "It happens. At least now I know."

The Williams driver has failed to finish his past three races and has yet to score a point.

In the first session, Hamilton was followed by Vettel, Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Bottas — who is the other driver to win a race this season.

Making his return to F1 as a one-off replacement for McLaren's Fernarndo Alonso — who is skipping Monaco to compete in the Indianapolis 500 — veteran Jenson Button was 12th best in the afternoon and 14th in the morning.

The Williams team carried a #Manchester sticker on the front wing of their cars as a tribute to the 22 people killed and 116 injured in the Manchester bombing on Monday at an Ariana Grande concert.

The Mercedes team said it was also planning to carry a sticker on the front wing.

A minute's silence for the victims is also planned before Sunday's race.


Van Garderen wins 18th stage, Dumoulin keeps Giro lead

A pack of riders climb the Pordoi pass during the 18th stage of the Giro d'Italia Tour of Italy cycling race, from Moena to Ortisei, Thursday, May 25. (Alessandro Di Meo/ANSA via AP)

Ortisei, Italy (AP) — Tejay van Garderen claimed his first grand tour victory on the tough 18th stage of the Giro d'Italia as Tom Dumoulin kept the pink jersey on Thursday.

Van Garderen, of the United States, came round the inside of the final corner to edge Mikel Landa at the uphill finish of the 137-kilometer (85-mile) leg from Moeana to Ortisei.

"(Landa) is a strong sprinter and a great climber," Van Garderen said. "I tried to play it as best I could, but I didn't know I was going to win until I crossed the line."

Thibaut Pinot was third, eight seconds behind the front two, after five categorized climbs through the Dolomites.

Van Garderen was clearly emotional after crossing the line, following a difficult couple of years.

He has had to abandon three of his past four grand tours. Van Garderen, who rides for BMC Racing, came to the Giro hoping to contest overall victory but lost valuable time early on.

"It's been a rough couple of years in Grand Tours as far as the general classification goes, but I did my best to keep the morale high," he said. "It's my first Grand Tour victory, so it's an incredible feeling, especially in an area like this, that I'm so familiar with. I've done a lot of camps here, so I know every inch of road. It feels incredible to get this victory."

Dumoulin took another step toward overall victory with an impressive ride to hold off his main rivals. The Dutch cyclist remained 31 seconds ahead of 2014 champion Nairo Quintana, with two-time champion Vincenzo Nibali third, 1:12 behind.

Pinot is only 24 seconds off a podium place.

"Nibali and Quintana are only focusing on me, and trying to make me lose instead of trying to win," Dumoulin said. "I really hope that riding like this they will lose their podium spot in Milan, that would be really nice, and I would be really happy."

Quintana and Nibali knew stage 18 would be their chance to close the gap to Dumoulin. It appeared as if they would do when Quintana attacked on the third climb and Nibali followed him, but Dumoulin paced himself back to them by the summit.

Quintana attacked again with 6 1/2 kilometers to go and opened up a small gap but the Colombian was once again reeled in by the rest of the title contenders.

Dumoulin attacked several more times as he appeared to almost be toying with his rivals. The Team Sunweb cyclist's grip on the overall lead looked strong as he managed to control the race and deliver a psychological blow to Quintana and Nibali.

"In the last climb I was feeling strong. So I decided to show them that I'm also awake," Dumoulin added.

Friday's 19th stage is a tough 191-kilometer (119-mile) route from San Candido to Piancavallo with another uphill finish.


Trio of 65s lead Colonial; 2-time champs 2 back, Spieth even

Kelly Kraft tees off on the sixth hole during the first round of the Dean & DeLuca Invitational golf tournament at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, Thursday, May 25. (Ray Carlin/Star-Telegram via AP)

Stephen Hawkins

Fort Worth, Texas (AP) — Jon Rahm was at Colonial during tournament week each of the past two years to accept the Ben Hogan Award that goes to the nation's top college golfer. This time, he's playing in the PGA Tour event at Hogan's Alley and among the leaders.

With his 4-under 66 on Thursday, Rahm was a stroke behind first-round leaders Kelly Kraft, Derek Fathauer and PGA Tour rookie J.T. Poston.

That also put Rahm ahead of two-time Colonial champs Phil Mickelson and Zach Johnson after both birdied their last three holes for 67s. He also led 2016 winner Jordan Spieth, whose even-par round included six birdies.

"The last two times I was here, all I recorded was super happy and positive memories," Rahm said. "It's just the vibe that I have around this place is so positive, especially with Sergio (Garcia) winning and with the Ben Hogan history that I'm related to now."

The 22-year-old Rahm, the winner at Torrey Pines in January, had only one bogey while playing with Masters champion Garcia, the fellow Spaniard who won in his first Colonial appearance in 2001.

Kraft and Graeme McDowell, tied with Rahm for fourth, had the only bogey-free rounds. Only 33 of the 121 players finished the first round under par.

Scott Brown had the other 66, and had the outright lead at 6 under before a double bogey at No. 18.

Spieth, coming off missed cuts the past two weeks, was tied for 34th his six birdies, four bogeys and a double bogey. He was even par after birdies on his last two holes.

"It's a great finish. Kept me in the tournament," Spieth said. "If I was a couple over, you know, in the back of my mind I would be wondering about the cut line."

