Furyk races out to the lead at Firestone
Golf: Jim Furyk made a detour to Florida to sit on his back porch and hang out with his kids as he tried to figure out why decent golf was producing ordinary scores. The short break appeared to do him a world of good Thursday in the Bridgestone Invitational.
With seven birdies and a 30-foot eagle putt, Furyk had a 7-under-par 63 for his best score at Firestone in Akron, Ohio, and a two-shot lead over Lee Slattery of England.
Luke Donald and Bubba Watson were among those at 66. Thirty players in the 78-man field managed to break par.
Tiger Woods was not among them. He was 3 under after back-to-back birdies to start the back nine, but had to lay up with his third shot on the par-5 16th after driving into the trees and ended his round with a three-putt bogey from 25 feet for a 70.
• Romero leads Noh at Reno-Tahoe Open: Andres Romero had seven birdies in a bogey-free first round at the Reno-Tahoe Open to take a one-point lead over South Korean rookie Seung-Yul Noh in Reno, Nev.
Romero, from Argentina, had 14 points under the modified Stableford scoring system that puts a premium on aggressive play. Players receive eight points for double eagle, five for eagle, two for birdie, zero for par, minus-one for bogey and minus-three for double bogey or worse.
• Shelton leads Junior PGA: Robby Shelton of Wilmer, Ala., shot a course-record 8-under 64 to take the third-round lead in the Junior PGA Championship, and defending champion Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand dropped into a tie for the top spot in the girls’ division in Fort Wayne, Ind.
Kicker Fera decides to leave Penn State
College Football: Penn State lost a special teams ace to Texas, while two more Nittany Lions have left Happy Valley without playing a game for first-year coach Bill O’Brien.
Anthony Fera was the second starter to leave after the kicker-punter announced he would be booming kicks for Texas this year. The junior, who is from the Houston area, will have two years of eligibility left.
Fera said the last few weeks had been difficult. His mother was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, which also factored into Fera’s decision.
As of Thursday afternoon, eight players have left Penn State since the NCAA imposed penalties on July 23.
• Ball won’t be ready for camp: Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema says star running back Montee Ball won’t be ready for camp after suffering a concussion during a street fight.
According to the Wisconsin State Journal, Bielema said during a taping of a show at WISC-TV studios in Madison that Ball won’t be ready when practice begins Monday. The Badgers open the season at home Sept. 1 against Northern Iowa.
Bielema gave no indication Ball would suffer any long-term problems. He said Ball’s absence will spare last year’s Heisman Trophy finalist hits and give other backs more repetitions.
Police said five men knocked Ball down as he was walking near campus early Wednesday. The men kicked him in the head and chest before fleeing.
NCAA moves closer to penalties overhaul
Miscellany: Nearly a year after promising to impose harsher sanctions on the most egregious rule-breakers, NCAA leaders endorsed a proposal that would make schools subject to the same crippling penalties handed to Penn State.
The measure includes postseason bans of up to four years, fines that could stretch into the millions and suspensions for head coaches. A final vote on the sweeping overhaul won’t occur before the board of directors’ October meeting.
The plan calls for changing the current two-tiered penalty structure of major and secondary violations to a four-tiered concept, increasing the size of the infractions committee from 10 up to 24 in an effort to speed up the enforcement process and holding coaches individually accountable for any violations that occur in their program.
• Only four challengers for America’s Cup: Only four foreign challengers met the deadline to enter the Louis Vuitton Cup next summer to determine the opponent for Oracle Racing in the 34th America’s Cup.
They are Sweden’s Artemis Racing, Emirates Team New Zealand, Italy’s Luna Rossa Challenge and Team Korea.
The Louis Vuitton Cup will run from July 4 through Sept. 1, 2013, on San Francisco Bay, followed by the America’s Cup match from Sept. 7-22.