Spieth, Kang out front
Jordan Spieth made the most out of his chance to start over Thursday at rain-soaked Riviera Country Club at Pacific Palisades, Calif., and was tied for the lead at 5-under par through 12 holes in the Genesis Open. Tiger Woods never made it to the golf course. He was to play in the afternoon, but a seven-hour delay because of heavy rain meant not starting his first round until this morning. Spieth hit his opening tee shot on the short par-4 10th off a cart path and into thick, shin-high grass that made it tough to even see his golf ball. But with increasing rain, along with low visibility at the start, the PGA Tour decided to scrap the round and start over once the course dried out. Sung Kang also was at 5 under through 14 holes. Phil Mickelson was 1 over after managing to play 12 holes. Andrew Landry (Arkansas Razorbacks) did not begin his round before play was halted.
Shadoff leads by 2
Karrie Webb’s quest for a sixth Women’s Australian Open title began with a 5-under 67 at The Grange, leaving her two strokes behind early clubhouse leader Jodi Ewart Shad-off on Thursday at Adelaide, Australia. Ewart Shadoff had a bogey-free 65 in calm morning weather which included four consecutive birdies from the seventh through 10th holes. Webb, who was tied for second with Madelene Sagstrom, started on the back nine and was 4-under through eight holes. Her only bogey came on the par-4 sixth hole. Defending champion Jin Young Ko was among those tied for fourth with a 68, as were Americans Kristen Gillman and Jackie Stoelting. British veteran Laura Davies shot 74. Gaby Lopez (Arkansas Razorbacks) shot a 1-under 71.
Two lead Suncoast
Maverick McNealy and J.T. Griffin were atop the leaderboard Thursday after the first round of the Web.com Tour’s Suncoast Classic at Lakewood Ranch, Fla. McNealy shot an 8-under 64 and Griffin was 8 under after 15 holes to share the lead. Mark Hubbard and Wade Binfield were both at 7 under. Eleven players were at 6 under and 13 were at 5 under. Taylor Moore (Arkansas Razorbacks) had a 2-under 70. Sebastian Cappelen (Razorbacks) and Nicolas Echavarria (Razorbacks) each shot a 2-over 74.
Pair leads Super 6
Miguel Tabuena birdied nine of his first 10 holes Thursday on his way to a 7-under-par 65 and a share of the first-round lead at the World Super 6 European Tour event at Perth, Australia. Tabuena was tied with Kristoffer Reitan, who had eight birdies and a bogey. They had a two-stroke lead over Benjamin Campbell and Richard McEvoy. Tournament favorite Thomas Pieters, who was affected by a flu-like illness upon his arrival, finished with a 70. Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, had five bogeys and shot a 76. The first three rounds of the tournament are stroke play. The top 24 players will qualify for the final-round match play, which consists of a series of elimination six-hole shootouts. If a shootout is tied at the end of six holes, a 90-meter shootout hole will decide the winner, including in the championship match.
Li will keep status
Teen prodigy Lucy Li gets to keep her amateur status after the USGA gave her a warning for appearing in an Apple Watch advertisement. That clears the way for Li, 16, to play in the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur the first week in April. Li is the No. 8 player in the women’s amateur ranking. She qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open in 2014 when she was 11. Li was part of an Apple Watch advertising campaign late last year. That violates Rule 6-2 of the Rules of Amateur Status, which bans amateurs from using their names or likeness for personal benefit in advertising products. The USGA said Li did not receive any money. It issued a warning because she is a minor and it’s her first violation.
HoF finalists named
Jockey Craig Perret, trainers Mark Casse, Christophe Clement and David Whiteley, and five thoroughbreds are contemporary finalists for the National Museum of Racing’s 2019 Hall of Fame ballot. The racehorses are Blind Luck, Gio Ponti, Havre de Grace, Rags to Riches and Royal Delta. Results of the voting on the contemporary candidates will be announced April 22. All candidates that receive majority approval of the voting panel will be elected to the Hall of Fame. The hall’s induction ceremony will be held Aug. 2 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Don Garber, who in two decades as commissioner has overseen a wave of expansion that has more than doubled the size of Major League Soccer, has signed a five-year contract extension that will keep him in charge of the league through the 2023 season. The league announced the new contract Thursday; Garber’s previous deal expired after last season, but he was widely expected to remain in his post. Garber, 61, also will continue in his role as chairman of Soccer United Marketing, the league’s powerful — and profitable — marketing arm. A former NFL executive, Garber was recruited to join MLS by NFL owners Robert Kraft and Lamar Hunt, who also owned teams in the then-fledgling soccer league.
Russia wants to host again
Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov said the country is interested in hosting the Olympics in 2032 or 2036, even as it still faces the fallout from years of doping scandals. Kolobkov told state news agency Tass that “it’s very interesting for us in principle and we need to look at it more.” Russia hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, when the World Anti-Doping Agency alleged there was a government-backed program to dope Russian athletes and falsify their drug test results by swapping dirty samples for clean urine. The Russian government denies the allegations. Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously said Sochi, St. Petersburg and Kazan could all host future editions of the summer Olympic Games.
N. Korea non-compliant
The World Anti-Doping Agency said it ruled North Korea’s testing program non-compliant for failing to meet international standards. The judgment casts doubt on how North Korea’s athletes are tested as the International Olympic Committee explores options to field combined Korean teams at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. WADA said its concerns will be raised when the IOC meets today with sports and government officials from North and South Korea. Without specifying details, WADA said North Korea’s Anti-Doping Committee lost its accreditation for “non-conformities related to the implementation of its testing program.” WADA said North Korea did not dispute the ruling after missing a four-month deadline to improve the program. Doping control tests will now be supervised by China’s anti-doping agency at North Korea’s expense.
Print Headline: Off the wire