BC-AP Sports Preview Digest

Some of the sports stories The Associated Press is covering Saturday. A full Sports Digest will be sent at about 3 p.m. EDT:

– HOYLAKE, England – His once-comfortable lead gone, Rory McIlroy could have flinched. Instead, he blew everyone away. With a stunning display down the stretch, including a pair of eagles, McIlroy put a stranglehold on his third major championship by shooting a 4-under 68, sending him to the final round of the British Open with a daunting six-shot edge.

– RISOUL, France – Rafal Majka of Poland wins the 14th stage of the Tour de France – a second day of punishing Alpine climbs that took the peloton over the highest point on the race. Vincenzo Nibali retained the overall lead, and again gained time by finishing second. The 177-kilometer (110-mile) roller-coaster covered two infamous climbs, including the 2,360-meter (7,742-foot) Izoard pass, and a finish up to the Risoul ski station.

– BOULDER, Colo. – The five Haitian runners recently spent a few days in Boulder to work out with two-time U.S. Olympic distance runner Alan Culpepper. Sponsored by the relief organization of actor Sean Penn – you know, Jeff Spicoli, Harvey Milk – the runners are training for the New York City Marathon in November. Only fitting that Penn is involved in the project since the Haitian’s story is playing out almost like a movie

– JOILET, Ill. – Regan Smith leads the Nationwide Series standings heading into the first of two stops this year at Chicagoland Speedway. Kasey Kahne and Kyle Larson also are expected to be in the field for the night race.

– PHOENIX – Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner of the host Phoenix Mercury lead the West and the East’s Tamika Catchings makes her ninth All-Star start in the WNBA’s mid-season showcase

– TORONTO – Sebastien Bourdais wins his first open-wheel pole since 2007, taking the top spot for the first IndyCar Series race of a doubleheader weekend at Toronto.

– SEATTLE – Former Tottenham striker Clint Dempsey leads his Seattle Sounders against the Premier League club in an exhibition.

– NEWTON, Kan. – The final U.S. Amateur Public Links champion will be crowned at Sand Creek Station Golf Course – and with the title, a spot in the Masters next year.