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Goydos takes lead by one at Players

May 11, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Paul Goydos doesn't have a Q-rating, an endorsement deal or a top-30 finish in the last 16 months. What he does have for the first time in his career is a 54-hole lead -- in the Players Championship, no less.

Seemingly immune to a course getting tougher by the day, Goydos seized the lead Saturday at Ponte Vedra, Fla., with a 10-foot birdie on the island-green 17th and a great escape on the closing hole for a two-under-par 70 and a one-shot lead over Kenny Perry.

Asked if he had ever had a 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour, Goydos, 43, shook his head.

"But I've only been on tour for 16 years," the two-time winner said.

Goydos was at seven-under 209, the highest score to lead at TPC Sawgrass since 1999.

Perry saved par with a nifty wedge on the 18th hole for a 72 that put him at 210 and in the final group today.

Sergio Garcia was tied for the lead standing on the 17th tee, but he three-putted from just outside 10 feet, then hit into the rough on the 18th and closed with another bogey for a 73, leaving him three shots behind.

Annika Sorenstam shot her third consecutive nearly mistake-free round, and her two-under 69 signaled that she may be ready to give Lorena Ochoa a run for No. 1 again.

The eight-time player of the year, plagued by injuries during a winless 2007, gave Ochoa and Jeong Jang up-close evidence that the steady game that made her the top female player in the world for so long is coming back, and probably sooner rather than later.

Hitting fairways and greens consistently and scrambling when necessary, Sorenstam stretched her bogey-free string to 53 holes before hooking her drive into the water on No. 18. She drove again, hit a six-iron to within eight feet and made the putt, the bogey leaving her with a three-shot lead over Jang, who also shot 69.

Ochoa lost her putting stroke and fell back quickly. Her string of four bogeys in five holes ended just before Sorenstam made two long putts, both for birdie, to open an eight-shot lead over the woman who has taken her place at the top of the sport.

Ochoa made a long birdie putt on the first hole and was two under through seven holes, but five over after that, finishing with a 74 to drop into a tie for 10th at six-under 207.

TENNIS

Roddick, Stepanek retire from semifinals

Andy Roddick and Radek Stepanek retired from semifinal matches at the Rome Masters, setting up a final between Stanislas Wawrinka and third-seeded Novak Djokovic.

The sixth-seeded Roddick pulled out because of a back problem after falling behind, 3-0, in the first set against Wawrinka.

"I felt a little something last night in my back when I was getting treatment. Then, one wrong movement and I had a complete spasm," Roddick said. "I can't really move my left arm right now. You can't really play around that."

Stepanek stopped while trailing Djokovic, 6-0, 1-0, after appearing affected by the heat.

Elena Dementieva defeated second-ranked Ana Ivanovic, 6-2, 7-5, to reach the final of the German Open at Berlin.

In today's final, the ninth-ranked Dementieva will play 17th-ranked Dinara Safina, who beat 18-year-old Victoria Azarenka, 6-4, 6-1.

Dementieva took advantage of Ivanovic's forehand errors and fought off a set point at 5-4 in the second set before closing out the match when Ivanovic missed with a cross-court backhand.

Dementieva, who upset fifth-ranked Jelena Jankovic earlier this week, ran her record to 4-0 against Ivanovic.

The seventh-seeded UCLA women's team earned a berth in the 16-team NCAA championships by defeating Denver, 4-0, in a second-round match at the Los Angeles Tennis Center.

The Bruins (20-5) will face 10th-seeded USC (19-7) on Thursday in Tulsa, Okla. The Trojans (19-7) advanced by defeating 18th-seeded Pepperdine, 4-0, at USC's Marks Stadium.

WATER POLO

UCLA to meet USC for NCAA title

Top-seeded UCLA scored six-goals in the third quarter to take a 9-3 lead and defeated fifth-seeded UC Davis, 11-4, to advance to the finals of the NCAA women's championships at Stanford.

UCLA (32-0) will be making its fourth consecutive and seventh overall appearance in the finals. Tanya Gandy scored three consecutive goals during the first four minutes of the second half for the Bruins.

UCLA will play third-seeded USC (21-7), which beat second-seeded Stanford, 10-6. Michelle Stein scored three consecutive goals for the Trojans to open the fourth period.

HOCKEY

Staal's four goals lead Canada, 10-1

Eric Staal scored four goals to help Canada rout Germany, 10-1, at Halifax, Canada, for its fifth consecutive victory at the world championships.

Alexander Ovechkin scored with six seconds left in the third period to give Russia a 3-2 victory over Sweden at Quebec City.

BOXING

Bradley wins WBC light-welterweight title

Timothy Bradley of Palm Springs won the World Boxing Council light-welterweight title with a split decision over Junior Witter at Nottingham, England.

Bradley (22-0), who scored a knockdown in the sixth round, had never fought as a pro outside California.

England's Witter, making his third defense, fell to 36-2-2.

MISCELLANY

Kai's three goals help keep U.S. undefeated

Natasha Kai posted her first career hat trick with three second-half goals to lead the U.S. women's soccer team to a 6-0 win against Canada in an exhibition at Washington.

Carli Lloyd, Leslie Osborne and Lindsay Tarpley also scored and Abby Wambach had three assists for the U.S., which is 13-0-1 this year.

World-record holder Liu Xiang of China coasted to victory in the 110-meter hurdles at the Osaka Grand Prix in Japan. Running in the rain and cold, the reigning Olympic gold medalist and world champion was timed in 13.19.

China's Wang Hao won the women's 10-meter platform at the U.S. Diving Grand Prix at Fort Lauderdale, Fla., then teamed with Kang Li to take the synchronized event off the high board. Wang dominated the individual final, finishing with a score of 420.30 points for five dives. Laura Wilkinson was second with 360.80.

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