After two bogeys on the first four holes, Spieth made 4-foot birdie putt at the 466-yard No. 5 hole, and made a 10-foot birdie at the 168-yard, par-3 13th.

In between those birdies at two of Colonial's toughest holes, Spieth made a nearly 40-foot putt to save par after a wayward drive at No. 9. His drive at the 10th went into a concrete culvert for another bogey, and he missed the fairway right again at the 622-yard 11th, only to get back in the fairway and go on to a 2-foot birdie.

"Hit some very solid shots. With gusty winds, it's not going to end up where you think it's going to a lot of the time," Spieth said. "I felt like I missed some fairways by 1-5 yards today. That made a complete difference in the way the hole played."

Before his birdie-birdie finish, Spieth had double bogey at the 429-yard 15th, when he blasted from a fairway bunker through the green and into the water, and made bogey at the par-3 16th.

Mickelson, back at Hogan's Alley for the first time since 2010, made an 8-foot putt at the 435-yard 7th hole, then hit his tee shot inside 2 feet of the cup at the par-3 8th. His 33-footer at No. 9 came after playing partner Matt Kuchar had just missed a slightly longer putt on the same line on their finishing hole.

When changes were made to the course after his 2008 victory, Mickelson missed the cut in 2010 with a chance to become the world's No. 1 player. He later indicated that Colonial no longer suited his game.

"Nothing real specific," he said, when asked what changed his mind. "It's been a while and I needed to ... I felt it was in my best interest to get in contention and try to play more events and try to get the scores, results out of it."

Rahm was at Arizona State when he became the first two-time winner of the Hogan Award. His first competitive round at Colonial came a day after Arizona State's women rallied to win their eighth NCAA championship, and first since 2009.

"To see them win in the fashion they did, it was amazing," said Rahm, who practiced with that team while in school. "The coolest thing is that's the closest I'll ever be to experiencing something like that and I'm happy for them. ... To be honest, that energy and positivity probably helped me today."


Nishikori saves 3 match points in Geneva Open QF win

Japan's Kei Nishikori returns a ball to South Africa's Kevin Anderson during their quarter final round match at the Geneva Open tennis tournament in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, May 25. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)

Geneva (AP) — Kei Nishikori saved three straight match points in the deciding set before outlasting Kevin Anderson 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (6) in the Geneva Open quarterfinals on Thursday.

The second-seeded Nishikori was serving at 4-5, 0-40 before rallying to beat the 62nd-ranked South African, who fired 14 aces without allowing any by his opponent.

Top-seeded Stan Wawrinka also dropped the first set in his quarterfinal, against Sam Querrey of the United States, though ultimately had an easier passage in a 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 win.

After Nishikori's escape in the 10th game of the third set, he also trailed 4-2 in the tiebreaker. Still, he soon created a second match-point chance with a forehand crosscourt service return for a winner. He clinched with a forehand winner off a looping net-cord ball.

"There haven't been too many times that I'm down match point and win, so it's great for me," Nishikori said.

The No. 9-ranked Japanese player will face 33rd-ranked Mischa Zverev of Germany in the semifinals on Friday.

The Russian-born Zverev, who came through qualifying, beat fifth-seeded American Steve Johnson 6-4, 7-5.

Wawrinka's next opponent is 85th-ranked Russian Andrey Kuznetsov, who beat Germany's Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, a lucky loser in qualifying, 6-2, 1-6, 7-5.
 


DAILY UPDATE

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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

British and Irish Lions arrive in New Zealand

Refusal to shake hands creates French Open flap

Ainslie gets badly needed win in America's Cup qualifiers

Penguins wary, Predators confident as Game 2 looms


Djokovic, Nadal open with easy wins in Paris

Kiwis win thriller on incorrect Swede penalty in Cup trials

Tiger Woods blames medications for his arrest on DUI charge

South Africa cruise to 7-wicket consolation win vs England

Barcelona hire former player Ernesto Valverde as new coach


Vettel extends lead with Monaco GP win

Dutch rider Tom Dumoulin wins 100th Giro d'Italia

Sato holds off Helio to give Andretti another Indy 500 win

Oracle goes 2-1 to take lead in America's Cup qualifiers

No. 1 Kerber out of French Open in 1st round

Feng holds on for 1-stroke win at LPGA event in Michigan

Noren shoots 10-under 62, wins BMW PGA Championship

Spieth charges, Kisner holds on to win Colonial by stroke


Petra Kvitova to play at French Open

Spieth avoids Colonial cut scare, has shot to defend title

Quintana reclaims pink jersey with 2 stages to go in Giro

Bouncing back from DQ, Lee shoots 2nd-round 66 in Michigan

3-way tie for halfway lead at BMW PGA Championship

Wawrinka, Zverev advance to Geneva Open final

Kunitz's double-OT goal sends Penguins back to Stanley Cup

James passes Jordan, Cavs back in Finals with 135-102 win


America's Cup due to set sail Saturday in Bermuda

Monaco GP practice starts well and ends badly for Mercedes

Van Garderen wins 18th stage, Dumoulin keeps Giro lead

Trio of 65s lead Colonial; 2-time champs 2 back, Spieth even

Nishikori saves 3 match points in Geneva Open QF win

 



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