Kuchar grabs one-shot lead
Matt Kuchar fired a bogey-free seven-under 64 on Thursday to seize a one-stroke lead over Spain’s Sergio Garcia in the first round of the USPGA Tour Northern Trust Open. Kuchar’s seven birdies on Los Angeles’ par-71 Riviera Country Club layout included three to open his round. Garcia, runner-up at the European Tour’s Qatar Masters last month, teed off on 10 and also opened with three birdies. His lone bogey of the day came at the 13th, but he picked up four more birdies on his inward run — capping his 65 with a birdie at the ninth as fog from the Pacific Ocean drifted across the course that had been bathed in sunshine all day. Journeyman Brandt Jobe — playing in the first group off the first tee — had set an early target with a five-under 66 that left him in third when darkness halted play with 18 players yet to complete their rounds.
Van Zyl leads by two shots
Jaco van Zyl of South Africa shot a six-under 66 to hold a two-stroke clubhouse lead at the Africa Open in East London, South Africa, on Thursday, before the wind-affected first round was suspended because of darkness. Van Zyl was among the 84 players from the 156-man field to complete the round, with strong winds causing a delay of nearly three hours midway through the day. Adilson da Silva of Brazil joined Van Zyl on six-under by rolling in a birdie putt on nine just as the siren sounded to end the day’s play at 6:55pm. John Parry of England shot a 68 to be Van Zyl’s nearest challenger in the clubhouse.
Maradona a father again
Diego Maradona is a father again after his long-time partner Veronica Ojeda gave birth to a boy, who has been named Diego Fernando Maradona Ojeda. Jorge Auruccio, Ojeda’s lawyer, said the baby weighed 3.2kg and was born on Wednesday at 11:57pm in a Buenos Aires hospital. He said the mother and child were in “perfect” shape. The 52-year-old Maradona has two daughters from his marriage with Claudia Vallafane — Dalma and Giannina. The Argentine great has two other children he has never recognized as his, although courts in paternity cases have ruled he is the father.
Froome leads in Oman
Tour de France runner-up Christopher Froome took the overall lead in the Tour of Oman after finishing second in the fourth stage on Thursday. Froome, a Sky Pro Cycling rider who was 13th overall after the third day, finished four seconds behind stage winner Oliver Joaquim Rodriguez of Katusha, who won the 143.5km ride from Samail to Jabal Al Akhdhar. Two Tour de France winners followed; Cadel Evans of BMC finished 22 seconds back in third, while Alberto Contador of Saxo-Tinkoff came in 27 seconds back in fourth. With two stages remaining, Froome led Evans by 24 seconds for the overall lead, with Contador a further second back.
French agency snubs UCI
The French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) will not carry out tests on the Paris-Nice stage race this year, citing a disagreement with the International Cycling Union. “Given the serious mistakes that were made before ... the AFLD has considered ... that it could not lend its support to the international federation in carrying out tests on the Paris-Nice race,” the AFLD said in a statement on Thursday, without elaborating.