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In brief: Paul Casey surges, Rory McIlroy tumbles at the Memorial

Sat., May 31, 2014

Rory McIlroy reacts after a bogey on the 18th hole left him with a 6-over 78 at the Memorial on Friday. (Associated Press)
Rory McIlroy reacts after a bogey on the 18th hole left him with a 6-over 78 at the Memorial on Friday. (Associated Press)

Golf: Paul Casey expected to be chasing someone at the Memorial on Friday, figuring it would be Rory McIlroy.

After two holes, Casey had the lead to himself at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio. He went on to another 6-under 66 to build a three-shot lead over Masters champion Bubba Watson, with McIlroy falling nine shots behind.

Casey was at 12-under 132.

McIlroy opened with a 63 and was 15 shots worse Friday. He didn’t blame a sore left knee as much as his inability to hit fairways. He made three straight double bogeys, had a nine-hole score of 40 or worse in his fourth straight PGA Tour event and finished with a 78.

Watson got within one shot of Casey until closing with back-to-back bogeys for a 69.

Calcavecchia, Shorts share Champions lead: Mark Calcavecchia and Wes Short Jr. shot 6-under 66 to share the first-round lead in the Champions Tour’s Principal Charity Classic in Des Moines, Iowa.

Former Pullman resident Kirk Triplett shot a 3-under 69.

Johnson ties course record, leads ShopRite Classic: Jennifer Johnson matched the course record with a 9-under 62 to take the first-round lead in the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

The 22-year-old Johnson, had 10 birdies – five straight on Nos. 9-13 – and a bogey on the Bay Course at Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club in Galloway Township, New Jersey.

Haru Nomura had a bogey-free 63, and Christina Kim opened with a 64.

Back woes could force Gordon out

Auto racing: Four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon said he will have to retire if he continues to suffer the same, excruciating back pain that he did before last weekend’s Coca-Cola 600.

The 42-year-old Gordon is in no hurry to slow down. But he said he hopes he has found some solutions to the back woes that nearly forced him out of NASCAR’s longest race. Gordon cut short his practice runs last week because of back spasms and there was some concern he would be able to race.

Gordon needed treatment after the practice session, but he wound up in his familiar seat behind the wheel of the No. 24. He finished seventh, his ninth top-10 finish in 12 races this season.

Gordon knows consistent, shooting pain like he suffered at Charlotte could drive him toward an early retirement.

“I can tell you, if that happens many more times, I won’t have a choice,” Gordon said.

Keselowski wins pole at Dover: Brad Keselowski is getting used to racing out front, turning a track-record lap of 164.444 mph to win the pole for Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race at Dover (Delaware) International Speedway.

Keselowski won his second pole of the season on the mile track and fifth of his career. He also has six starts from second this season, making him one of the top front-row performers in NASCAR.

Kyle Busch starts second, with Joey Logano, eight-time Dover winner Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Larson rounding out the top five.

Busch wins Truck Series race: Kyle Busch made it 4 for 4 in the Truck Series, dominating again to win at Dover (Delaware) International Speedway.

Busch does not a run a full Truck Series season. He has won every race he entered. Ryan Blaney was second, and Johnny Sauter, Brandon Jones and Joey Coulter rounded out the top five.

Rupp breaks own 10K record

Miscellany: Galen Rupp broke his own American record in the 10,000 meters, finishing in 26 minutes, 44.36 seconds in the 40th annual Prefontaine Classic at Eugene.

Rupp was looking to challenge the mark of 26:48 he set in 2011, and asked organizers for a fast race. His finish in the Diamond League event was the second-fastest run on American soil.

Rupp took over the race for the final two laps, building a sizable gap with his challengers. Upon crossing the finish line, he was embraced by his coach Alberto Salazar.

Rupp claimed the silver medal in the 10,000 at the London Olympic, behind training partner Mo Farah.

Quintana wins time trial, extends lead: Colombia’s Nairo Quintana showed off his climbing strength and increased his lead in cycling’s Giro d’Italia with a win in the 19th stage, a mountain time trial.

Quintana, runner-up at last year’s Tour de France, clocked 1 hour, 5 minutes, 37 seconds over the 16.7-mile route from Bassano del Grappa to Cima Grappa, Italy.

Italy’s Fabio Aru finished second, 17 seconds behind, and Colombia’s Rigoberto Uran was third, 1:26 behind.

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