Weekend Sports In Brief
The surprises start at the top of the NCAA tournament bracket: Virginia is a No. 1 seed.
Oh, some things went to form. Florida earned the top overall seed as expected and will be joined on the `1′ line by Wichita State and Arizona. But there were head-scratchers nearly everywhere else.
Last year’s national champion, Louisville, was seeded fourth in the Midwest despite playing well enough to be considered a No. 1 by many. And speaking of the Midwest – Wichita State and Michigan are there as well, making it three of last year’s Final Four participants all vying for one spot this year.
SMU, the team led on a renaissance by coaching lifer Larry Brown – nowhere to be found. And Michigan State, the team that geared things up in time to win the Big Ten tournament, is only a No. 4 seed.
PALM HARBOR, Fla. (AP) John Senden ended more than seven years without a victory by making two late birdies, including a chip-in from 70 feet on the toughest hole at Innisbrook, for a one-shot victory on a wild and windy day at the Valspar Championship.
Senden, two shots behind going into the final round, closed with a 1-under 70 for his first PGA Tour win since the 2006 John Deere Classic. The timing couldn’t have been better. The victory sends the 42-year-old Australian to the Masters next month. Senden finished at 7-under 277.
Kevin Na had a long birdie putt on the final hole that would have forced a playoff, but it never came close. He closed with a 72.
The tournament was up for grabs over the final two hours, with nine players separated by three shots at one point, and Senden part of a three-way tie for the lead heading into the treacherous, three-hole closing stretch at Innisbrook known as the ”Snake Pit.”
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) – Fred Couples won the Toshiba Classic for his 10th Champions Tour title, birdieing the final two holes for a one-stroke victory.
The 54-year-old Couples shot a 5-under 66 to finish at 15-under 198 at Newport Beach Country Club. Also the 2010 winner, he made a 4-foot birdie putt on the par-3 17th and holed another 4-footer on the par-5 18th.
Colin Montgomerie, Bernhard Langer and Steve Pate tied for second. Langer had a chance to force a playoff, but missed a 20-foot birdie try on 18 and settled for a 70.
Montgomerie had a 62, the best round of the week, and Pate shot a 66.
SAO PAULO (AP) – Jon Curran completed a wire-to-wire victory in the Web.com Tour’s Brazil Champions, closing with a 2-under 69 to beat Alex Cejka by four strokes.
Curran finished at 25-under 259 at Sao Paulo Golf Club and earned $144,000 for his first Web.com Tour title in only his fourth start. The 27-year-old former Vanderbilt player opened with a course-record 61 and added rounds of 64 and 65.
Cejka, the winner of the season-opening Colombia Championship last month, also shot a 69. He earned $86,400 to push his total to $221,400, more than enough to wrap a spot next season on the PGA Tour.
AGADIR, Morocco (AP) – English teenager Charley Hull won the Ladies European Tour’s Lalla Meryem Cup for her first professional victory, beating France’s Gwladys Nocera with a birdie on the first extra hole.
The 17-year-old Hull closed with a 9-under 62 at l’Ocean to match Nocera at 15-under 269. Nocera had a three-putt bogey on the final hole of regulation for a 67.
BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) – Carl Edwards claimed a rain-soaked win at Bristol Motor Speedway, where weather wreaked havoc on yet another Sprint Cup race.
The rain caused two delays lasting more than five hours – one that delayed the start by almost two hours, and another that stopped the race for 3 hours, 18 minutes.
The threat of more bad weather bringing a sudden halt to the race forced the drivers to go hard every single lap.
When a caution with 77 laps remaining sent most of the field to pit road, Edwards’ crew chief, Jimmy Fennig, decided to leave his driver on the track. The move gave Edwards the lead on the restart with 70 laps remaining.
He had victory in sight when the yellow caution lights came on with two laps remaining. No one was sure what the caution was for, then the sky suddenly opened and NASCAR had no choice but to declare the race over.
DENVER (AP) – The Denver Broncos gave Peyton Manning another receiving option, agreeing to a three-year contract with former Pittsburgh wideout Emmanuel Sanders.
Sanders, a third-round draft pick in 2010, had 161 catches for 2,030 yards and 11 touchdowns in four seasons with the Steelers. He started 10 games for Pittsburgh last season.
The Broncos lost Eric Decker to free agency and are looking for someone to compete with Andre Caldwell, the backup receiver who they re-signed to a two-year deal. Wes Welker and Demaryius Thomas are Denver’s two top threats at receiver.
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) – Novak Djokovic came into Indian Wells for the first time in four years without a title.
He left with a $1 million check and his first trophy of the year, beating Roger Federer 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3) to win the BNP Paribas Open for the third time.
Federer rallied from a break down and a 5-3 deficit in the third set to force the tiebreaker, but he made a slew of mistakes to lose the 33rd meeting between the rivals.
Federer still leads the series 17-16, having beaten Djokovic in three sets in the semifinals at Dubai two weeks ago. Djokovic will remain No. 2 in the world, while Federer will rise three spots to No. 5 in the new ATP Tour rankings.
Flavia Pennetta routed injured Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2, 6-1 to win the women’s title, the biggest of her career.