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Sports in brief: Pettersen captures Canadian

Suzann Pettersen hadn’t won on the LPGA Tour since 2007. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Suzann Pettersen hadn’t won on the LPGA Tour since 2007. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
From Staff And Wire Reports

Golf: Norway’s Suzann Pettersen won the Canadian Women’s Open on Sunday for her first LPGA Tour win in nearly two years, closing with a 1-under 70 for a five-stroke victory at Priddis Greens in Priddis, Alberta.

The tall Norwegian finished at 15-under 269 after opening rounds of 65, 68 and 66. Since winning five times in 2007, she had six runner-up finishes, including a playoff loss last weekend in Oregon.

Momoko Ueda (65), Morgan Pressel (66), Ai Miyazato (67), Karrie Webb (69) and Angela Stanford (70) tied for second.

•Eagle boosts Stricker: Steve Stricker squeezed everything he could out of his final shot in the Deutsche Bank Championship in Norton, Mass, setting up an eagle that gave him a share of the lead with Retief Goosen and Sean O’Hair.

Stricker, who can overtake Tiger Woods atop the FedEx Cup standings with a victory, hit his hybrid to 5 feet on the par-5 18th for a 6-under 65. He was among a dozen players separated by three shots going into the Labor Day finish at TPC Boston.

O’Hair (70) overcame a sluggish start with birdies on two of the last three holes. Goosen (68) had a chance to take the outright lead until he failed to get up-and-down from a bunker on the 18th.

While the leaders were at 13-under 200, Woods struggled from the opening shot. He hit driver into the woods for a one-shot penalty, didn’t make a birdie until the 15th hole and shot a 72. That left him nine shots behind in a tie for 30th.

Padraig Harrington was among those one shot behind, along with Scott Verplank (68) and Kevin Na (66).

Sluman defends title: Jeff Sluman overcame a six-stroke deficit in Pebble Beach, Calif., to successfully defend his Walmart First Tee Open title, acing the fifth hole and finishing with a 4-under 68 for a two-stroke Champions Tour victory.

Sluman, who started the day tied for fifth after a second-round 73, had four birdies and the hole-in-one on the 187-yard fifth to finish at 10-under 206.

Gene Jones shot a 70 to finish second. Tom Lehman (73) and Mark O’Meara (75) followed at 7 under, and second-round leader Loren Roberts (78) tied for fifth at 6 under.

January scores 16 in Fever win

Basketball: Tamika Catchings scored 20 points and reserve rookie Briann January (Lewis and Clark High) added 16 and fueled a fourth-quarter surge as the Indiana Fever beat the Washington Mystics 72-61 in Indianapolis.

Tammy Sutton-Brown had 13 points and 11 rebounds and Katie Douglas returned from an ankle injury to score 12 points for the Eastern Conference champion Fever (21-10), who snapped a three-game skid in their regular-season home finale.

Crystal Langhorne scored 13 points, Lindsey Harding 12 and Marissa Coleman 11 for the fifth-place Mystics (15-16).

Horse-racing deaths steady in 2008

Horse racing: The rush to improve safety since Eight Belles was euthanized at last year’s Kentucky Derby did little to curb the number of horses dying at American racetracks in 2008, the Associated Press found in a national count.

Although many tracks were already implementing safety reforms when the popular filly pulled up lame with two broken legs after finishing second at the Derby in May 2008, her death on racing’s biggest stage gave the effort a national face and new momentum.

However, the AP’s count found only a slight change in the number of fatalities in 2008 (1,217) compared with 2007 (1,247). That’s about 3 percent fewer deaths.

Racing officials and equine experts are unsure exactly why the total remains so stubbornly high, though they point out racetrack deaths can happen for a variety of reasons. Also, no single change is likely to produce overnight results and many states implemented reforms after the Derby, so their impact would only be felt for part of 2008.

By this year’s Derby, nearly every major racing state had banned anabolic steroids, even though a necropsy showed Eight Belles was not on them. Tracks also scrambled to enhance the testing of their racing surfaces, apply padding to starting gates, replace whips with noisy but less painful riding crops and outlaw a certain kind of horseshoe known to cause injuries.

Long shot rallies at Pacific Classic: Long shot Richard’s Kid came from next-to-last early and passed Einstein in the final few jumps to win Del Mar’s signature $1 million Pacific Classic in Del Mar, Calif.

Ridden by Mike Smith and trained by Bob Baffert – both Hall of Famers – Richard’s Kid had a strong run through the stretch to provide the third-biggest upset in the Pacific Classic’s 19-year history. Sent off at 24-1, he paid $50.80.

The Maryland-bred Richard’s Kid beat the Brazilian-bred Einstein by a neck, with 5-2 favorite Rail Trip three-quarters of a length back in third.

Inseperable leads Jones sweep: Rainbow Derby winner Inseperable led a sweep for trainer Paul Jones on Sunday with victory by a neck over top qualifier Fantastic Corona Jr. in the $624,789 All American Derby in Ruidoso Downs, N.M.

Ridden by Cody Jensen, Inseperable covered the 440-yard distance in 21.096 seconds to edge Fantastic Corona Jr. while Royal Proclamation completed the sweep.

College vaulter dies

Track and field: A college pole vaulter has died after missing the landing pad during practice at the University of California, San Diego’s La Jolla campus.

The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office says Leon Roach, 19, landed head first on concrete during a training jump Saturday.

Roach immediately became unresponsive, according to the coroner’s report.

He was pronounced brain dead at a hospital. An autopsy is pending.

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