Off the wire
GOLF Fowler builds lead
Winless in more than a year, Rickie Fowler finished strong Saturday for a 5-under 65 and built a four-shot lead going into the final round of the Honda Classic at Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Fowler made two birdies over the last three holes at relatively benign PGA National as everyone else around him was making mistakes. That put him at 13-under 197. Fowler was four shots ahead of Tyrrell Hatton of England, playing his first PGA Tour event in Florida. Hatton ran off three consecutive birdies to get within one of the lead until he went long on the 17th and made bogey, then left a wedge short of the 18th green and had to scramble for par and a 66. Two-time major champion Martin Kaymer was in position to join him until he took bogey from the middle of the fairway on the 18th and wound up with a 68. That left him in a large group at 7-under 203 that included Emiliano Grillo, who finished his 65 just as the leaders were starting the third round.
Amy Yang had a four-stroke lead at 17 under with five holes left in the LPGA Thailand at Chonburi when third-round play was suspended because of darkness. The South Korean player and 2015 champion had 10 birdies and an eagle in 31 holes Saturday in the rain-delayed tournament on Siam Country Club’s Pattaya Old Course. England’s Jodi Ewart Shadoff and South Korea’s Sei Young Kim were 11 under, and Thai sisters Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn were in the group at 10 under — all still on the course. Stacy Lewis (Arkansas Razorbacks) shot a 2-under 70 (4-under 212). Gaby Lopez (Razorbacks) also had a 70 (1-over 217).
The Joburg Open in Johannesburg was reduced to 54 holes after more rain left the course waterlogged and forced another suspension in play. Many of the players hadn’t started the third round when thunder and lightning forced organizers to halt play early in the afternoon at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club. England’s Paul Waring and South Africa’s
Darren Fichardt shared the lead at 11 under, with Waring completing a 67 in his second round early Saturday.
TENNIS Sock advances
Jack Sock won the last seven points of a second-set tiebreaker to beat Donald Young 6-4, 7-6 (2) on Saturday in an all-American semifinal at the Delray Beach Open. Sock, seeded third and ranked 21st in the world, will face No. 1 seed Milos Raonic of Canada or No. 7 Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina today in the final. Raonic and del Potro played Saturday night. Sock never lost his serve all day and allowed Young only one break-point opportunity. Young took a 2-0 lead in the second-set tiebreaker, but didn’t win another point.
Dominic Thiem and Pablo
Carreno Busta will face off in the final of the clay-court Rio Open. Thiem defeated Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-1, 6-4 on Saturday to advance, and Carreno Busta ruined the night of 18-year-old Norwegian Casper Ruud, 2-6, 7-5, 6-0. Thiem broke Ramos-Vinolas three consecutive times to take the first set, and one more time to start the second. Thiem is seeking his eighth ATP singles title. Carreno Busta is after his third ATP singles title. He’s also in the doubles final afterward with partner Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay. He’s likely to get about a one-hour break, or less.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga defeated defending champion Nick Kyrgios 7-6 (5), 2-6, 6-4 at the Open 13 in Marseille, France, on Saturday, setting up an all-French final at the indoor tournament. The first matchup between the pair was hard-fought as Tsonga weathered 16 aces from the Australian, saved five break points and broke early in the decider to prevail in more than two hours. Tsonga will take on Lucas Pouille, who defeated Richard Gasquet 7-5, 6-3 in an all-French semifinal to reach his first final this season. Pouille, who has won back-to-back matches this week for the first time in 2017, hit 12 aces and saved 5 of 6 break points.
BASEBALL Wong still hurting
Kolten Wong is still bothered by a right shoulder injury from a tumble he took while playing left field last September at Wrigley Field. The St. Louis Cardinals second baseman said Saturday that he’s been dealing with “tenderness” in the shoulder. He received a cortisone shot in the shoulder at the end of the season, and the right-handed thrower didn’t pick up a ball until January. The shoulder troubles Wong when he throws. He has had an MRI but says he does “not yet” need surgery. Wong has been on a limited throwing program since spring training began and did not play in St. Louis’ Grapefruit League opener on Saturday. He did take infield before the game. Manager Mike Matheny said he expects Wong could play as soon as today. Wong is not expected to play any outfield this season.
MISCELLANEOUS ACC: Pleased with effort
Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford said he’s encouraged that North Carolina lawmakers have filed bipartisan legislation to repeal a law that limits protections for LGBT people. The ACC and the NCAA pulled sporting events out of the state last fall in response to the socalled “bathroom bill.” The bipartisan plan to repeal House Bill 2 was filed Wednesday, though some gay rights groups and Democratic Gov.
Roy Cooper have criticized provisions within the measure. In a statement Saturday, Swofford said the league would be ready to “reopen the discussion” on holding neutral-site events in the state if the law is repealed. He said the league “is pleased the Legislature is dedicated to resolving this important issue.”