National Sports Briefs: Sorenstam gets 71st career win
AVENTURA, Fla. ó On the green at the first playoff hole, Paula Creamer and Annika Sorenstam couldn’t have had more varying emotions.
A first-time playoff participant, Creamer said her hands shook grasping her putter.
Sorenstam was the polar opposite, exuding nothing but cool confidence. And it showed.
Sorenstam’s par on the lone extra hole Sunday was good enough to beat Creamer and win the Stanford International Pro-Am, the Swede’s 71st career victory on the LPGA Tour and one where she rallied from a one-shot deficit in the final two holes of regulation.
“That’s what I love. That’s why I do this,” Sorenstam said. “Not to say I want to have playoffs every week, but it’s a lot of drama and you have to hit that certain shot when it counts.”
Both laid up at the 18th in the playoff, with Creamer facing a tricky downhill birdie putt from just off the fringe, and Sorenstam leaving herself a birdie try from almost the same spot where she missed a potential winner in regulation.
Sorenstam missed, but Creamer’s 6-foot comebacker for par stopped short and gave the Swede the victory ó her 16th in 22 career playoff appearances.
– IRVING, Texas ó Adam Scott made a 9-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to force a playoff, then made a 48-footer playing it again on the third playoff hole to beat Ryan Moore in the EDS Byron Nelson Championship.
– SAVANNAH, Ga. ó Tom Watson and Andy North won the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf, beating Craig Stadler and Jeff Sluman by a stroke.
LOS ANGELES ó UCLA’s Josh Shipp will enter the NBA draft, but the junior won’t hire an agent, leaving him the option of returning to play for the Bruins.
Shipp averaged 12.2 points and 3.2 rebounds during UCLA’s run to its third consecutive Final Four. The Bruins lost to Memphis in the national semifinals.
Shipp is the fourth UCLA starter to enter the June draft, along with freshman Kevin Love, sophomore Russell Westbrook and junior Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. On Saturday, point guard Darren Collison announced he will return for his senior season.
– STORRS, Conn. ó Connecticut center Hasheem Thabeet plans to return to school for his junior season instead of entering the NBA draft.
The 7-foot-3 native of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, was projected as a first-round pick in the draft.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. ó Hours after Darren McFadden was picked in the NFL draft, the Arkansas Razorbacks offered a glimpse of their future under new coach Bobby Petrino.
Michael Smith ran for 157 yards and a touchdown in Arkansas’ spring game Saturday night, helping the Red team to a 45-14 win over the White team.
“All day long it was a great day for Arkansas,” Petrino said.
Smith averaged 6.6 yards per rush last season as a redshirt sophomore, but he has only 81 career carries. That’s because he’s been playing behind McFadden and Felix Jones, both of whom have gone to the NFL.
– EAST LANSING, Mich. ó Everett “Sonny” Grandelius, Michigan State’s first 1,000-yard rusher, died Friday. He was 79.
The university said the All-America fullback died in Beverly Hills, Mich.
In 1950, Grandelius became the 17th 1,000-yard rusher in college football history, running for 1,023 on 163 carries to help the Spartans to an 8-1 record.
MONTE CARLO, Monaco ó Rafael Nadal won his first title of the season, defeating top-ranked Roger Federer yet again on clay to claim his fourth consecutive Monte Carlo Masters.The second-ranked Spaniard won 7-5, 7-5 Sunday, and improved his clay-court record over Federer to 7-1.
“Winning four times here is unimaginable,” said Nadal, who earned his 24th career title. “Roger played a great match. We always have good finals.”
Nadal has won 98 of his last 99 matches on clay, with a loss to Federer in the 2007 Hamburg final the only blip. The Swiss star blew commanding leads in each set, breaking Nadal to lead 4-3 in the first and racing to a 4-0 lead in the second.
– MOSCOW ó No Serena. No Venus. No Lindsay. And no spot in the Fed Cup final for the United States.
Defending champion Russia advanced to its fourth Fed Cup final in five years, clinching its semifinal match when Vera Zvonareva rallied to defeat Vania King 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 on Sunday.
Venus Williams was injured, Serena Williams previously said she would pull out and Lindsay Davenport withdrew from a recent tournament because of the flu.
“I was disappointed,” U.S. captain Zina Garrison said of the withdrawals. “But everyone has their schedule.”
COMMERCE, Ga. ó Ashley Force beat father John on Sunday in the NHRA Southern Nationals to become the first female driver to win national Funny Car event.