National Sports Briefs
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. ó Alex Cejka served up more proof Friday that The Players Championship is full of surprises, not only on the devilish TPC Sawgrass but on the leaderboard.
A week after he needed an epidural to restore feeling in his right arm, Cejka ran off six birdies in 11 holes to start his second round and wound up with a 5-under 67 to build a two-shot lead over Ian Poulter going into a weekend full of possibilities.
Tiger Woods did his best to get back into the hunt, with a delicate pitch out of the mounds for a short birdie, and making an important save on the par-5 16th by trying to land short of the green with his third shot, even though he was only 45 yards away. He was seven strokes back after a 69.
Phil Mickelson is thankful he gets to play for two more days. He struggled with his putting most of the round and shot 1-under 71, making birdie on the last hole to make the cut on the number.
– WILLIAMSBURG, Va. ó Lorena Ochoa topped the leaderboard for the sixth straight round on the LPGA Tour, shooting a 6-under 65 to take a three-stroke lead in the Michelob Ultra Open at Kingsmill.
Coming off a wire-to-wire victory two weeks ago in her native Mexico, the top-ranked Ochoa had a 13-under 129 total. She’s seeking her third victory in seven 2009 starts.
Cristie Kerr, the 2005 winner, and Song-Hee Kim matched the course record with 63s to join In-Kyung Kim (64) at 10 under. Michelle Wie shot 67.
– TURIN, Italy ó In the Italian Open, John Daly was five stroke back after his second straight 69.
GREENSBORO ó The ACC has added a bowl to its lineup of nine postseason games.
The league said Friday the Mobile, Ala.-based GMAC Bowl will replace the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho, in the conference’s postseason lineup.
The GMAC Bowl will have the ninth pick of eligible ACC teams this year, while the EagleBank Bowl in Washington, D.C., which had the final pick last year, moves up to the No. 8 pick of ACC teams.
The ACC champion once again will play in the Orange Bowl unless it is ranked either first or second in the final BCS standings. In that case, it will play in the BCS title game in Pasadena.
– KNOXVILLE, Tenn. ó A total of 11 Tennessee players with scholarships have left the Volunteers football program under new coach Lane Kiffin, including four since the end of spring practice.
LEXINGTON, Ky. ó Patrick Patterson is returning to Kentucky for his junior season.
The school announced Friday the 6-foot-9 forward will remove his name from the NBA draft to stay in school and play for new coach John Calipari.
Patterson averaged 17.9 points and 9.3 rebounds during his sophomore season with the Wildcats and was picked to the All-SEC first team.
– LOUISVILLE, Ky. ó Louisville says coach Rick Pitino is not interested in returning to the NBA.
The university insists there is no truth to a Yahoo! Sports report that said Pitino had inquired about the Sacramento Kings’ vacant coaching job.
WASHINGTON ó The Washington Wizards say forward Antawn Jamison had surgery to remove a bone spur from his right ankle.
The two-time NBA All-Star from North Carolina iaveraged 22.2 points and 8.9 rebounds last season, both team highs.
MAJOR LEAGUESBOSTON ó The Boston Red Sox held a moment of silence for Dom DiMaggio before their game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night.
The former Red Sox center fielder died early Friday morning at the age of 92 at his home in Marion, Mass.
– BALTIMORE ó The Baltimore Orioles have traded disgruntled utility player Ryan Freel to the Chicago Cubs for reserve outfielder Joey Gathright.
– MINNEAPOLIS ó Minnesota Twins third baseman Joe Crede will be away from the team this weekend after the birth of his daughter.
– CHICAGOó Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton could return to the team as early as Tuesday after spending time on the disabled list with bruised left ribs.
– OAKLAND, Calif. ó The Oakland Athletics have acquired infielder Adam Kennedy.NHL
DENVER ó Retired Colorado Avalanche goalie Patrick Roy has met with club president Pierre Lacroix, and team officials won’t reveal the topic.
The Avalanche’s general manager job is vacant. Francois Giguere was fired last month after a 32-45-5 season.
Roy retired in 2003 and is a Hall of Famer.
– PHOENIX ó The National Hockey League said it has been in control of the Phoenix Coyotes since November and is asking a federal judge to throw out the team’s bankruptcy filing.
ROME ó Top-ranked Dinara Safina rallied to beat Venus Williams 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-4 and set up an all-Russian final with Svetlana Kuznetsova at the Italian Open.