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Americans hold on for Presidents Cup lead

A squirrel sits on the shoulder of Tiger Woods as he watches the last four-ball match of the day at the Presidents Cup. (Associated Press)
A squirrel sits on the shoulder of Tiger Woods as he watches the last four-ball match of the day at the Presidents Cup. (Associated Press)

Golf: The Americans survived a late rally in Dublin, Ohio, Thursday and put the International team in a familiar hole at the Presidents Cup.

Steve Stricker blasted out of a plugged lie in the face of a bunker to 3 feet to save par as he and 20-year-old Jordan Spieth hung on for a 1-up win in the final match on the course at Muirfield Village. That win gave the Americans a 3 1/2-2 1/2 lead, the fourth straight time they have led after the opening session.

The Americans led in every match early in the fourballs session and were ahead in five of them when thunderstorms and a few bursts of rain stopped play for 1 1/2 hours. None of the matches had gone more than 10 holes, though the delay at least gave the International team a sense of starting over.

Muirfield Village was set up for birdies, and there were plenty of them. Ten of the 12 teams were at least 8-under par in their rounds. The exceptions were Angel Cabrera and Marc Leishman, who were only 3 under in the shortest match of the day. They lost, 5 and 4, to Tiger Woods and Matt Kuchar.

• Korda, Choi share lead at Reignwood LPGA Classic: American Jessica Korda and South Korea’s Na Yeon Choi shot 9-under 64 to share the first-round lead in the inaugural Reignwood LPGA Classic in Beijing.

Third-ranked Stacy Lewis was tied for second at 68 with South Koreans Hee Young Park and Hee Kyung Seo. Top-ranked Inbee Park of South Korea opened with a 69.

Capitals rally to top Flames in shootout

NHL: Alex Ovechkin had two goals and an assist and added a score in the shootout and the Capitals rallied from an early three-goal deficit to beat the Calgary Flames 5-4 in Washington.

Michal Neuvirth, who replaced an ineffective Braden Holtby, made 27 saves and stopped Sven Baertschi and Jiri Hudler in the shootout.

Marcus Johansson assisted on all three second-period goals for Washington, which earned its first win after dropping the opener to the Blackhawks on Tuesday night.

• Kings hold off Wild in shootout: Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter scored shootout goals for the Los Angeles Kings, who rallied to beat the Minnesota Wild 3-2 at St. Paul, Minn., in the season opener for both teams.

Carter and Drew Doughty scored regulation goals for Los Angeles, which had just 18 shots. Jonathan Quick made 29 saves for the Kings, including stops against Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu in the shootout.

Minnesota had never lost a home opener in its first 12 seasons (11-0-1).

• Fleury sets mark in Penguins’ win: Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 28 shots for his 250th NHL victory and franchise-record 24th shutout, and Sidney Crosby scored in Pittsburgh’s two-goal first period to lead the Penguins to a 3-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils in the season opener for both teams.

Chuck Kobasew and Crosby scored less than four minutes apart in the first, and Craig Adams made it 3-0 midway through the third to celebrate his 800th career game in style.

• Bruins open with win over Lightning: Chris Kelly scored on a penalty shot, and Patrice Bergeron also had a short-handed goal as the Boston Bruins opened the defense of their Eastern Conference championship with a 3-1 victory over the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning.

Djokovic, Williams make Beijing quarters

Tennis: Top-seeded Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams overcame tough challenges to reach the quarterfinals of the China Open in Beijing.

Djokovic outlasted Fernando Verdasco of Spain 7-5, 2-6, 6-2 in a see-saw match while Williams saved three set points in the first set before beating Maria Kirilenko of Russia 7-5, 7-5, her 70th match of the year.

Djokovic will face American Sam Querrey, who defeated sixth-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland 6-3, 7-6 (2).

Williams will face sixth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki who beat American Sloan Stevens 6-3, 6-1.

• Raonic moves on to Japan Open quarters: Third-seeded Milos Raonic of Canada overpowered Jeremy Chardy of France 6-4, 6-3 to advance to the quarterfinals of the Japan Open in Tokyo.

Raonic will next face Slovakian Lukas Lacko, who beat Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France 7-5, 6-4.

Uchimura captures world all-around title

Gymnastics: Olympic champion Kohei Uchimura won a record fourth all-around world championship, beating Japanese compatriot Ryohei Kato in Antwerp, Belgium.

Uchimura finished with 91.990 points, almost a massive two points ahead of Kato, who had 90.032. Fabian Hambuechen of Germany finished with 89.332 for a bronze medal.

Sam Mikulak of the U.S. made a decisive error late in his high bar routine and instead of challenging for the silver medal he ended up fifth.

FIFA meets to discuss 2022 World Cup

Miscellany: FIFA has begun a two-day board meeting in Zurich that will discuss whether to move the dates of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar from the summer to winter.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter has been pushing for a switch but will likely meet opposition from Europe and the U.S. They want FIFA to consult widely before agreeing to a change from the traditional June-July slot to avoid the extreme heat in the tiny desert nation.

• Trail Blazers’ Aldridge has hip injury: All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge has a hip flexor strain and is day-to-day.

The 6-foot-11 Aldridge sustained the injury during Wednesday’s practice and did not participate in practice on Thursday. His return is uncertain.

• Former Soviet basketball great dies: Former Soviet basketball great and Olympic gold medalist Sergei Belov has died at 69.

His death was announced by CSKA Moscow, the team he played with for 13 seasons. The club says Belov died in the Ural Mountains city of Perm. It didn’t give a cause.

Belov helped the Soviets to the gold medal at the 1972 Munich Olympics, scoring 20 points in the famous 51-50 win over the U.S. in the final.

• Report claims Alabama coach gave player money: The Tuscaloosa News is reporting that Alabama has placed Corey Harris, an assistant strength and conditioning coach, on administrative leave for lending less than $500 to suspended defensive back Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

Clinton-Dix was suspended indefinitely by football coach Nick Saban for violating unspecified team rules, but no other details were released.

The loan could violate NCAA rules about student-athletes receiving extra benefits.