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Archive for Friday, November 21, 2008

Sorenstam bows out

November 21, 2008

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— West Palm Beach, Fla. — Annika Sorenstam’s storied LPGA Tour career is over.

The 72-time tour winner shot a 3-over par 75 on Friday at the ADT Championship, leaving her 5 over through two rounds of the LPGA’s season-ending event. Only 16 players advanced to the third round in the 32-woman event, and Sorenstam finished two shots out of that mix.

She announced six months ago she was leaving the tour at year’s end to pursue business interests, get married and start a family. Sorenstam is still No. 2 in the world rankings, but at 38 decided it’s time for new challenges.

“All of a sudden, the time is here,” Sorenstam said. “You’re standing there on the 18th fairway, and it’s your last approach shot in an LPGA event. A lot of thoughts go through your head ... and what’s been the coolest thing this week is all these people who showed up that I don’t know, my fans.”

They showed up in droves Friday. When Sorenstam was on the 16th tee, hundreds crowded around her and playing partner Laura Diaz.

Katherine Hull shot 71 to get to 5 under, making her the leader after two rounds, a fact that will be completely irrelevant this morning. The scorecards of the surviving 16 all get erased for the third round and will again when the final eight play Sunday.

GOLF

Sorenstam picked for test

West Palm Beach, Fla. — Even in the first few minutes of a presumed retirement, Annika Sorenstam was subject to drug testing. An LPGA official told Sorenstam shortly after her second and final round at the ADT Championship that she needed to submit to a random test, which Sorenstam said was her second in recent weeks.

Armour, Oberholser tied

Pebble Beach, Calif. — Defending champion Tommy Armour III eagled the 18th hole Friday at Spyglass Hill en route to a 1-under 71, joining Arron Oberholser in a one-stroke lead after two rounds of the Callaway Golf Pebble Beach Invitational.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Pinkel close to extension

Columbia, Mo. — Missouri coach Gary Pinkel and the university are close to agreeing on a contract extension. Missouri spokesman Chad Moller says an agreement is being finalized, but a deal is not complete. ESPN.com reported Friday the extension would raise Pinkel’s salary to about $2.5 million.

Pinkel’s contract, re-negotiated last December, guaranteed $1.85 million per year through 2012.

The extension comes as Washington seeks a replacement for the fired Ty Willingham. Pinkel was a longtime assistant to coach Don James at Washington.

Pinkel is 58-39 in eight seasons at Missouri, including 21-4 the last two seasons.

BASEBALL

Marlins park gets go-ahead

Miami — A key legal obstacle was removed Friday for a new downtown Florida Marlins stadium, and the team now will determine whether the ballpark can open for the 2011 season.

Maple bats discussed

New York — Experts presented recommendations to baseball Friday that they hope will decrease the frequency of broken bats in major-league games. The recommendations will be reviewed by Major League Baseball’s safety and health advisory committee, which includes players’ union officials.

NFL

Martz fined for criticism

New York — San Francisco offensive coordinator Mike Martz has been fined $20,000 by the NFL for his criticism of the officiating at the end of the 49ers’ 29-24 loss in Arizona on Nov. 10.

Also fined were Minnesota Vikings defensive end Ray Edwards, who will lose $25,000 for two hits against Tampa Bay last Sunday, and Tennessee Titans wide receiver Brandon Jones ($15,000 for excessive celebration after a touchdown).

Vick returned to Virginia

Richmond, Va. — Former NFL standout Michael Vick is back in Virginia to plead guilty to state dogfighting charges, a move he hopes will expedite his return to society and, eventually, pro football. The former Atlanta Falcons quarterback is being held in protective custody at the Hopewell Regional Jail, superintendent Darnley Hodge said Friday.

Goodell wary of 2009

New York — As much as NFL teams are feeling a financial squeeze already, commissioner Roger Goodell fears the economic downturn really could hit the league in early 2009, when tickets for next season go on sale.

“There’s no secret on sponsorship, advertising, licensing — those numbers are going to be impacted by the current climate. We’re aware of that,” Goodell said in an interview with the Associated Press on Friday.

Jets rookie QB suspended

Florham Park, N.J. — New York Jets rookie quarterback Erik Ainge was suspended four games by the NFL on Friday for violating the league’s policy on steroids and related substances.

TENNIS

Spain, Argentina tied

Mar Del Plata, Argentina — Feliciano Lopez has defeated Juan Martin del Potro in four sets, allowing Spain to even its Davis Cup final against Argentina at 1-1.

Lopez won, 4-6, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (4), 6-3, on Friday. Argentina’s David Nalbandian beat David Ferrer, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3, in the opening match of the best-of-five championship.

AUTO RACING

Kenseth signs extension

Concord, N.C. — Matt Kenseth has signed a multiyear contract extension with Roush Fenway Racing to continue driving the No. 17 Ford.

F1 driver hit by car

Hobart, Australia — Formula One driver Mark Webber broke bones in his arms and legs after being hit by a car during a charity multi-sport race, police said. Webber, who drives for F1’s Red Bull team, was cycling along a road near Port Arthur.

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