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Saturday, 11-Jun-2011 00:33 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Robert Karlsson takes 3-stroke lead

Robert Karlsson keeps playing better and better at TPC Southwind. The Swede could be on track for his first PGA Tour title if he keeps it up.

Karlsson is focused only on his next round.

"That's a question we'll discuss when it happens," Karlsson said.

Karlsson shot a 5-under 65 on Friday to take a three-stroke lead after the second round of the St. Jude Classic. He started a stroke behind first-round leader wholesale nfl jerseys David Mathis and carded six birdies and a bogey to reach 9 under. Karlsson, who lost here a year ago in a playoff with Lee Westwood, has played his first six career rounds at the course under par with this his lowest score yet.

"It's actually a bonus that I did well here last year," said Karlsson, who is ranked 23rd in the world and has 11 career European Tour titles.

"But this year is a new year, and even now most likely going to be in the lead after two days makes no difference. We've come halfway, and who knows. I might finish 55th. You never know. You've got to keep going, especially on punishing golf courses like this."

Colt Knost (68) and Keegan Bradley (67) were tied for second. Bradley, the Byron Nelson Championship winner two weeks ago, is among a few who can earn a spot last week in the U.S. Open at Congressional by winning his second tour event since the last Open.

John Merrick (69) was 5 under, and Fredrik Jacobson (65) and Harrison Frazar (65) were another stroke back. Brandt Snedeker, The Heritage winner in April, shot a 66 to top the group at 3 under that included Mathis (72). With 83 making the cut at 2 over, David Toms (5 over) and Sergio Garcia (7 over) were among those who made an early departure for Congressional.

Nobody beat Karlsson him over 72 holes here in 2010, and he credits the lessons learned on his first practice round here a year ago to avoid hitting into the rough on this 7,239-yard course as much as possible to better set up shots into the greens. Temperatures in the high 90s the past couple weeks have firmed up the Champion Bermuda greens.

"It can be better to have an 8-iron from the fairway or a 7-iron from the fairway instead of a wedge from the rough," Karlsson said. "The greens are firm, and the rough is really, really brutal to control the golf ball out of. You can hit it. you can hit it really far, very, very far because you can get some vicious flyers."

Starting at 4 under and teeing off on No. 10, Karlsson birdied his second hole and finished the back side with birdies on three of the final four holes. He hit an 8-iron to 8 feet on the par-3 11th to set up his first birdie. He saved par on Nos. 12-14 and then hit a wedge from 106 yards to 7 feet to take advantage of a front pin position on the par-4 15th to start his birdie string.

Karlsson found the rough with his tee shot on the par-5 16th but he recovered by hitting a wedge from 124 to 5 feet for a second straight birdie. He stuck a 7-iron from 175 yards to 4 feet on the par-4 18th to reach 8 under.

"I hit a bunch of good iron shots. It was nice obviously to get it going. As you said, it's not an easy golf course. You just don't walk out there and shoot 68, 67. It's always nice to get off to a good start. I played very well on m back nine as well. Gave myself a bunch of chances, and it was good," Karlsson said.

He made the turn and birdied the par-4 first after hitting his second shot within 4 feet of the pin despite being 124 yards out in the primary rough. When Karlsson rolled in a 14-footer on No. 6 for birdie, he became the first player to reach double digits below par at 10 under.

Karlsson dropped a shot with his lone bogey of the round and just his second this week when he three-putted from 34 feet on the par-3 eighth.

Bradley admitted to being a bit tired at Memorial following his win at the Byron Nelson Championship. He missed the cut, and he said he and his caddie got back to doing what worked in Texas. He had a bogey-free round with three birdies.

"Never had to do all the media that I had to do. Obligations that a winner has to go through, which I'm so happy I had to go through it, but it took me a little bit by surprise. But feel good and feel rested now," Keegan said.

Knost is among the Nationwide Tour graduates from 2010 playing well here. The SMU graduate who turned pro in 2007 has made the cut in eight of his 16 PGA events this year and in good position for his best finish yet.

"Kind of been struggling coming into this event, but you know I just kind of took a new mindset this week and just got off to a great start yesterday and played solid again today," Knost said.

