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Tight race on links at BMW Championship

Three days after Indiana native Bo Van Pelt was left off U.S. Ryder Cup team, he shot a 64 and is tied for the lead at Crooked Stick. (Associated Press)
Three days after Indiana native Bo Van Pelt was left off U.S. Ryder Cup team, he shot a 64 and is tied for the lead at Crooked Stick. (Associated Press)

Golf: Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy seem to be spending a lot of time together lately. That includes the top of a busy leaderboard at the BMW Championship.

The biggest star in golf and his heir apparent put on a dazzling show Thursday at Crooked Stick in Carmel, Ind., where the gallery caught a glimpse of the best players in the world for the first time since the 1991 PGA Championship.

McIlroy, flawless with his irons, birdied his last two holes for an 8-under-par 64 and was part of a four-way tie for the lead with Indiana native Bo Van Pelt, U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson and Graham DeLaet, the Canadian who is quietly becoming the Cinderella of these FedEx Cup playoffs.

“He hits it great, putts it great and top of that, he’s just a really nice kid,” Woods said in some of his strongest praise ever for another player.

“The game of golf is in great hands with him, and he’s here to stay.”

Woods, who finished two shots behind Monday in Boston, isn’t going away quietly. He was only sharp when it came to scoring, making enough birdies to stay in the game, including a 30-foot chip-in on his last hole for a 65.

• Shin paces field at soggy Kingsmill: Jiyai Shin weathered a two-hour weather delay and shot a 9-under 62 to take the first-round lead in the LPGA Tour’s Kingsmill Championship in Williamsburg, Va.

With 33 players still on the course when play was halted by darkness, the 24-year-old South Korean had a two-shot lead.

Wendy Ward of Edwall, Wash., shot a 71.

NHL labor talks could resume soon

Hockey: While the NHL and the players’ association stay away from the negotiating table, discussions have taken place behind the scenes in an effort to restart talks as a lockout deadline looms.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr have discussed procedural details that could soon lead to a continuation of negotiations that broke off last week – perhaps as early as this week.

The current collective bargaining agreement expires on Sept. 15, and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has said he will impose a lockout then if a new deal hasn’t been reached.

The first NHL preseason games are scheduled to begin Sept. 19, with the regular season slated to open on Oct. 11 with four games.

Sprinter hobbles to finish in London

PARALYMPICS: Brazilian sprinter Yohansson Nascimento fell a third of the way through the 100-meter final at the Paralympics in London and watched in agony on the track as his rivals completed the race.

Race officials tried to help Nascimento, but undeterred by the pain in his left leg and with a crowd of 80,000 applauding, he hobbled to the finish line by himself in tears.

His gallant finish evoked memories of the 1992 Olympics when Derek Redmond was helped across the finish line by his father after his hamstring popped in the 400 semifinals.

Oregon pushes for random drug testing

Miscellany: The University of Oregon is implementing random drug testing of all its athletes, following a media report earlier this year that estimated from 40 to 60 percent of the football team smoked marijuana.

Oregon’s previous drug policy allowed for testing when there was reasonable suspicion. A recent decision by the general counsel gives temporary permission for random testing effective this month. The policy still faces a public hearing in early October.

Canadians win NWL championship series opener: Balbino Fuenmayor singled twice during a seven-run seventh inning, including a two-out, two-run hit to snap a 7-all tie, as Vancouver rallied past Boise 10-7 in Game 1 of the best-of-3 Northwest League championship series at Vancouver, British Columbia. Game 2 is Saturday in Boise.

Contador leads Vuelta; Bennati wins 18th stage: Alberto Contador moved closer to winning the race for a second time, while Daniele Bennati won the 18th stage of cycling’s Spanish Vuelta at Valladolid, Spain. Bennati won the 127-mile leg in 4 hours, 17 minutes, 17 seconds. Contador leads Alejandro Valverde by 1:52.

NASCAR puts limits on Hendrick development: NASCAR has passed a rule, which goes into effect next week when the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship begins, that will curb the ability of teams to set their cars up in a way that gives the driver easier rear steer.

Drivers have alleged Hendrick Motorsports has made gains in the rear housing this season that has given its cars an aerodynamic advantage.

UFL delays its season: The United Football League pushed back the start of its fourth season to Sept. 26, saying more time is needed to prepare. The four-team UFL is made up mostly of free agents hoping to get signed by an NFL team.