PGA’S TOP PLAYER THOMAS IS 6 BACK
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.
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.