Kuchar builds a 2-shot lead at Mayakoba Classic
PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico – Matt Kuchar had a 7-under 64 with a fortunate bogey on his card to build a twoshot lead over big-hitting rookie Cameron Champ on Friday in Mayakoba Golf Classic.
Kuchar surged into the mix with five straight birdies on the front nine. He was leading by one when his tee shot sailed well to right under bushes near a bed of rocks. He took a penalty drop in a precarious spot, chipped out into the rough and escaped with no more worse than bogey when he holed a 35-foot putt.
Champ, going for his second victory this season, played in the morning and had a 62 with a bogey on his final hole. Kuchar was at 14-under 128. Jordan Spieth missed the cut in his final event of the year.
Garcia’s lead in Sun City cut to 1 by Oosthuizen
SUN CITY, South Africa – Sergio Garcia only just held onto his lead as Louis Oosthuizen’s second-round charge took him to within a shot of the Spaniard at the Nedbank Golf Challenge on Friday.
Garcia’s 1-under 71 moved him to 9 under par overall, but his four-shot firstround advantage disappeared as Oosthuizen made an eagle and five birdies in a 67 at Gary Player Country Club.
While Garcia bogeyed three of his last six holes, Oosthuizen came home in 32, with that eagle three and two birdies on his back nine.
Garcia is seeking a third Nedbank title but first since 2003, while South Africa’s Oosthuizen has never won his country’s most prestigious tournament.
Rory McIlroy, who is still in the running to win the Race to Dubai and end the season as European No. 1, is tied for 19th after a 1-under 71.
Gaby Lopez gets an ace and takes lead in Blue Bay LPGA
HAINAN ISLAND, China – Gaby Lopez shot a hole-in-one for a 6-under 66 on her 25th birthday and a one-stroke lead over Ariya Jutanugarn after the third round of the Blue Bay LPGA tournament on Friday.
Lopez had her ace on the par-3 17th and the Mexican player will be looking for her first LPGA victory in Saturday’s final round at the Jian Lake Blue Bay Golf Club. She had a 9-under total of 207 after three rounds.
Jutanugarn led by four strokes after the second round but slipped to a 71, which included a bogey on the final hole.
Sung Hyun Park shot a 67 and fellow South Korean Sei Young Kim had a 68 to put them both within five strokes of the lead.
The tournament wraps up five straight weeks of play for the LPGA in Asia.
Yanagita hits ‘sayonara’ home run to lift Japan over MLB
TOKYO – Yuki Yanagita hit a two-run walkoff home run in the bottom of the ninth inning Friday to lift Japan to a 7-6 win over the MLB All-Stars in the opening game of a six-game exhibition series.
Juan Soto, Carlos Santana and Amed Rosario had all homered to give the MLB squad a 6-4 lead but reliever Kirby Yates couldn’t close out the game.
Tsubasa Aizawa singled in a run to cut the lead to 6-5 before Yanagita’s dramatic blast to deep center before 44,943 at Tokyo Dome.
Santana hit a three-run homer in the fifth inning to give his team a 4-1 lead but Japan tied the game on a basesclearing double by Shogo Akiyama in the bottom of the frame.
Soto restored the lead for the MLB players in the sixth with an oppositefield two-run shot to left.
Rosario hit a solo homer in the third inning.
The series continues this weekend with two more games in Tokyo followed by one game in Hiroshima on Tuesday and two games in Nagoya on Wednesday and Thursday.
Twins’ Joe Mauer retiring after 15 seasons
MINNEAPOLIS – Minnesota Twins star Joe Mauer is retiring after 15 seasons.
The Twins released a retirement statement Friday from Mauer that will run Sunday in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Mauer, who missed significant time this season with a concussion, says in the ad that his decision “came down to my health and my family.”
“Thank you, Minnesota Twins, and thank you, fans, for making my career as special and memorable as it was,” Mauer writes. “Because of you I can leave the game I love with a full and grateful heart.”