National Sports Briefs
HONOLULU ó Stuart Appleby finished with three straight birdies to tie Shigeki Maruyama for the lead Saturday at the Sony Open, setting up a long final round in which just about everyone is still in the game.
Because the opening round was washed out at Waialae, today will feature a 36-hole final.
Maruyama holed out from the bunker to the right of the par-3 seventh late in his round and shot another 65. Appleby had a strong finish for the second straight day and shot 66. They were at 10-under 130.
Mark Wilson, Steve Marino and Roland Thatcher were a shot back.
Either way, only eight shots separates top to bottom, with 36 holes remaining.
ST. LOUIS ó Albert Pujols will sign autographs for $175 a pop on Sunday at the St. Louis Cardinals’ Winter Warmup. The team has until the start of spring training to get the three-time NL MVP to sign a new contract.
General manager John Mozeliak confirmed the deadline set by Pujols, but declined Saturday to characterize negotiations. The Cardinals exercised a $16 million option for next season on Pujols’ contract in October.
Both sides want to keep the negotiations private. Pujols’ two-hour autograph session, which will raise funds for Cardinal Care, is sold out.
CHICAGO ó When Ron Santo died last month, his funeral procession traveled by Wrigley Field and well-wishers gathered on sidewalks to cheer the former Chicago Cubs broadcaster and third baseman one last time.
Now, the cozy neighborhood ballpark will feature a more permanent reminder of one of the franchise’s most beloved figures.
The Cubs announced Saturday they will unveil a Santo statue outside their longtime home before their game against the Washington Nationals on Aug. 10.
MELBOURNE, Australia ó Kim Clijsters figures she didn’t win three U.S. Open tournaments and 40 titles overall in her career while worrying about the opposition.
She’ll take that thought into the Australian Open, where her first-round match against Dinara Safina will feature two former top-ranked players.