National Sports Briefs
FORT WORTH, Texas ó The frustration was evident on Phil Mickelson’s face during a slow start in the third round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational.
Lefty was feeling a lot better ó and still in the lead alone ó when he finished the round Saturday with a 17-foot birdie putt from the front edge.
Mickelson overcame an early bogey and some missed chances with seven birdies in his last 13 holes for a 5-under 65 that got him to 12-under 198. He led Rod Pampling (63) and Stephen Ames (64) by one stroke.
Pampling was on pace for a record-tying round at Colonial, the course near the Australian native’s home that he gets to play often. But he had consecutive bogeys at 16 and 17 before hitting his approach at No. 18 within a foot for a birdie that left him two strokes off the tournament record.
– CORNING, N.Y. ó Jeong Jang, fresh from two straight top-3 finishes that moved her to fifth on the 2008 LPGA money list, shot a 3-under 69 Saturday to tie Erica Blasberg for the lead after three rounds at the Corning Classic.
– ROCHESTER, N.Y. ó Steady Bernhard Langer held off Jay Haas’ late run, which included a stunning eagle on Oak Hill Country Club’s No. 17, and took the lead after the third round of the Senior PGA Championship on Saturday.
Langer, the Champions Tour money leader, finished with an even-par 70 to put him at 2-over 212 for the tournament, a shot ahead of Haas and local favorite Jeff Sluman.
HOUSTON ó Don’t count Paul Hamm out.
The Olympic gold medalist says he believes there is a “definite opportunity” for him to be on the U.S. gymnastics team at the Beijing Games, despite breaking a bone in his right hand.
“The only thing I can do at this point is make an attempt, try and see what happens,” says Hamm, whose right hand and wrist were in a blue cast. “I don’t really even know exactly what the game plan is going to be until I talk to the doctors. … It’s going to be a push, but if anybody can do it, I can pull it off.”
He’s flying back to Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday and could have surgery as early as Tuesday. Recovery time is at least four weeks, and the men’s competition at the Beijing Olympics begins in 11 weeks.
NEW YORK ó Baseball players approved a toughened drug agreement on the last possible day for ratification.
The sides announced the agreement April 11 and owners ratified it on May 14. The deal increases the frequency of tests and the authority of the program’s independent administrator, among the recommendations made in December by baseball drug investigator George Mitchell.
LAS VEGAS ó The Las Vegas district attorney says suspended NFL player Adam “Pacman” Jones has paid a $20,000 gambling debt to a casino.The DA says that Jones found a way to pay off his debts within 24 hours of a criminal complaint being filed, and that the case is now closed.
DETROIT ó The Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings won’t have to wait until the Stanley Cup finals to play next season.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said every team in the league will play all the others at least once next season. The announcement came Saturday before Game 1 of the finals between Pittsburgh and Detroit, two teams that did not meet this regular season.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. ó Johns Hopkins ended Duke’s lacrosse season for the third time in four years and spoiled the last chance for the players stained by a stripper scandal to leave with an NCAA championship.
Kevin Huntley scored four goals in Johns Hopkins’ 10-9 victory over top-seeded Duke on Saturday, and put the Blue Jays in Monday’s championship game against Syracuse. The Orange beat Virginia 12-11.
It was the final game for the five Duke players granted an extra year of eligibility to make up for their aborted 2006 season, when since-disbarred District Attorney Mike Nifong charged three players with raping a stripper hired to dance at a party.