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National sports briefs

Associated Press

CHARLOTTE — Banking on NASCAR fans’ sponsor loyalty to drive more retail business to their ATMs and branches, Charlotte-based Bank of America Corp. has signed a five-year deal as the official bank of the popular racing series.

The multiyear deal greatly expands Bank of America’s sponsorship of stock car racing, while also marking a change in how NASCAR lines up sponsors. NASCAR has begun to reduce its sponsor base by consolidating deals and seeking opportunities to cover entire industries in one deal.

Bank of America already has an “official bank” deal in place with baseball, long known as the national pastime. Now, the nation’s No. 2 bank adds a similar deal with a sport widely viewed as the nation’s fastest-growing.


LA QUINTA, Calif. — Skins Game rookie Stephen Ames rolled in a 3-foot birdie putt on the third playoff hole Sunday for $270,000 and a winning total of $590,000.

Fred Couples, who has won the Skins Game five times in 13 appearances, finished second with $385,000 to run his career Skins earnings to $3.9 million. Couples played the best golf of the foursome, with 10 birdies and an eagle over 20 holes.

John Daly won $25,000 on the first hole of the two-day, 18-hole event, then didn’t win another skin. Fred Funk, who took the title with a rookie record $925,000 last year, was shut out in his second try.

* MELBOURNE, Australia — England’s Justin Rose won the Australian Masters for his first victory in four years, shooting a 1-over 73 for a two-stroke victory over Australia’s Richard Green.

Rose had a 12-under 276 total on the Huntingdale Golf Club course in the event co-sanctioned by the Australasian and European tours. Green finished with a 69.

* KOCHI, Japan — India’s Jeev Milkha Singh won the Casio World Open, closing with a 4-under 68 for a two-stroke victory over New Zealand’s David Smail.

Singh, a two-time winner this year on European tour, had a 16-under 272 total on the Kuroshio course. Smail finished with a 68.

On Friday, Michelle Wie missed the cut by 19 strokes. She shot 81-80.


PERTH, Australia — Venus Williams and Taylor Dent will represent the United States at this year’s Hopman Cup team tennis tournament. The Americans will play Germany’s Nicolas Kiefer and Martina Muller on Dec. 30.


TAMPA, Fla. — Filip Kuba and Brad Richards scored 36 seconds apart midway through the second period, helping the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Ottawa Senators 3-1 on Sunday.

Johan Holmqvist made 22 saves for the Lightning, who have won three straight and seven of 10. The goalie made a sliding pad save on Joseph Corvo’s in-close shot in the second.

Tampa Bay also got a power-play goal from Martin St. Louis with 1:18 left.


CHICAGO — Former Arizona Diamondbacks owner Jerry Colangelo would be interested buying the Chicago Cubs if Tribune Co. puts his hometown franchise up for sale.

“If in fact the Cubs become available, and that’s a big if, I’ve stated that I would have great interest,” he told The Associated Press. “I’m just trying to keep my options open at this point, that’s all.”

The 67-year-old Colangelo grew up a Cubs fan in suburban Chicago Heights. A four-time NBA executive of the year and member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, he brought major league baseball to Arizona in 1998 as managing general partner of the Diamondbacks, who won the World Series in 2001.

* SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — Alfonso Soriano wants to warm up for his Chicago Cubs debut by playing for his hometown team in the Dominican winter league.

Soriano’s new eight-year, $136 million with the Cubs is the fifth-richest in major league history.

If he gets permission to suit up, Soriano would join New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano and Los Angeles outfielder Matt Kemp on the Stars.


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