January 9, 2013 in Sports

Johnson wins wind-delayed PGA opener

 
Associated Press photo

Dustin Johnson posted PGA Tour win for the sixth straight year.
(Full-size photo)

Golf: Dustin Johnson ended a windy week with a wild ride Tuesday that carried him to the first win of the PGA Tour season.

Despite hitting two drives into native areas that cost him three shots, Johnson never lost the lead at Kapalua, Hawaii. He closed with a 5-under 68 for a four-shot victory in the Tournament of Champions, though it was up for grabs with five holes remaining.

Steve Stricker came within a fraction of an inch of tying for the lead until his birdie putt peeled away from the cup on the 13th hole, which Johnson chopped up for a double bogey. With only a one-shot lead, Johnson pitched in from 50 feet in front of the 14th green to restore his three-shot lead, and Stricker never challenged him after that.

And so, the tournament that didn’t start until the fourth day because of powerful wind finally ended with a guy who overpowered the Plantation Course.

Johnson, who finished at 16-under 203, won for the sixth straight season. Only Phil Mickelson with nine straight years has a longer active streak of most consecutive seasons with a PGA Tour victory.

Johnson also added a peculiar footnote to his record. He now has won the last three PGA Tour events reduced to 54 holes because of weather — rain at Pebble Beach in 2009, a hurricane at The Barclays in 2011 and gusts that topped 40 mph in Hawaii from a freak weather pattern that led to a bizarre season opener.

Rockets send Lakers to 4th straight loss

NBA: James Harden scored 31 and Chandler Parsons added 20 to help the host Houston Rockets pick up their fifth straight win, a 125-112 victory over the short-handed Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers, who were playing without their top three big men Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill – all out with injuries.

Former Gonzaga standout Robert Sacre had 10 points, four blocks and three rebounds in 28 minutes for the Lakers.

Pittsburgh crushes No. 19 Georgetown

College men: Talib Zanna scored 15 points, and Pittsburgh rediscovered its shooting touch, hitting 55 percent from the field in a 73-45 win over No. 19 Georgetown in Washington.

Zanna went 7 for 9 from the field, Tray Woodall added 11 points and seven assists for the Panthers (13-3, 1-2 Big East), who dominated the Hoyas (10-3, 0-2) from the tip.

No. 5 Stanford rolls past No. 7 California

College women: Chiney Ogwumike scored 26 points and Amber Orange added 15 to help No. 5 Stanford (14-1, 3-0) pull away from seventh-ranked California for its 81st straight win against a Pac-12 opponent, 62-53 over the Golden Bears at Berkeley, Calif.

Ogwumike provided the bulk of the scoring and helped hold the Bears (12-2, 2-1) to 30 percent shooting at the other end to win for the 10th straight time in this rivalry.

LaRoche accepts Nats’ two-year offer

Baseball: Slugging first baseman Adam LaRoche decided to stay with the Nationals, agreeing to a $24 million, two-year deal with a mutual option for a third year. He wanted a full three-year contract, but Washington was never going to offer one.

He had a superb 2012 at the plate – .271 average, 33 home runs, 100 RBIs – but he’s 33 years old, and Washington is flush with young, emerging talent that will cost a lot of money to keep in a few years.

Rodriguez likely ready after All-Star break: Alex Rodriguez’s surgeon says the New York Yankees third baseman probably will be ready to return to the field after the All-Star break.

“It would be great if he returns faster. Possible that it would take longer,” Dr. Bryan Kelly of the Hospital for Special Surgery said.

Kelly is scheduled to operate Jan. 16 on the 37-year-old’s left hip, which has a torn labrum, bone impingement and a cyst.

Howell joins Dodgers: Left-hander J.P. Howell and the Los Angeles Dodgers have finalized a $2.85 million, one-year contract.

The 29-year-old reliever was 1-0 with a 3.04 ERA in 55 games for the Tampa Bay Rays last season and held left-handed batters to a .200 average (17 for 85).

Shafer promoted to coach Syracuse

College football: Syracuse defensive coordinator Scott Shafer is expected to be named head coach for the Orange at a news conference Thursday.

Schafer, who transformed a woeful Orange defense into an intimidating unit, replaces Doug Marrone, who landed the Buffalo Bills head coaching job.

Owners expected to approve NHL deal

Hockey: NHL owners will vote today on the tentative labor agreement reached with the players’ union.

If a majority approves, as expected, the NHL will move one step closer toward the official end of the long lockout that began Sept. 16.

A majority of players also must approve the deal this week for hockey to return to the ice.

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