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Waite Takes Fast Lane to Canadian Open Lead

September 06, 2002|From Staff and Wire Reports

No Tiger Woods. No traffic jams.

For at least one day in the Canadian Open, Grant Waite finally had no worries.

After two years of bad luck and bad timing in golf's third-oldest national championship, Waite made five birdie putts inside 15 feet on the back nine of Angus Glen for an eight-under-par 64 to build a two-stroke lead Thursday at Markham, Ontario.

"It would be nice to win in Canada because I've played well at times," said Waite, a 38-year-old from New Zealand who hasn't won in nine years.

Canada owes him one.

Two years ago, his 21-under 267 would have been good enough to win any of the 22 Canadian Opens held at Glen Abbey--except that Woods was one stroke better, thanks to that outrageous six-iron out of a fairway bunker and over the water for a birdie on the 18th.

It got even worse last year at Royal Montreal.

Waite missed his wake-up call and set his alarm for 6 p.m.--not 6 a.m. Then he got stuck in traffic and missed his tee time in the opening round by six minutes, which was one minute too late to avoid disqualification.

"A comedy of errors," Waite called it.

Thursday was anything but that. Waite missed only three greens, took 27 putts and got into trouble only once for a 64 that allowed him to surge past a pack of players at 66 that included '98 champion Billy Andrade.

Mike Weir had a 69, only it felt much lower. Canada's best player has never come close to winning his national open. In fact, he missed the cut his first nine tries.


Sweden's Robert Karlsson shot a six-under 65 to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland. Craig Stadler, the tournament winner in 1985, shot a 71, a stroke higher than 22-year-old son Kevin, playing his second pro event after winning the Colorado Open last weekend.


Lennox Lewis will give up one of his heavyweight titles rather than fight mandatory contender Chris Byrd, claiming that Byrd offers him no great challenge and that no one wants to see the fight anyway.

Lewis' decision to give up the International Boxing Federation version of the title means the heavyweight championship will likely be further fractured, though the public generally recognizes him as the legitimate champion.

It also opens the door for Evander Holyfield to fight Byrd to try to become a heavyweight champion for the fifth time at age 40. Byrd is the IBF's top-ranked contender, while Holyfield is No. 2.

Pro Basketball

The Orlando Magic, taking a gamble to shore up its thin front line, signed troubled power forward Shawn Kemp to a free-agent contract.

Kemp is a six-time All-Star, but weight and drug problems have sent his career into a tailspin. In the last two seasons with Portland, he averaged 6.3 points and 3.8 rebounds. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Kemp entered a drug rehabilitation center for cocaine use in April 2001, near the end of his first season as a Trail Blazer. He returned for the 2001-02 season but was suspended five games in February for failing to comply with his aftercare program.

Last month, Kemp reportedly agreed to forfeit more than $25 million of the $46.5 million left on his contract with the Trail Blazers, and the team waived him.

Free-agent guard Travis Best signed with the Miami Heat, his third team since February. The 30-year-old Best becomes a possible successor to starting point guard Rod Strickland, who is 36 and a free agent.


Montreal Canadien goalie Jose Theodore became the highest-paid player in franchise history, signing a three-year, $16.5-million contract.

Theodore won the Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player and the Vezina as the top goalie last season when he led the Canadiens to the playoffs for the first time in four years.

Theodore, who will turn 26 next week, will earn $5 million this season, $5.5 million in 2003-04, and $6 million in 2004-05. The deal also contains numerous performance bonuses.


Sky Jack, winner of the Hollywood Gold Cup in July, will have a third operation next week and will be out several months. The 6-year-old gray gelding will have a chip in his right knee removed, trainer Doug O'Neill said Thursday.

It's the latest setback for Sky Jack, who had two operations on his right knee to remove bone chips a year ago. While recovering from the second operations, the horse had two bouts with colic, which nearly killed him.

Tony Stewart picked track position over new tires with 35 laps to go, taking the lead and holding off Kevin Harvick to win the Virginia Is For Lovers 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Richmond, Va.

Stewart, the Winston Cup star, was making only his second start in the series.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. made his venture into race car ownership a smashing success, setting a track qualifying record of 126.868 mph for the Funai 250 Busch Grand National race at Richmond, Va. Earnhardt bettered Matt Kenseth's mark of 125.780 set in 2001.

Rodrigo Faria scored two goals in the second half as the New York-New Jersey MetroStars defeated the Dallas Burn, 3-1, at Dallas in front of 7,913.

Thursday's races in the 2002 Etchells North American Championships at Long Beach were abandoned because of lack of wind.

Dennis Conner remained in first place on the strength of Wednesday's opening win, but it won't be an official regatta until at least four of the seven scheduled races are sailed.

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