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Sabbatini Finishes Fast for His First PGA Title

September 04, 2000|From Staff and Wire Reports

Rory Sabbatini made a 30-foot birdie putt on the final hole Sunday for a one-stroke victory in the Air Canada Championship at Surrey, Canada.

Sabbatini, 24, a native of South Africa who lives in Tucson, closed with a six-under-par 65 for a 16-under 268 total. He earned $540,000 for his first PGA Tour title.

"I limited the mistakes and kept myself in the game," Sabbatini said. "I kept it solid and kept focusing on what I was trying to do. I'm just really happy."

New Zealand's Grant Waite, who started the round with a one-stroke lead, shot a 69 to finish second. Mark Calcavecchia closed with a 67 to finish third at 270. Chris Riley birdied five straight holes on the back nine for a 68. He tied for fourth at 271 with Spain's Sergio Garcia (69), Mike Clark II (63) and Doug Barron (67).

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Laurel Kean completed a remarkable run from driving range pro to LPGA Tour winner, shooting her third straight six-under-par 66 for a six-stroke victory in the State Farm Rail Classic at Springfield, Ill.

Kean, 37, a regular on the tour from 1988 to 1998, left competitive golf early last season and ended up giving lessons at a Cleveland-area driving range.

She played her way into the tournament Monday, winning a two-hole playoff with Caroline Gowan for the final spot in the field.

She earned $135,000 for her first LPGA Tour title after making only $6,600 in combined earnings on the LPGA Tour and Futures Tour.

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Larry Nelson won his second consecutive tournament, closing with a course record nine-under 63 for a three-stroke victory in the Foremost Insurance Championship at Ada, Mich.

Nelson had a tournament-record 18-under 198 total and earned $165,000 for his fourth victory of the year to move into second place on the money list with $1,938,355.

Dave Stockton, who gave Nelson a putting lesson last week, shot 65 to finished second, three strokes behind. Jim Thorpe had a 69 to tie for third with Al Geiberger (67) at 11-under-par, seven strokes behind Nelson.

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Denmark's Thomas Bjorn shot a final-round five-under-par 67 to beat Bernhard Langer of Germany by three strokes for his first European PGA Tour victory of the year, the BMW International Open at Munich. He finished at 20-under 268. . . . The United States won its 11th World Amateur Team Championship, finishing with a four-round score of 841 to beat Britain-Ireland by 16 strokes at Bad Saarow, Germany. Bryce Molder shot a four-under 68 and won the individual title.

Track and Field

Savante Stringfellow of the U.S. showed he was the best in the long jump, no matter what Jai Taurima says. Following the furor over racial remarks by Taurima, Stringfellow twice jumped 27 feet to easily beat the Australian record-holder and the rest of the field in a pre-Olympic meet at Brisbane, Australia.

Taurima caused a furor last week when he was quoted in Australian newspapers as saying that "you can pretty much knock out all the dark athletes [in the cool conditions expected at the Sydney Olympics]," and "Americans only jump big in America."

That angered Stringfellow, who is black, and he promised to prove that Taurima was wrong. He did that with his winning performance. Three of Stringfellow's four jumps were better than Taurima's best effort, 26-8 1/2, on his first attempt.

He said he harbored "no hard feelings" toward Taurima. "Earlier in the week, he had me excited, but when I got here I forgot about it. I'm always looking for something to boost me up. Today, I just came to jump."

In his final race before the Olympics, Michael Johnson cruised to an easy victory in the 400 meters at the Rieti (Italy) Grand Prix meet. He finished with a time of 44.46 seconds. "I felt good, everything's right where it should be," Johnson said.

Miscellany

Erik Morales became interim WBC featherweight champion and Diego Corrales, defending his IBF junior-lightweight title for the fifth time, beat former champion Angel Manfredy at El Paso.

Morales knocked out Kevin Kelley 2:33 into the seventh round, improving to 38-0 with 30 knockouts. Corrales (33-0, 27 knockouts) stopped Manfredy at 2:38 of the third round to improve to 33-0 with 27 knockouts.

Aboriginal activists have been granted permission to protest outside the Sydney Airport in the days leading up to the Olympic Games. Protest organizer Jenny Munro said the protests, permitted Sept. 10-14, will highlight "government misinformation" about the treatment of Aborigines in Australia.

Kentucky junior forward Jules Camara has been suspended from the team following his arrest on drunken driving charges in Lexington, Ky. He was speeding and nearly hit a parked car before being pulled over, police said. Camara will be suspended pending the outcome of the case, Kentucky Athletic Director Larry Ivy said.

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