Furyk aims for Ryder Cup
The US’ Jim Furyk laid down a timely marker for Ryder Cup selection by charging into a two-shot lead in Thursday’s opening round at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio. A veteran of the last seven Ryder Cups, Furyk lies 15th in the US standings and only the top eight will automatically qualify for this year’s edition against Europe, to be played at Medinah Country Club outside Chicago from Sept. 28. US captain Davis Love III is to announce his four wildcard picks to round out the 12-man team early next month. “I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t on my mind and it hadn’t crossed my mind,” Furyk said after firing a superb seven-under-par 63 at Firestone Country Club. “I know exactly where I stand. And I’ve played on the last seven teams. Eventually in my career I’m going to miss playing on those teams, and I’m hoping it’s not this year.” Furyk has just two tournaments left to gain an automatic spot on the US team — this week’s elite World Golf Championships event at Firestone and next week’s PGA Championship at Kiawah Island in South Carolina. Should he fail in that bid, he will then have three more PGA Tour events in which to advance his claims as a captain’s pick by Love.
Romero leads in Nevada
Argentina’s Andres Romero shot seven birdies in a bogey-free round of 65 for a one-point lead after the first round of the Reno-Tahoe Open at the Montreux Golf and Country Club in Nevada on Thursday. The tournament has altered the scoring for this year’s competition, making it the only event on the PGA Tour to use the modified Stableford points system. The system gives two points for a birdie, nothing for par and a minus-point for a bogey, with greater punishments and rewards for good shots, such as five for an eagle and minus-three for a double-bogey or worse. While Romero made the early pace on 14 points, South Korea’s Noh Seung-yul was a point further back after his round included seven birdies and a bogey. A trio of Americans were three points off the lead, with Josh Teater, Ricky Barnes and John Mallinger on 11 points.
Petrov in remission
Aston Villa skipper Stiliyan Petrov is in remission and winning his fight to overcome acute leukemia, the English Premier League club announced on Thursday. “It is with great delight that the club can confirm on behalf of our long-standing captain, Stiliyan Petrov, that Stan’s acute leukemia is in remission,” Villa said in a statement. “Stan’s fight is not over. There will be further battles to overcome in the days, weeks and months ahead. But he would like to share with you this tremendous news now.” The 33-year-old Bulgaria international midfielder has been undergoing regular treatment at a London hospital since the illness was diagnosed four months ago.
Gunners sign Cazorla
Arsenal have completed the signing of Spanish international Santiago Cazorla from Spanish side Malaga, the player said on his Twitter account on Thursday. “I can say I am a new Arsenal player,” the 27-year-old midfielder said. Cazorla, who has won 47 caps, but missed the World Cup triumph in 2010 following a hernia, starred last season as Malaga reached the Champions League, while former side Villarreal were relegated. He was on the Spain squad which lifted the Euro cup a month ago and also featured in the 2008 success in the same event.