Off the wire
Pair tied for lead
Charles Howell III and Ollie Schniederjans each shot 8-under 63 in perfect morning conditions Thursday to share the first-round lead in the John Deere Classic at Silvis, Ill. Howell birdied seven of his first nine holes and added a birdie on No. 7 at rain-softened TPC Deere Run. Schniederjans birdied five of his last eight holes in his lowest round of the PGA Tour. Local favorite Zach Johnson was two strokes back at 65 along with Rory Sabbatini, Patrick Rodgers and Chad Campbell. Bubba Wastson, the twotime Masters winner making his first Quad Cities start in seven years, opened with a 69. Steve Stricker, the winner from 20092011 at Deere Run, had a 73. Tag Ridings (Arkansas Razorbacks) shot 69. Ken Duke (Arkadelphia, Henderson State) had an even-par 71. Bryce Molder (Conway) shot 74.
Mize leads seniors
Larry Mize birdied half the holes and shot an 8-under 64 Thursday for a one-stroke lead after the opening round of the Senior Players Championship at Owings Mills, Md. Seeking his second victory on the PGA Tour Champions, Mize, 58, was 5 under after the front nine. He made his only bogey on the par-4 10th hole but rebounded with birdies on 14, 15 and 16. Three-time defending champion Bernhard Langer, Corey Pavin and Steve Flesch were one shot back. Langer played in a threesome with Brandt Jobe, who shot 66. Glen Day (Little Rock) shot 69 and John Daly (Dardanelle, Arkansas Razorbacks) had a 70.
Feng out front
Shanshan Feng shot a bogey-free 6-under 66 and held a one-shot lead over Amy Yang on Thursday when the first round of the U.S. Women’s Open at quiet Trump National Golf Club at Bedminster, N.J., was suspended by darkness. Despite complaints over playing the biggest event in women’s golf on a course owned by President Donald Trump, there were no apparent protests Thursday. Lightning delayed play for 2 hours late in the afternoon and the horn sounded to stop play for the day at 8:33 p.m. local time. Play is scheduled to resume at 6 a.m. Central today. Lydia Ko played in the same threesome with Feng and finished at 68 along with top-ranked So Yeon Ryu. Carlota Ciganda also was 4 under with a hole left. Gaby Lopez (Arkansas Razorbacks) was 2 under through 16 holes. Stacy Lewis (Razorbacks) shot 71.
Fowler plays strong
American Rickie Fowler picked up Thursday where he left off in 2015 at the Scottish Open, a warmup event for the British Open, avoiding trouble and rolling in five birdies at Dundonald Links in Irvine, Scotland, to shoot a 5-under 67 in the first round. He was in a six-way tie for second place, two shots behind leader Mikko Ilonen. Fowler outplayed his partners Rory McIlroy (74) and Henrik Stenson (72) in the marquee group, continuing his consistent form this year. Padraig Harrington battled through the rain to roll in a 25-yard par putt from off the 16th green and chip in from the back of No. 17 to complete a 67, joining Fowler, Ian Poulter, Paul Peterson, Callum Shinkwin and Andrew Dodt. David Lingmerth (Arkansas Razorbacks) shot 71. Pep Angles (Central Arkansas) had a 77.
Reddies alum shares lead
Matt Atkins (Henderson State) and James Driscoll each shot a 9-under 62 Thursday in the first round of the Web.com Utah Championship at Farmington, Utah. Atkins had an eagle on No. 7 and seven birdies. Tyler Duncan was alone at 63. Kyle Wilshire, Brice Garnett and Wes Roach were tied for fourth at 64. Taylor Moore (Arkansas Razorbacks) and Ethan Tracy (Razorbacks) were tied in a pack at 66. Zack Fischer (Little Rock) and Austin Cook (Jonesboro, Razorbacks) were tied at 67. Andrew Landry (Razorbacks) shot a 68. Sebastian Cappelen (Razorbacks) had a 72.
Wizards keep Porter
The Washington Wizards have matched the Brooklyn Nets’ $106 million, four-year offer sheet to keep forward Otto Porter. General Manager Ernie Grunfeld announced the move Thursday. Under NBA rules, the Wizards had two days to match Brooklyn’s offer sheet for the 24-year-old restricted free agent. Porter becomes Washington’s highest-paid player for the time being, ahead of guards Bradley Beal and John Wall. He set career highs with 13.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.5 steals and shooting and three-point percentages of .516 and .434 last season, his fourth as a professional. The Wizards drafted Porter third overall in 2013 out of Georgetown. Grunfeld said Porter, who has averaged 9.3 points a game in his career, has developed into a vital part of the team’s young core.
Team World named
DeMarcus Cousins of the New Orleans Pelicans, Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors and Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks will play for Team World in the NBA Africa Game. Dirk Nowitzki and Kemba Walker had already been chosen as captains for Team World. The squad includes Portland’s CJ McCollum, Detroit’s Andre Drummond, Boston’s Jaylen Brown, Denver’s Wilson Chandler, New York’s Courtney Lee and Leandro Barbosa, who most recently played with Phoenix. The rosters were announced Thursday for the second game featuring players born in Africa and second-generation African players against a team from the rest of the world. It will be played Aug. 5 in Johannesburg. The game will be played in support of UNICEF, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and SOS Children’s Villages South Africa.
Anthony trade possible
A person with knowledge of the situation said the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets are still talking about a trade involving Carmelo Anthony but that no deal is imminent. The person said Anthony has told the Knicks he would accept a move to the Rockets but the teams are still trying to find a trade that works for both sides. The person spoke to The Associated Press on Thursday on condition of anonymity because the talks between the teams remain private. Anthony has a notrade clause and would have to agree to any deal. He has told the Knicks he would waive it to go to Houston or Cleveland. The Knicks have been trying to trade the AllStar forward but finding a deal is difficult. Anthony is 33 and still has two years and $54 million remaining on his contract, and teams have been hesitant to engage New York on talks knowing Anthony could block a deal.
Former executive dies
Chuck Blazer, the pioneering American soccer executive whose admissions of corruption set off a global scandal that ultimately toppled FIFA President Sepp Blatter, has died. He was 72. Blazer’s death was announced Wednesday by his lawyers, Eric Corngold and Mary Mulligan. At a November 2013 court hearing during which Blazer entered guilty pleas to federal charges, Blazer said he had rectal cancer, diabetes and coronary artery disease. With huge girth, charm, wit and a pet parrot, Blazer cut a large figure as he made deals from an office and apartment in Trump Tower. The No. 2 official in the governing body of soccer’s North and Central American and Caribbean region from 1990-2011 and a member of FIFA’s ruling executive council from 19972013, Blazer was central to the rise of the sport in the United States.