Saturday, 4-Jun-2011 01:34 Email | Share | | Bookmark

The legal guardian for Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor said that the embattled Buckeyes star will remain in school for his senior year and has no plans to apply for the NFL supplemental draft.

“I think he will stay in school,” Willie Burns told the Associated Press. “He likes football. Only time will tell. He could change his mind in a minute. But he if he does leave, somebody done pressured his butt—bad.”

Pryor is under investigation from the NCAA and is suspended for the first five games for selling memorabilia for money and tattoos. He recently had his suspended driver's license restored.

Pryor is a controversial figure in Columbus in the wake of coach Jim Tressel's forced resignation.

“I asked him how he was doing and how is he coming along,” Burns said. “He says he’s just trying to get all this out of his head and get on with his business. I don’t like to bring up the sports to him. He’s got enough people asking him questions. If he wants to talk about it, then I’m open-hearted to him.”

“I hate to see Tressel go. He’s a good man and a good coach. The way I heard it, this has been going on for a while at Ohio State with this tattoo guy. It’s just bad that Terrelle went over there and got involved. I know he likes tattoos and all this. I don’t know what’s all behind it. We haven’t talked about any of that.”

So, should Pryor go pro?

Not in his godfather's opinion.

“I hope he does stick it out at Ohio State,” Burns said. “The way the NFL is going now, I’m glad he’s staying there because you don’t know what the devil they’re going to do. When he was looking at colleges, he had so many of them that I told him which ever one you choose, I’ll back you 100 percent. I still think he made the right choice.”

Wednesday, 18-May-2011 06:51 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Former Miami Hurricane Russell Maryland elected to Hall of Fame

Former Hurricanes defensive tackle Russell Maryland, 42, had one of the thrills of his life Tuesday morning when he was named to the College Football Hall of Fame and then got to officially open the NASDAQ stock market in New York’s Times Square — though it almost didn’t happen on time.
While Maryland was about to be interviewed live online just before 9:30 a.m., a woman rushed to the podium and told Hall officials they had to open the stock market immediately. Suddenly, Maryland and fellow inductees Marty Lyons, a former defensive tackle from Alabama, and Lloyd Carr, the former Michigan coach, pushed the button that rang the opening bell.
“They can’t be listening to me talking about my old Miami days and then stand there waiting on the floor for me to stop talking to conduct business,” Maryland said by phone while chuckling.
Maryland was so floored to be named to the Hall that when National Football Foundation president and CEO Steve Hatchell delivered the news by phone a few days ago, Maryland thought it was a joke being pulled by former UM defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy. “[Hatchell] said, ‘You have to keep this under wraps,’” Maryland said. “I was like, ‘Come on now!’ I didn’t even know I was nominated until Cortez called me … in March.”
It finally sunk in after Hatchell told Maryland he was invited to New York for the announcement. “I was like, ‘Man, this is probably real — actually surreal.’ It’s an honor and a blessing to be named among the cream of the crop of college football athletes.”
In all, 79 former players and nine former coaches were nominated.
Maryland played at UM from 1986 to ’90, winning national titles in ’87 and ’89. He was the first Hurricane to win the Outland Trophy in 1990, when he had 96 tackles and 10.5 sacks. He was a consensus All-American and finished his career with 279 tackles, 25 tackles for loss and 20 1/2 sacks. He was drafted first overall by former UM coach Jimmy Johnson’s Dallas Cowboys, and played 10 seasons in the NFL with the Cowboys, Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers. Johnson was one of nine coaches nominated this year for the College Football Hall of Fame. But he was bypassed for Carr and former Air Force coach Fisher DeBerry.
Also elected to the Hall: Florida State defensive back Deion Sanders (1985-88); Florida receiver Carlos Alvarez (1969-71); Texas defensive tackle Doug English (1972-74); Oregon State fullback Bill Enyart (1966-68), Ohio State running back Eddie George (1992-95); Georgia defensive back (and former Dolphin) Jake Scott (1967-68); Nebraska guard Will Shields (1989-92); Minnesota quarterback Sandy Stephens (1959-61); West Virginia linebacker Darryl Talley (1979-82); Oklahoma halfback Clendon Thomas (1955-57); Arizona defensive lineman Rob Waldrop (1990-93); and Michigan State receiver Gene Washington (1964-66).
The other UM players in the College Football Hall of Fame are quarterback Gino Torretta, running back Don Bosseler, defensive end Ted Hendricks and safety Bennie Blades. Arnold Tucker, who was a UM quarterback in 1943, is in the Hall as an Army player (1944-46). Former UM coaches Jack Harding and Andy Gustafson are also in the Hall.
Maryland lives with his wife and three children in Southlake, Texas.

