National Sports Briefs: Tiger lurking at Buick

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 27, 2007

Associated Press

SAN DIEGO — A pair of PGA Tour rookies wound up atop the leaderboard Saturday at the Buick Invitational, and both of them realize they will have to conquer their nerves in the final group as they try to win for the first time.

Andrew Buckle and Brandt Snedeker also know it could have been a lot worse.

Imagine that final threesome being filled out by Tiger Woods.

“Somebody told me he’s had 41 more wins than I’ve had starts on this tour,” Snedeker said. “I think he’s got me beat in the experience aspect. I know he’s going to be there down the stretch. It’s just a matter of keeping my wits about me.”

Going after his seventh consecutive PGA Tour victory and third straight title at Torrey Pines, Woods hit into nine bunkers and closed with 11 straight pars for a hard-earned 69 to get within two shots of the lead. He trailed the two rookies and Kevin Sutherland, whose only victory came five years ago 20 miles up the road at La Costa.

* KAHUKU, Hawaii — Fred Funk had another spectacular day on the greens, shooting an 8-under 64 to take a three-stroke lead in the Turtle Bay Championship.

The 50-year-old Funk had his second straight bogey-free round to break the tournament record with a 15-under 129 total.

* DOHA, Qatar — Two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen shot a

1-under 71 for a share of the Qatar Masters lead with Australians Richard Green and Nick O’Hern.

BASEBALL

ST. LOUIS — Bing Devine, the St. Louis general manager who helped build Cardinals teams that won three National League pennants and two World Series in the 1960s, died Saturday. He was 90.

Devine had been ill since Christmas, she said.

“He had surgery, bless his heart,” wife Mary Devine said. “He had too many little things, and he decided today was the day for him to leave. We were all there holding his hands. He had a wonderful baseball life, and he was still working for the Cardinals, and I tell you he would have worked for them for free.”

Vaughan P. “Bing” Devine, was general manager of the Cardinals from 1958 to 1964 and again from 1968-78, and was credited with acquiring Hall of Fame players Bob Gibson and Lou Brock. The Brock trade with the Cubs, which cost the Cardinals sore-armed pitcher Ernie Broglio, is considered his best.

DAYTONA

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — A pair of Chip Ganassi Racing entries were out front and dueling for the lead 10 hours into the Rolex 24 sports car endurance race at Daytona International Speedway.

Young Mexican star Salvador Duran, driving with former Formula One and Indy star Juan Pablo Montoya and six-time Daytona winner Scott Pruett, was in the lead, seconds ahead of the team’s other Lexus Riley, driven by former Indianapolis 500 winner and IRL champion Dan Wheldon.

KOBE

LOS ANGELES — At 28 years and 156 days, Kobe Bryant become the youngest player in NBA history to reach 18,000 points Friday. Bryant scored 32 points in the Lakers 106-97 loss to Charlotte.

Wilt Chamberlain was the youngest at 28 years and 166 days, followed by Michael Jordan at 28 years and 359 days.

HENRY RELEASED

COVINGTON, Ky. — Bengals receiver Chris Henry was released from jail Saturday after completing a two-day sentence for letting minors drink alcohol in a hotel room he had rented. Henry’s guilty plea and two-day sentence settled the last of his four court cases. He has been arrested four times in the last 14 months.

COWBOYS

IRVING, Texas — New Orleans defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs interviewed Saturday with the Dallas Cowboys. San Francisco offensive coordinator Norv Turner was scheduled to interview Sunday.

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