Thursday’s Sports in Brief
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Rory McIlroy showed no sign of letting up. Lee Westwood might just be getting started. Momentum was a big theme Thursday in PGA Championship, and it even applied to Tiger Woods.
Except that Woods kept going the wrong direction.
Westwood followed up a season-best 63 four days ago at Firestone by matching his best score in a major championship. He made nine birdies at Valhalla for a 6-under 65, giving him a share of the first-round lead with Ryan Palmer and Kevin Chappell.
One shot behind was McIlroy, the No. 1 player and favorite in the final major of the year. McIlroy, coming off back-to-back wins at the British Open and a World Golf Championship, overcame a wild double bogey on the par-5 10th hole by running off four straight birdies. His eagle attempt on the 18th hole narrowly missed. He settled for a 66, a solid start in his bid to become the seventh player to win the last two majors of the year.
Woods achieved that feat twice, including at Valhalla in 2000.
On a day when nearly half the field shot par or better, Woods opened with a 3-over 74. He hit two tee shots that missed the fairway by some 30 yards, hooked a 3-wood into a creek and hit a spectator with his tee shot on a par 3. His two best putts were for par and bogey.
MEIJER LPGA CLASSIC
BELMONT, Mich. (AP) – Sandra Gal made six straight birdies on her back nine to take the first-round lead in the Meijer LPGA Classic, and Michelle Wie withdrew because of a wrist injury.
Gal, the 29-year-old German who won her lone LPGA Tour title in 2011, birdied Nos. 3-8 and finished with a par on No. 9 for a 6-under 65 at Blythefield Country Club.
Wie was 5 over after nine holes when she pulled out. She fought injuries to both wrists in 2007.
South Korea’s Inbee Park was a stroke behind Gal.
Australia’s Katherine Kirk opened with a 67, and Azahara Munoz was another stroke back along with IIhee Lee, Katy Harris, Gerina Piller, Amy Young and Line Vedel.
U.S. WOMEN’S AMATEUR
GLEN COVE, N.Y. (AP) – Canadian teen Brooke Mackenzie Henderson advanced to the U.S. Women’s Amateur quarterfinals, winning two matches at Nassau Country Club.
The 16-year-old Henderson, the low amateur in the U.S. Women’s Open, beat Ember Schuldt of Sterling, Illinois 4 and 3 in the morning, and topped Dylan Kim of Plano, Texas, 3 and 2 in the third round.
Henderson will face Alison Lee of Valencia, California, on Friday. Lee edged Eimi Koga of Honolulu in 20 holes in the third round.
In the other upper-bracket quarterfinal, Hannah O’Sullivan of Paradise Valley, Arizona, will play Grace Na of Alameda, California. In the third round, O’Sullivan edged Canada’s Augusta James in 20 holes, and Na beat Lauren Kim of Los Altos, California, 2 up.
In the lower bracket, Australia’s Su-Hyun Oh will play Kristen Gillman of Austin, Texas; and Andrea Lee of Hermosa Beach, California, will face South Korea’s 14-year-old Eunjeong Seong.
IRVINE, Calif. (AP) – Katie Ledecky beat defending champion Missy Franklin to win the 200-meter freestyle in a showdown of teen swimming queens Thursday night at the U.S. national championships. Franklin returned 75 minutes later to win the 200 backstroke.
Ledecky led the last 150 meters of the 200 free and touched in a career-best 1 minute, 55.16 seconds – second-fastest in the world this year. She won the 800 free on opening night, and owns world records in the 800 and 1,500 freestyles.
Franklin was second in 1:56.40, and Leah Smith finished third in 1:57.57.
Michael Phelps had the night off after finishing next-to-last in the 100 free Wednesday. He returns Friday in the 100 butterfly, perhaps his best chance to qualify for the U.S. team at the Pan Pacific Championships.
Olympic champion Tyler Clary came from behind to win the 200 backstroke in 1:54.73 – third-fastest in the world. Ryan Murphy was second in 1:55.99. Ryan Lochte, the two-time defending champion, settled for third in 1:56.47 after leading through the first 150 meters.
TORONTO (AP) – Top-ranked Novak Djokovic was upset by 13th-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Thursday in the Rogers Cup, falling 6-2, 6-2 in only 63 minutes in the third round.
Djokovic came in with 11 straight wins over Tsonga but was nowhere near adding a 12th.
Second-seeded Roger Federer avoided an upset, beating Marin Cilic 7-6 (5), 6-7 (3), 6-4 in the final match of the night.
Tsonga will play eighth-seeded Andy Murray in the quarterfinals. Murray advanced when third-round opponent Richard Gasquet withdrew because of an abdominal strain.
Djokovic’s loss was the second big upset of the day. Third-seeded Stan Wawrinka lost 7-6 (8), 7-5 to Kevin Anderson.
Anderson will play seventh-seeded Grigor Dimitrov, a 7-5, 5-7, 6-4 winner over Tommy Robredo.
Fifth-seeded David Ferrer also was pushed to three sets in a 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Ivan Dodig. Ferrer will face Federer.
Canada’s Milos Raonic also advanced, beating Julien Benneteau of France 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.
MONTREAL (AP) – Serena Williams advanced to the Rogers Cup quarterfinals Thursday, waiting out a brief rain delay to beat Czech left-hander Lucie Safarova 7-5, 6-4.
Williams has won the Rogers Cup three times when it is held on alternate years in Toronto, including last year, but she hadn’t played in Montreal since she retired from the final with an injury in 2000.
In the quarterfinals Friday, Williams will play Caroline Wozniacki, a 6-1, 6-0 winner over American qualifier Shelby Rogers. The 11th-seeded Wozniacki has dropped only six games in three matches this week.
Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro upset fourth-seeded Maria Sharapova 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 in a match delayed twice by rain, and Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova topped second-seeded Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 6-4, 1-6, 6-2.
The 25-year-old Suarez Navarro will face Venus Williams in the quarterfinals. Williams beat Angelique Kerber 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.
Makarova will play qualifier Coco Vandeweghe, a 7-6 (8), 2-6, 7-5 winner over seventh-seeded Jelena Jankovic.
Third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska will face eighth-seeded Victoria Azarenka in the other quarterfinal. Radwanska beat Sabine Lisicki 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in the late match, and Azarenka topped Heather Watson 6-2, 6-4.