Tuesday, 17-May-2011 01:15 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Kenseth riding high after Dover win

What a year it's been so far for Matt Kenseth. His beloved Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl in February. Last month, Kenseth snapped a 76-race winless streak at Texas, and then on Sunday, he notched his second victory of the season at Dover, which put him in great shape to clinch a spot in this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

Two fresh tires instead of four during the final round of pit stops with less than 40 laps remaining turned out to be the winning strategy for Kenseth and crew chief Jimmy Fennig at Dover.

Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards dominated most of the 400-mile Dover race, but the four-tire call for Johnson and Edwards on their last stops ended up costing both drivers an opportunity to win.

Kenseth passed Martin for the lead with 32 laps left, and then held it for his second Dover win. He won here in the spring of 2006. Kenseth joined Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch as those drivers who have won twice in NASCAR's top- tier series so far this season.

After his Texas victory, Kenseth endured disappointing finishes at Talladega, Richmond and Darlington before bouncing back in a big way at Dover.

"I feel pretty good about it now, because with some of the bad finishes we had, we still perform much better than we have in the past," Kenseth said. "We perform better at more places than we have. It really feels for sure like we're on the right track."

Kenseth stormed out of the gate at the start of the 2009 season by winning the first two races -- Daytona and California. But Kenseth faltered from there and missed the Chase for the first time. He qualified for the playoffs and finished fifth in points in 2010.

Barring some unforeseen event, Kenseth looks as though he'll be one of the 12 drivers in this year's Chase field.

NASCAR revised its Chase format during the off-season. The top-10 drivers in points will be locked in the playoffs after the regular season ends September 10 at Richmond. Positions 11 and 12 will go to those drivers who have the most wins, provided they are in the top-20 at the time.

Kenseth, the 2003 Cup Series champion, jumped from tenth to sixth in points after Dover.

"I was thinking about the win thing a little bit, not necessarily because of the Chase or how they created it or anything like that," he said. "Until five weeks ago, it had been two years since we won. When I see that, honestly because we haven't won in a while, you start thinking it's not a 12-person thing anymore. It's a top-10 in points, which is fine. So we got to make sure we're in the top 10."

Last June, Fennig took over crew chief duties at Kenseth's No.17 Roush Fenway Racing team. The two have racked up 12 top-10 finishes in 30 races together since then.

In 2006, Fennig teamed with Kenseth in the Busch Series -- now known as the Nationwide Series. Fennig also guided Kurt Busch to the inaugural Chase championship in 2004 when Busch drove for Roush at the time.

"I enjoy working with Matt," Fennig said. This isn't the first time I worked with him. I worked with him with the Busch cars. I enjoyed it back then."

Lots of credit should be given to Fennig for Kenseth's winning momentum this season. However, Fennig wouldn't take much recognition of Kenseth's victory at Dover.

"That was all Matt there," Fennig said. "He figured we needed to have clean air, and he called for two tires. We did two, and away we went."

And now they go...setting sail for what could be a championship run this year.

Monday, 16-May-2011 11:50 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Snow storm delays start of Tour of California

The race organizers delayed the original start time by almost three hours and agreed to shorten the 118,7 miles (191 km) stage in the hope of getting underway if the severe weather conditions cleared up.

The 18 teams and 144 riders even made it to the starting line and were a minute away from beginning the race when the stage was officially abandoned.

“We were monitoring weather conditions up until start time, and we just couldn’t safely put the riders out on the course with the current forecast,” said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports, the race owners.

The eight-day event will now be held over seven days, starting on Monday with a 133 mile (214km) ride from Squaw Valley ski resort to Sacramento.

“We, the riders, are disappointed about not racing for the fans,” said American Levi Leipheimer, a three-time winner of the race. “But we agreed it was too risky in the ever-changing weather.”

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