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Rory McIlroy wins BMW, equals benchmarks

NEWSWIRE

September 10, 2012|Staff and wire reports

Rory McIlroy beat the strongest leaderboard in golf this year Sunday in the BMW Championship and joined some elite company.

McIlroy made consecutive birdies around the turn to emerge from a four-way tie and seize control at Crooked Stick in Carmel, Ind. He closed with a five-under-par 67, making his only bogey on the final hole when it no longer mattered, for a two-shot victory over Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood.

McIlroy became the first player since Tiger Woods in 2009 to win in consecutive weeks on the PGA Tour, and with his sixth career win, joined Woods and Jack Nicklaus as the only players to win at least six times at age 23.

Woods was never seriously in the mix. Five shots behind with seven holes to play, he made three late birdies and shot 68 to tie for fourth with Robert Garrigus (69).

McIlroy is the top-seeded player going into the FedEx Cup finale in two weeks, but any of the top five seeded players can win the Tour Championship and capture the FedEx Cup with its $10-million bonus.

McIlroy finished at 20-under 268 and earned $1.44 million, pushing him to over $7.8 million for the season to effectively lock up the money title and all but assure being voted by his peers as the PGA Tour player of the year. He has four wins on tour this year — one more than Woods — and that includes a record eight-shot win at the PGA Championship.

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Paula Creamer and Jiyai Shin had to wait until Monday to break their deadlock in the Kingsmill Championship at Williamsburg, Va.

After they each parred the par-four 18th hole eight times in a playoff Sunday, darkness forced the suspension of play for the day. They will resume play Monday morning on the par-four 16th hole.

Creamer took a one-stroke lead into the final hole of regulation but three-putted — missing a five-footer for par — for a bogey to fall into the playoff. Creamer finished with an even-par 71, and Shin shot a 69, leaving them tied at 16 under.

Karine Icher (65) and Danielle Kang (69) tied for third at 14 under. Angela Stanford had a 64 — the best round of the day — to match Catriona Matthew (68) at 13 under.

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Sweden's Peter Hanson won the KLM Open for his fifth European Tour title, holing a 35-foot eagle putt on the final hole for a two-stroke victory at Hilversum, Netherlands.

Hanson finished at 14-under 266 on the Hilversumsche course.

MOTOR RACING

Hamilton wins; Alonso keeps his overall lead

McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton won the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, and Formula One leader Fernando Alonso of Ferrari finished third to extend his overall lead.

Speculation about Hamilton's future and a possible switch to Mercedes dominated the weekend, but the 2008 champion put the focus firmly back on his driving with his first victory at Monza and the 20th of his career.

"It's a fantastic win in front of the best crowd," Hamilton said.

It's unlikely to have much impact on the championship after an impressive race from Alonso, much to the delight of the fans at Ferrari's home track. The Spaniard started from 10th on the grid after he had technical difficulties during qualifying.

Hamilton moved past defending champion Sebastian Vettel to take second place in the drivers' standings, 37 points behind Alonso.

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Tony Schumacher raced to his record ninth top-fuel victory in the U.S. Nationals, beating Spencer Massey with a run of 3.806 seconds at 315.34 mph in the rain-delayed NHRA event at Clermont, Ind.

Schumacher broke a tie with former star Don Garlits for the top-fuel victory leader. Schumacher shares the overall mark with former pro-stock driver Bob Glidden.

Massey finished in 3.828 at 319.37 mph.

Both drivers are solidly in the NHRA's Countdown to the Championship, which beginsFriday at Charlotte, N.C. With 1,378 points, Massey is second behind Antron Brown (1,413). Schumacher is third at 1,321.

Defending champion Mike Neff won the funny-car division, 15th-seeded Dave Connolly topped the pro-stock field by edging crowd favorite Erica Enders, and top qualifier Andrew Hines won in pro-stock motorcycle.

ETC.

Contador triumphs in Spanish Vuelta

Alberto Contador won his second Spanish Vuelta title, capturing a fifth triumph at cycling's major races just over a month after his doping ban ended.

The Spanish cyclist navigated the straightforward and largely processional final leg into and around Madrid with ease to edge Spanish compatriots Alejandro Valverde and Joaquin Rodriguez in the 21-stage race.

Valverde, the 2009 winner, finished 1 minute 16 seconds behind. Rodriguez was 1:38 back after having led the 67th edition of the Spanish classic for 13 stages.

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The California Horse Racing Board will hold a hearing Friday in Pomona after filing a complaint against apprentice jockey Eswan Flores, who was banned from riding last month at Del Mar after allegedly testing positive for cocaine following a urine test. The 19-year-old Flores is challenging the validity of the test and has denied taking cocaine.

—Eric Sondheimer

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