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Lingmerth surges late to lead at Players

David Lingmerth of Sweden played his final two holes Saturday at 3 under, taking a two-shot lead into today’s final round. (Associated Press)
David Lingmerth of Sweden played his final two holes Saturday at 3 under, taking a two-shot lead into today’s final round. (Associated Press)

Golf: A rift between Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia attracted all the attention on a stormy day at Sawgrass. Swedish rookie David Lingmerth quietly went about his business and wound up atop the leaderboard Saturday in The Players Championship at Ponte Verdra Beach, Fla.

Lingmerth finished a wild day with an 8-foot eagle putt on the par-5 16th and a 10-foot birdie on the island-green 17th to reach 12-under par when the third round was suspended because of darkness. It was delayed nearly two hours because of threatening storms.

Woods, Garcia and Henrik Stenson – all former Players champions – were two shots behind. Eight players had to return this morning to complete the round.

The Woods-Garcia relationship already was frosty, and an incident on the par-5 second hole was sure to add another layer of chill.

Garcia was hitting his second shot from the fairway when he heard cheers from the large crowd gathered around Woods.

The cheer was for Woods taking a fairway metal from his bag, a risky shot because he had only a 15-foot gap to escape the woods.

Nadal reaches final at Madrid Open

Tennis: Rafael Nadal reached his seventh consecutive final since returning from a knee injury, brushing aside wild-card entry Pablo Andujar 6-0, 6-4 at the Madrid Open.

The Spaniard will play Stanislas Wawrinka after the 15th-ranked Swiss recovered late to defeat Tomas Berdych 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.

Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova will meet for the No. 1 ranking and the women’s title after winning semifinals in straight sets over Sara Errani and Ana Ivanovic, respectively.

Carpenter fastest at Indy 500 practice

Racing: Ed Carpenter jumped to the top of the speed chart and finished with the fastest lap of the day during the Indianapolis 500’s first practice session.

Carpenter, the stepson of former Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO Tony George, finished the 2.5-mile oval going 220.970 mph.

Another American, Josef Newgarden, was second fastest at 220.920 while rookie Carlos Munoz of Colombia was third at 220.720.

• Brown wins at Atlanta: Antron Brown raced to the Top Fuel victory at the weather-delayed NHRA Southern Nationals at the Atlanta Dragway.

Brown earned his second victory of the season and his fifth win at the Georgia dragstrip, powering past Brandon Bernstein in the final round.

• Rosberg takes pole for Spanish GP: Mercedes will start the Spanish Grand Prix from the front row after Nico Rosberg had the fastest qualifying time ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton at Barcelona.

Rosberg won the pole position in 1 minute, 20.718 seconds.

McDonnell wins IBF bantamweight title

Boxing: Jamie McDonnell won the vacant IBF bantamweight title when he edged the previously unbeaten Julio Ceja with a controversial majority decision in his home ring at Doncaster, England.

McDonnell absorbed everything thrown by the 20-year-old Mexican, and a strong final round persuaded the judges to give the local the fight with scores of 114-114, 115-113 and 118-110.

• Burns retains WBO lightweight title: Ricky Burns kept his minor WBO lightweight belt when unbeaten challenger Jose Gonzalez of Puerto Rico retired after the ninth round at Glasgow, Scotland.

Gonzalez, the winner of 22 fights, 17 by knockout, stayed on his stool because of a suspected broken wrist.

U.S. defeats France at ice hockey worlds

Hockey: The United States beat France 4-2 for its fourth win at the ice hockey world championships at Helsinki.

Finland overtook the group lead from the Americans with a 7-2 win over Austria, but has a game more played, meaning the U.S. can clinch the top seed for the quarterfinals if it wins its last two round-robin matches against Germany and Slovakia.

Dowsett wins trial at Giro d’Italia

Miscellany: Alex Dowsett won the individual time trial in the eighth stage of cycling’s Giro d’Italia after favorite Bradley Wiggins was slowed by a puncture and only managed second at Saltara, Italy.

Vincenzo Nibali, Wiggins’ main rival for the title, took the overall lead from Benat Intxausti after finishing fourth.

• Bejarano rides 3,000th winner: Rafael Bejarano won the first race aboard Ondine at Betfair Hollywood Park at Inglewood, Calif., giving the jockey his 3,000th career victory.

Ondine won by 33/4 lengths for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert