The Washington Post

Aphibarnra­t has lead at Euro Tour top event

- — From news services

Kiradech Aphibarnra­t of Thailand took the outright lead Friday at the BMW PGA Championsh­ip in Virginia Water, England, as a slew of Ryder Cup hopefuls moved into contention after the second round of the flagship event on the European Tour.

Aphibarnra­t, who started the day in a tie for the lead, shot a 4-under-par 68 to be 12 under overall, one stroke clear of Laurie Canter (66) and Francesco Laporta (65), and two ahead of

Adam Scott (69).

Justin Rose needs a win this week at the tour’s headquarte­rs at Wentworth to qualify automatica­lly for the Ryder Cup, and the Englishman shot a 68 to follow up an opening 67, leaving him tied for fifth place and three shots off the lead along with Billy Horschel (65) and Jamie Donaldson (66).

Shane Lowry shot a 66 and was in a six-man group a further stroke back, with the Irishman knowing a big week could move him into a qualifying position in the world points list — one of the two routes to an automatic place on Padraig Harrington’s European team.

Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger birdied five of his last eight holes for a 67 to move into a tie for 19th place at 6 under overall and, as it stands, above Rory Mcilroy into an automatic place on the European points list. If Wiesberger stays there, Mcilroy would get in via his world points.

A finish inside the top 50 is set to be enough to get into Harrington’s team, piling on the pressure for Wiesberger. . . .

In St. Louis, Paul Goydos, Doug Barron and Marco Dawson each shot a 5-under 66 to share the first-round lead at the PGA Tour Champions’ inaugural Ascension Charity Classic.

Jim Furyk, Vijay Singh, Wes Short Jr., Steve Flesch and Cliff Kresge were a stroke back on Norwood Hills’ West Course, the tree-lined layout where Ben Hogan won the 1948 PGA Championsh­ip.

John Daly opened with a 68.

PRO BASKETBALL

The Los Angeles Lakers traded the rights to Marc Gasol back to the Memphis Grizzlies, where the 36-year-old center spent his first 11 NBA seasons.

The Lakers also sent a secondroun­d pick in 2024 and cash to Memphis in exchange for the draft rights to Chinese big man Wang Zhelin.

ESPN then reported the Grizzlies intend to waive Gasol, who plans to begin the new NBA season at home in Spain. The move saves the Lakers about $10 million against the salary cap and the league’s luxury tax.

Gasol averaged a career-low 5.0 points and 4.1 rebounds last season with the Lakers. . . .

The Toronto Raptors got approval from the Canadian government to play games at their home arena this season, a team spokesman said.

Toronto played last season in Tampa because of travel restrictio­ns related to the coronaviru­s pandemic. It is not clear whether the team will be allowed to have full attendance at Scotiabank Arena. Fans will be required to show proof of vaccinatio­n.

AUTO RACING

Valtteri Bottas edged out Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton and championsh­ip leader Max Verstappen at the Temple of Speed in the return of sprint qualifying for Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix in Monza.

Bottas’s final lap saw him beat Hamilton by 0.096 seconds in a qualifying session that set the grid for Formula One’s secondever sprint, which will determine the starting lineup for the main race.

Red Bull driver Verstappen was 0.411 behind the Finn.

Bottas, who is leaving Mercedes at the end of the season for Alfa Romeo, will start at the back of the grid Sunday as he is going to take a new power unit and will receive a penalty for doing so.

Rather than the standard format of two practices Friday and a third practice and qualifying Saturday, there was one practice Friday followed by the qualifying session that determined the grid for Saturday’s sprint. There is a second practice Saturday, too.

The sprints will be over

100 kilometers (62 miles), and the top three finishers also will receive points toward the championsh­ip. First place will receive three points, second place two points, and third place one point.

COLLEGES

Officials at Virginia Tech apologized for problems at the school’s opening football game last week in Blacksburg, Va., including long lines to get into the stadium and students sitting in the wrong seats.

Fans endured long lines to get into Lane Stadium for the game against North Carolina last Friday, the Roanoke Times reported. It was the first time Virginia Tech required electronic tickets instead of paper tickets, and because the stadium’s wireless signal wasn’t strong, some people had difficulty accessing their tickets on their phones.

When some fans finally got inside, they found students sitting in seats reserved for general admission. People visiting concession stands discovered Virginia Tech had switched to cashless purchases, but staffing problems contribute­d to long waits. . . .

Georgia Tech signed basketball coaches Josh Pastner and Nell Fortner to contract extensions.

Pastner, 82-76 at Georgia Tech, received a three-year extension through the 2025-26 season after leading the Yellow Jackets to their first ACC men’s championsh­ip since 1993.

Fortner — 37-20 over two seasons — received an additional two years on her contract to coach the Yellow Jackets women through the 2026-27 season.

HORSE RACING

The New York Racing Associatio­n charged Bob Baffert with detrimenta­l conduct and scheduled a hearing for the twotime Triple Crown-winning trainer to respond to those allegation­s.

NYRA announced the beginning of the hearing process, adding the organizati­on believes Baffert’s conduct warrants suspension or revocation of his right to train horses or enter races at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course.

Baffert was suspended by the NYRA in May for Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit failing a postrace drug test, and he sued to get the suspension lifted. A New York federal judge nullified the suspension in July on the grounds that NYRA acted unconstitu­tionally by failing to let him adequately respond.

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