Archive for Monday, August 31, 2009

Slocum surprise winner at Barclays

Woods, Harrington, Els fall short of championship

August 31, 2009

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Jersey City, N.J. — Heath Slocum might have been the one player no one expected to win The Barclays.

He was locked in a tense battle over the final hour Sunday at Liberty National with some of the biggest names in golf — Tiger Woods, Steve Stricker, Padraig Harrington and Ernie Els.

Even more incredible is that a week ago, Slocum was not even sure he would make it to the opening event of the PGA Tour Playoffs. Having missed the cut, he had to wait until the tournament was over to learn that by the slimmest of margins — two points — he was the No. 124 seed out of the 125 players who qualified.

“My fate was not in my own hands,” Slocum said.

He had his hands around that putter on the 18th green, however, and delivered the biggest shot of his life.

On the same green where Woods stunned the crowd by missing from seven feet, Slocum knocked in a 20-foot par for a one-shot victory at The Barclays to get this FedEx Cup bonanza off to a compelling start.

Slocum closed with a 4-under 67 to win for the third time in his career and first time in four years. The victory, worth $1.35 million, moved him from No. 124 to No. 3 in the FedEx Cup standings, giving him a shot at the $10 million prize next month in Atlanta.

“It was an incredible day, incredible experience,” Slocum said. “I was just kind of lucky to come out on top. A lot of good players. At the end of the day, that putt on the last was magical. I’ll remember that for the rest of my life.”

Golf

Rookie nets 1st LPGA win

North Plains, Ore. — Rookie M.J. Hur made a six-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole of the Safeway Classic on Sunday to beat Suzann Pettersen for her first LPGA Tour victory.

Hur pumped her fist and started laughing after sinking the putt on the par-4 No. 17 hole at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club north of Portland. Then a friend chased the South Korean around the green, trying to douse her with champagne.

Hur shot a final-round 65.

Roberts rallies for Boeing

Snoqualmie, Wash. — Second-round co-leader Loren Roberts birdied the final two holes to steal the Boeing Classic title Sunday and keep Mark O’Meara winless on the Champions Tour.

Christian ties record

Moscow, Pa. — Gary Christian won the Northeast Pennsylvania Classic on Sunday on the ninth playoff hole, which tied a Nationwide Tour record.

The Englishman made a short birdie putt to beat Mathias Gronberg and earn his first Nationwide title.

An youngest champ ever

Tulsa, Okla. — Byeong Hun-An defeated Clemson senior Ben Martin 7 and 5 to become the youngest champion ever at the U.S. Amateur.

It’s the second straight year the winner has been the youngest in the history of the event, which has been around since 1895.

Hedblom prevails by one

Gleneagles, Scotland — Peter Hedblom of Sweden shot a 5-under 67 Sunday to win the Johnnie Walker Championship title by one stroke over Martin Erlandsson.

Hedblom won his third European Tour title at 13-under 275.

NFL

Cutler victorious in return

Denver — Jay Cutler got the last laugh.

The Pro Bowl passer, who forced a blockbuster trade out of Denver last spring, returned to Invesco Field on Sunday night and led Chicago to a 27-17 preseason victory over the Broncos.

Cutler threw for 144 yards and a score in a crisp 15-for-21 performance, all in the first half.

OT Smith, Bengals agree

Cincinnati — Offensive tackle Andre Smith signed a contract Sunday with the Cincinnati Bengals, ending an impasse that lasted a month into the preseason.

The Bengals originally planned to start Smith at right tackle, but he has missed three preseason games. The four-year deal includes $21 million guaranteed. The team has an option after 2010 that would turn it into a six-year deal that includes $29.5 million guaranteed.

Pats LB Bruschi retiring

Boston — Tedy Bruschi is retiring after a 13-year career marked by an inspiring return to the New England Patriots as a starting linebacker eight months after a stroke.

Bruschi, 36, will announce it at a news conference today.

Auto racing

Edwards zips past Ambrose

Montreal — Carl Edwards passed Marcos Ambrose on the final turn to win the crash-filled Nationwide race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, which ended with the cars on rain tires for the second straight year.

Edwards won a two-lap sprint to the finish on a track that was both wet and dry in spots from a light rain when Ambrose, who dominated the race, slid sideways after hitting the rumble strips in turn 14.

Lorenzo snags first title

Indianapolis — Spain’s Jorge Lorenzo won his first Indianapolis MotoGP title Sunday, beating San Marino’s Alex de Angelis by 9.435 seconds.

Baseball

Peavy leaves rehab start

New York — Jake Peavy is having a hard time getting healthy.

Still waiting to make his first start for the Chicago White Sox, Peavy left his minor-league rehab outing after only 31⁄3 innings and 68 pitches Saturday night because he felt tightness in his pitching elbow.

Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said Peavy will join the White Sox today in Minnesota, where he is expected to get X-rays.

California wins LLWS

South Williamsport, Pa. — California came up big late to win the Little League World Series.

Bulla Graft’s sharp single scored the go-ahead run in the fourth inning, and Kiko Garcia pitched three-plus scoreless innings of relief to lead Chula Vista to a 6-3 victory over Taoyuan, Taiwan, to take the tournament title.

College football

UM launches investigation

Ann Arbor, Mich. — The University of Michigan announced Sunday it has launched an investigation into allegations that its football program regularly violates NCAA rules limiting how much time players can spend on training and practice.

The announcement from Michigan athletic director Bill Martin came after a Detroit Free Press article in which players from the 2008 and 2009 teams said the amount of time they spend on football during the season and in the offseason greatly exceeds NCAA limits.

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