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Paul Casey takes opening lead at Transitions Championship in Florida

Casey sinks consecutive birdies late in his round and finishes the day with a seven-under-par 64.

March 17, 2011|Staff and wire reports
  • Paul Casey plays a shot out a bunker on the 16th hole during the first round of the Transitions Championship at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club on Thursday.
Paul Casey plays a shot out a bunker on the 16th hole during the first round… (Sam Greenwood / Getty Images )

Paul Casey played bogey-free on the tough Copperhead course at Innisbrook for a seven-under-par 64 to take the lead among the early starters at the Transitions Championship at Palm Harbor, Fla., on Thursday.

"The state of my game is going in the right direction," Casey said.

Casey made back-to-back birdies late in his round to surge past Nick Watney, who is coming off the biggest win of his career last week in the World Golf Championship at Doral. Watney had seven birdies in 12 holes before missing a few greens toward the end of his round and settling for a 66.

Defending champion Jim Furyk led a large group at 67 that included Honda Classic winner Rory Sabbatini and Justin Leonard.

Because of a 70-minute fog delay at the start of the day, three players failed to finish the first round.

Jose Manuel Lara of Spain overcame an early double-bogey to finish tied for the lead with Welshman Stephen Dodd on the opening day of the Sicilian Open at Ragusa, Sicily.

NCAA denies Ohio State's appeal of football players' suspensions

Ohio State football Coach Jim Tressel said he wants to be suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season, the same punishment that five Buckeyes football players face after the NCAA denied the university's appeal on the players' behalf. The players, including star quarterback Terrelle Pryor, were suspended selling autographed memorabilia and receiving discounted tattoos.

Tressel had been handed a two-game suspension in a separate investigation by Ohio State after it was discovered he had not notified the NCAA, his Ohio State bosses or the school's compliance department that he was aware for more than nine months — including throughout his team's 12-1 season in 2010 — of the players' improper benefits.

Boston Bruins' Marchand suspended for blow to head

Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand has been suspended two games by the NHL for an elbow to the head of Columbus Blue Jackets center R.J. Umberger.

Marchand will be eligible to return March 22 against New Jersey. He will forfeit $6,330.64 in salary.

Pac-10 gymnastics championships this Saturday at UCLA

UCLA is hosting the Pacific 10 Conference gymnastics championships on Saturday at Pauley Pavilion, beginning at 4 p.m. The Bruins have won the last two conference titles and 15 in 24 years, but they are currently ranked sixth in the nation, behind both No. 3 Stanford and No. 5 Oregon State.

UCLA is led by Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs, a six-time All-American who is top-ranked in the nation on the balance beam. UCLA's Brittani McCullough, who won a share of the Pac-10 floor exercise title, is the only 2010 champion back to defend her conference title.

Mater Dei's Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis is national girls' basketball player of the year

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, a senior who plays for Santa Ana Mater Dei High has been selected the Gatorade national girls' player of the year in basketball.

She is the first player from California to receive the award since Lisa Leslie 21 years ago. Mosqueda-Lewis is averaging 21.6 points for the Monarchs, who play in the Southern California Regional Division I championship game on Saturday. Mosqueda-Lewis has signed with Connecticut.

Ryan Anderson from Long Beach Poly was chosen as the state player of the year in boys' basketball. He has signed with Boston College.

— Eric Sondheimer

Venus Williams withdrew from next week's Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, citing an abdominal injury that has sidelined her for nearly two months.

Former Gophers coach Murray Warmath dies

Murray Warmath, the football coach who led the Minnesota Gophers to a national championship and back-to-back Rose Bowls, has died at 98.

Big wave surfer Sion Milosky dies at Maverick's

Big wave surfer Sion Milosky died  Wednesday after he was pitched into the sea by a towering wall of water and then held beneath the surface by a second wave at Maverick's beach in Half Moon Bay, about 25 miles south of San Francisco.

Two NFL receivers return to Arena Football League

Dallas Cowboys receiver Troy Bergeron and Cleveland Browns receiver Rod Windsor are going back to the Arena Football League during the NFL lockout.

Unable to work out at their NFL team's facilities, Bergeron this week signed with the AFL's Cleveland Gladiators and Windsor joined the Arizona Rattlers. Players were permitted to sign with another league after the NFL lockout began last weekend.

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