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In brief: Watney, Fowler lead at Aronimink

Sun., July 3, 2011

Golf: Rickie Fowler’s ordinary season came to life Saturday at the AT&T National in Newtown Square, Pa.

On a day in which the course record lasted only 20 minutes because of such low scoring, Fowler did his part by making six birdies in his opening 10 holes and wound up with a 6-under-par 64 to share the lead with World Golf Championship winner Nick Watney.

For all the hype over the fashionable Fowler, the 22-year-old hasn’t won on the PGA Tour in 46 starts as a pro. He gave himself a chance at Aronimink with a game so dynamic that he missed two putts inside 10 feet and still shot 30 on the front nine.

Watney did his damage on the back nine and became the third player to break the course record on greens that were surprisingly soft. With a 30-foot eagle putt on the 16th, and a daring wedge to 5 feet on the 17th, he shot 27 on the back nine and finished with a 62.

That broke the record of 63 that Steve Marino had set about 20 minutes earlier. Marino had matched the record that Chris Kirk posted about an hour before that.

Of the 76 players who teed off – Vijay Singh withdrew because of a back injury – 40 of them had rounds in the 60s.

The tournament, however, remains wide open going into the final round today.

Fowler and Watney were at 9-under 201, one shot ahead of 36-hole leader K.J. Choi, who started and finished well to compensate for some poor shots in the middle. Choi birdied two of his last three holes, including a 30-foot birdie putt on the 18th, to salvage a 69.

Scott, Marino and Webb Simpson – he had a 64 that was easy to overlook – were two shots behind at 7-under 203.

• Lu out front in Champions Tour event: Taiwan’s Lu Chien-soon shot a 9-under 63 to match the course record and take a one-stroke lead over John Cook after the second round of the Champions Tour’s Montreal Championship in Blainville, Quebec.

Lu bogeyed the opening hole, then had 10 birdies in a 13-hole stretch from Nos. 5 to 17 to reach 16 under at Fontainebleau Golf Club. He tied the course record set last year by D.A. Weibring in the inaugural tournament and matched Friday by Cook and John Huston.

Huston was two strokes back after a 67. He won the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open last week in Endicott, N.Y., for his first victory on the 50-and-over tour.

• Mills wins U.S. Amateur Public Links: Clemson’s Corbin Mills became the first qualifying medalist to win the U.S. Amateur Public Links in 11 years, holing a 5-foot par putt on the 37th hole in Bandon, Ore., to finish off UNLV’s Derek Ernst.

The 21-year-old Mills, from Easley, S.C., is the first qualifying medalist to win the title since former Clemson star D.J. Trahan in 2000. He squared the match with a conceded eagle on the 35th hole and matched Ernst with a par on the 36th to force the extra hole on Bandon Dunes’ Old Macdonald course.

The 21-year-old Ernst, from Clovis, Calif., won the 2010 and 2011 Mountain West Conference titles.

• Do wins Women’s Public Links: UCLA’s Brianna Do won the Women’s U.S. Amateur Public Links in Bandon, Ore., beating Texas high school star Marissa Dodd 1-up in the 36-hole final on Bandon Dunes’ Old Macdonald course.

The 21-year-old Do was born in California but represented her parents’ home country of Vietnam this week.

The 17-year-old Dodd, from Allen, Texas, has committed to play for Wake Forest in the fall.

Lamb propels Americans past China

Basketball: Jeremy Lamb of national champion Connecticut scored 17 points and Doug McDermott of Creighton had 15 points and eight rebounds to lead the United States (3-0) to an 82-66 win over China (0-3) in the FIBA Under 19 World Championship in Liepaja, Latvia.

Tim Hardaway Jr., of Michigan, and Khyle Marshall, of Butler, both had 13 points for the U.S., the defending champion and the only team in the 16-team field to finish the preliminary round undefeated. The three-game second round begins Monday.

China opened the second half on a 9-2 run and trailed 56-53 after three quarters. McDermott hit a 3 to start a 10-0 run and Lamb’s steal and layup closed it, making it 68-55 with 5:25 to play. Lamb scored eight of the U.S. team’s final 14 points.

Kings sign Gagne to two-year contract

Hockey: Left wing Simon Gagne agreed to terms on a two-year deal with the Los Angeles Kings. Gagne will make $7 million under the deal.

Gagne is a seven-time 20-goal scorer who spent his first 10 NHL seasons with Philadelphia, scoring a career-high 47 goals during the 2005-06 season. The Flyers traded him last summer to Tampa Bay, and Gagne had 17 goals and 23 assists before the Lightning’s run to the Eastern Conference finals.

The two-time Canadian Olympian has struggled with injuries in recent seasons, sitting out with several concussions, a serious groin injury and a neck injury.

The Kings quickly signed Gagne after failing to land Brad Richards, who agreed to a nine-year deal with the New York Rangers.

• White joins Red Wings: The Detroit Red Wings agreed to terms with defenseman Ian White on a two-year, $5.75 million contract.

The 27-year-old White will get a chance to fill the void on the Red Wings’ power play created by the retirement of defenseman Brian Rafalski.

“Ian is a skilled defenseman, who makes tape-to-tape passes and competes hard with a good hockey sense,” Red Wings GM Ken Holland said.

White has 36 goals and 143 points in 401 NHL games with San Jose, Carolina, Calgary and Toronto. He had nine points in 17 postseason games with the Sharks last season in his first playoff appearance.

• Capitals ink Vokoun: So much for leaving it to the two youngsters. Tomas Vokoun will now be a part of the goalie mix for the Washington Capitals.

Vokoun signed a one-year contract worth $1.5 million, adding some veteran insurance to a team that appeared ready to cast its lot with youngsters Michal Neuvirth and Braden Holtby in its push for the Stanley Cup.

Vokoun, 34, has played for Montreal, Nashville and Florida, spending the last four seasons with the Panthers. He was 22-28-5 with a 2.55 goals-against average in 57 games last season and is tied for the best save percentage (.922) in the NHL since the 2005-06 season


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