Thursday’s Sports In Brief
The Open returned to Royal Portrush after a 68-year absence and made up for lost time with an unusual amount of theater. When more than 15 hours of golf before a robust, sellout crowd finally ended, J.B. Holmes was atop the leaderboard at a major for the first time in 11 years.
Holmes finished at 5-under 66 for a one-shot lead over Shane Lowry of Ireland.
McIlroy, the betting favorite who as a 16-year-old stunned Irish golf with a 61 to set the course record at Royal Portrush, had a 79. Woods shot a 78, matching his third-worst score in a major.
The large group at 68 included Koepka, who has won three of the last six majors and looked very much capable of adding the third leg of the Grand Slam.
Stephanie Meadowand Giulia Molinaro had a 61, and Frenchwomen Celine Boutier and Karine Icher shot 62 to match Pressel and Creamer at 10-under 130 at Midland Country Club. The teams will play alternate shot Friday and close Saturday with a best-ball round.
Canadians Brooke Henderson and Alena Sharp, the first-round leaders after a 65 in alternate-shot play, had a 66 to fall a stroke back with Kim Kaufman–Kris Tamulis (62), Tiffany Chan–Peiyun Chien (62), Pajaree Anannarukarn–Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras (63), Mirim Lee–Amy Yang (64) and Cydney Clanton-Jasmine Suwannapura (64).
The French duo of Celine Herbin and Joanna Klatten had a 60, the best round of the day, to get to 7 under. Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson were 5 under after a 64. Sisters Jessica and Nelly Korda (67) and Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn (65) also were 5 under.
NEW YORK (AP) — Yankees manager Aaron Boone got fired up at rookie umpire Brennan Miller in a profane second-inning rant, and New York awoke from a sleepy start to rally past the Tampa Bay Rays 6-2 in the opener of a doubleheader sweep.
New York rallied to win the second game 5-1 and reopen an eight-game AL East lead over the second-place Rays. Luke Voit tied the score in the fifth with his first home run since June 14, and catcher Mike Zunino caused Charlie Morton to balk home the tiebreaking run in a four-run sixth that included Didi Gregorius’ two-run single. The Yankees won three straight after wasting a ninth-inning lead in the series opener and improved to 34-11 against the AL East, including 12-5 against Tampa Bay.
After Domingo Germán gave up homers to the first two batters of the doubleheader, Gio Urshela hit a tying home run in the second off Yonny Chirinos. And then Boone indelibly imprinted his temper on the Yankees season with his tirade on a pair of called strikes.
Boone was tossed for the third time this season and the seventh time in two years as a big league manager.
ATLANTA (AP) — Stephen Strasburg had a three-run homer among his three hits and set a franchise-record for a pitcher with five RBIs, as the surging Washington Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves 13-4.
Washington had four extra-base hits, including Strasburg’s homer, in an eight-run third inning. Victor Robles had a two-run double, Adam Eaton tripled in a run and Anthony Rendon had a run-scoring double in the big inning.
The Nationals, who have won 14 of their last 18 games, cut Atlanta’s lead to 5 1/2 games in the NL East by winning the opener of a four-game series.
Strasburg improved to 3-0 against Atlanta this season by winning his fifth straight start. He lasted only 5 1/3 innings, allowing eight hits and three runs. His effort on the mound was overshadowed by his career highs in hits and RBIs.
Strasburg is the first Nationals pitcher to drive in five runs in a game. He is also the first Nationals pitcher to have two hits in one inning.
SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle’s NHL expansion team has announced its general manager — Ron Francis, a Hall of Famer and a two-time Stanley Cup winner.
He will have complete control of operations under Seattle Hockey Partners CEO Tod Leiweke. The yet-to-be-named team will debut in 2021.
This is Francis’ first post-playing career job outside the Carolina Hurricanes. He worked with them for 12 years and was general manager from 2014-18 after retiring. The Hurricanes didn’t make the playoffs while he was there, but he set in motion many player decisions that helped Carolina reach the Stanley Cup finals last season.
Francis had a prolific NHL career. He finished with 1,798 points in 1,731 games over 23 seasons for the Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs and Pittsburgh Penguins, where he won the Stanley Cup in 1991 and 1992.
LAS VEGAS (AP) — UNLV offensive coordinator Barney Cotton is awaiting a heart transplant and will not coach on the field this season.
Rebels coach Tony Sanchez said in a news release from the school that the 62-year-old Cotton is in Omaha, Nebraska, and on a waiting list to receive a heart. Cotton is an Omaha native and former University of Nebraska player and assistant coach. He served as interim head coach for the Cornhuskers in 2014 after Bo Pelini was fired at the end of the regular season.
Cotton joined Sanchez’s staff in 2015 as tight ends coach and offensive coordinator.
DEL MAR, Calif. (AP) — Two horses were killed in a freak collision at Del Mar during training on the second day of its season.
The accident occurred Thursday morning when Charge A Bunch, trained by Carla Gaines, threw rider Geovanni Franco, turned sharply and collided with Carson Valley, who was trained by Bob Baffert.
Carson Valley’s rider, jockey Assael Espinoza, was taken to a hospital for evaluation, and Franco was not injured. Franco rode as scheduled in the day’s first race.
Baffert said it was a freak accident beyond anyone’s control and that both horses were killed on impact.
The Del Mar deaths follow 30 horse fatalities at the recently completed Santa Anita meet. Those deaths led to an array of new procedures intended to increase safety.