Phil Mickelson stayed on pace to win back-to-back tournaments for the first time in his career Friday, shooting a 3-under-par 68 to take a one-shot lead in the FBR Open. \nMickelson had three birdies and an eagle before bogeying the last two holes. \nHis 36-hole score of 10-under 132 was just beyond the reach of Jonathan Kaye, Jeff Sluman and first-round leader Scott Verplank. \n"It could have been a really good day, but it's close enough to where a good round tomorrow will give me a chance," said Mickelson, who was winless in 2003 and wound up a career-low 38th on the money list after three years of finishing second. \nThe left-hander also led with two rounds to go at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, which he won Sunday for his 22nd title, and has been in the 60s all seven rounds this year. \n"I feel very comfortable with the way I'm playing, which I haven't had in a long time," Mickelson said. \nVerplank started one shot ahead of Mickelson and was up by that margin after 16 holes before also finishing with consecutive bogeys. That threw him back with Sluman, who carded a 67, and Kaye, who shot 68. \nMasters champion Mike Weir finished the first round Friday morning with a par-saving, 11-foot putt for 65. Then he played the second in 69 to stay within two shots of the lead. He was joined at 134 by Ricky Barnes (67). \nSeventy players made the cut at 142 -- a sign the course was toughened by lengthening some holes. Last year's cut was at 4-under. \nThree-time Phoenix winner Mark Calcavecchia and Paul Azinger, the 1987 champion, shot 66s and easily got in the final field as part of an eight-golfer group at 137. \nDefending champion Vijay Singh, a two-time winner, carded a 69 for 140 -- in the money by two strokes, and in position to try to extend his run of 10 consecutive top-10 finishes. \nChris DiMarco (2002), Jesper Parnevik (1998) and Lee Janzen (1993) were other Phoenix winners who got in, but Rocco Mediate, the 1999 champ, was out after back-to-back 72s. Jose Maria Olazabal, a two-time Masters champion, was 1-under through seven holes in the second round before withdrawing because of a rib injury. \nMickelson birdied the fifth hole with a short putt, and the eighth with a 45-footer from the fringe. \nBut the former Arizona State athlete drew the biggest roar from the gallery with a drive of more than 360 yards on the par-5 13th, followed by a 5-iron shot that stopped within 3 feet of the cup. \nMickelson holed the eagle putt, dropping to 11-under. \nTwo holes later, he birdied No. 15, a par-5 lengthened by 57 yards last year as part of a PGA effort to toughen the course, for the second straight day. This time, he laid up short of the water encircling the green and dropped a deft wedge within 2m.
The NBA said was re-evaluating its training program in China following allegations of abuse of young players by local staff and harassment of foreign staffers at a facility in Xinjiang. The comments come after a report by ESPN that quoted unnamed American coaches as saying that Chinese coaches hit young players. One American coach who worked at a camp in Xinjiang complained of harassment by local police, the sports network said. “The allegations in the ESPN article are disturbing,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said in an e-mail statement on Thursday. “We ended our involvement with the basketball academy in Xinjiang in June
Coming from the business world, New York Liberty owner Joe Tsai (蔡崇信) did not understand why his WNBA franchise did not have a chief executive officer similar to the team’s NBA counterpart the Brooklyn Nets, which Tsai also owns. For Tsai, it was about equality, so he did something about it. The 56-year-old Taipei-born billionaire businessman and philanthropist promoted Keia Clarke to the position last week — making her the first chief executive officer in the team’s history. The WNBA veteran became the third black woman to currently be in charge of a franchise in the league, joining Los Angeles Sparks president
LEAVING IT LATE: Rakuten added late runs last night to add to wins on Wednesday against the Brothers and the Lions on Friday that went down to the last batter The Rakuten Monkeys rallied to post three late runs for another close win, prevailing 5-3 over the Uni-President Lions yesterday as Taiwan’s second-half CPBL season got started with lower scoring output, but exciting finishes. It was Rakuten’s third win in a row. In two games this week, they seized victory in dramatic fashion with their last at-bat and have drawn level with the CTBC Brothers on top of the table after yesterday’s results, 0.5 games in front of the Fubon Guardians and 1.5 games ahead of the Lions. It was tied at 1-1 early, with Rakuten hosting the Lions at the Taoyuan Intenational
MONEY MATTERS: While COVID-19 played a major role in the decision, the CTBA also found it hard to secure sponsorship, and ticket sales would have been affected The Yonex Taipei Open badminton tournament has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a funding shortfall, the CTBA said yesterday. This was the first time that the tournament, a Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour Super 300-level competition, has been canceled since it began in 1980. The Taipei Open has been held annually since 1980. The tournament was to be played at the Taipei Arena from Sept. 1 to Sept. 6, with total prize money of US$500,000. The CTBA said that it was deeply concerned about whether the Taipei Open would proceed as scheduled after the BWF announced changes