PGA’S TOP PLAYER THOMAS IS 6 BACK

The Denver Post - - SPORTS | OFF & RUNNING - — The As­so­ci­ated Press

Justin Thomas col­lected the Jack Nick­laus Award as the PGA Tour player of the year a cou­ple of days be­fore head­ing to Malaysia in a bid to win his third suc­ces­sive CIMB Classic.

Lit­tle won­der that the two-time defending cham­pion was slightly off his game in the first round on Thurs­day, man­ag­ing only a 2-un­der-par 70 to sit six strokes be­hind leader Cameron Smith of Aus­tralia.

Smith opened with a blem­ish-free 8-un­der 64 and leads a PGA Tour event af­ter the first round for the first time in 64 starts. Bren­dan Steele, com­ing off a vic­tory last week at the Safe­way Open, had a 67.

• Sung Hyun Park birdied her last two holes for a 6-un­der 66 and a share of the lead in the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Cham­pi­onship in In­cheon, South Korea, as the South Korean bol­stered her bid to win LPGA rookie of the year and player of the year.

• Defending cham­pion and home fa­vorite Francesco Moli­nari was among six play­ers who shared a on­e­stroke lead af­ter the open­ing round of the Ital­ian Open in Monza.

Re­port: Rock­ies closer de­clines player op­tion.

Greg Hol­land, who tied a fran­chise record with 41 saves this sea­son, will not ex­er­cise the $15 mil­lion player op­tion on his con­tract and will ex­plore the free-agent mar­ket, ac­cord­ing to Jon Hey­man of FanRag Sports.

De­spite Hol­land’s suc­cess with Colorado in his first sea­son back af­ter un­der­go­ing Tommy John surgery in Oc­to­ber 2015, there has been wide spec­u­la­tion that the vet­eran righthander would de­cline his op­tion. Rock­ies gen­eral man­ager Jeff Bridich on Thurs­day said he could not con­firm the re­port, adding that there has been no of­fi­cial com­mu­ni­ca­tion between Hol­land and the Rock­ies.

Auburn, Ok­la­homa State re­ceive sub­poe­nas.

Auburn says it has re­ceived a fed­eral grand jury sub­poena in the bribery case against bas­ket­ball as­so­ci­ate head coach Chuck Per­son.

The univer­sity con­firmed the re­ceipt in a state­ment Thurs­day in re­sponse to an open records re­quest from The As­so­ci­ated Press. Auburn’s state­ment said it won’t yet re­lease the doc­u­ments be­cause they are typ­i­cally “sent with the un­der­stand­ing that they will be treated con­fi­den­tially,” in­clud­ing on whether they were re­ceived in the first place.

Ok­la­homa State pro­vided AP and other me­dia out­lets with a copy of the sub­poena it re­ceived in the wide­spread cor­rup­tion case, prompt­ing Auburn to ac­knowl­edge that it has also got­ten one.

Per­son was sus­pended with­out pay af­ter pros­e­cu­tors said the for­mer NBA player ac­cepted about $91,500 in bribes to steer clients to a Pitts­burgh-based fi­nan­cial ad­viser when they reached the NBA.

Curtis to pay $1.8 mil­lion.

MICH.» A fed­eral judge has RAPIDS, or­dered for­mer baseball player Chad Curtis to pay $1.8 mil­lion to a young wo­man who ac­cused him of in­ap­pro­pri­ately touch­ing her when he was a vol­un­teer coach at a western Michi­gan high school.

U.S. District Judge Janet Neff said that Curtis “shat­tered” the trust the vic­tim placed in Curtis.

Curtis played for six teams, in­clud­ing the Detroit Tigers.

Foot­notes.

The for­mer coach of banned marathon runner Rita Jep­too was ac­quit­ted in a Kenyan court of charges that he helped ad­min­is­ter the blood-booster EPO to her. Ital­ian na­tional Clau­dio Ber­ardelli was cleared of charges of con­spir­ing to harm Jep­too’s ca­reer by ad­min­is­ter­ing a banned sub­stance. Jep­too, a three-time Bos­ton Marathon and two-time Chicago Marathon win­ner, tested pos­i­tive for EPO in an out-of­com­pe­ti­tion test in Septem­ber 2014, just be­fore she was due to claim a $500,000 prize as the top marathon runner in the world. … Univer­sity of Pitts­burgh quar­ter­back Max Browne, a grad­u­ate trans­fer from South­ern Cal, had surgery on his right shoul­der and is out for the rest of the sea­son.

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