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Mediate Leads Woods by Two

From Staff and Wire Reports

Rocco Mediate got ahead of everyone in the Phoenix Open on Friday, including the setting sun.

Mediate was one of 80 competitors who finished the second round at Scottsdale, Ariz., before play was suspended for a second consecutive day. He putted out in near darkness for a par that gave him a four-under-par 67.

The effort gave Mediate a six-under 136 total and a two-stroke lead over Tiger Woods.

Woods, trying to end a 12-tournament victory drought, had the spotlight to himself earlier when he shot 67 of his own.

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Jim Furyk and Franklin Langham were five shots back at 141, with defending champion Jesper Parnevik, Kenny Perry and Stuart Appleby at 142.

Fifty-one golfers failed to finish the second round, played before an estimated 89,250 spectators. The players must finish today before those who make the cut can begin the third round.

David Duval, at 145, is expected to make the cut, but it will take more of his January magic to get back into contention with Woods, the only player ranked above him in the world.

Woods, 23, said he doesn’t mind the rivalry with Duval, who has won nine of his last 28 tournaments, including his first two this year.

“I’m just going out there to try to win a tournament,” Woods said. “I’m playing hard and seeing what happens. He’s going to do exactly the same thing.

“I know he and I don’t really make it our life to be No. 1 in the world.”

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Karrie Webb took a two-stroke penalty on the 17th hole and fell into a three-way tie for the lead after the third round of the LPGA Office Depot tournament at West Palm Beach, Fla.

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Webb shared the lead for the first two rounds and looked headed for sole possession of the top spot after 16 holes Friday. Then she accidentally leaned on her club in the hazard off the 17th fairway and incurred the two-stroke penalty.

She finished with a 72 and in a tie with Dottie Pepper and Juli Inkster at 208.

“I just wasn’t thinking,” Webb said. “There’s no excuse. . . . It was a mental error. At least it didn’t cost me the tournament.”

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Ernie Els of South Africa opened a four-stroke lead in the Heineken Classic in Perth, Australia, by shooting a six-under 66 in the second round for a 131 total.

Baseball

Jimmy Key, a left-hander who won 186 games in 15 seasons, announced his retirement.

Key, 37, began his career in 1984 with Toronto and played nine seasons with the Blue Jays. He spent four years with the New York Yankees, winning the World Series clincher against Atlanta in 1996, then joined the Baltimore Orioles in 1997.

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Key, who finished with a 186-117 record and a 3.51 earned-run average, was bothered the past few seasons by a shoulder injury.

Seattle’s new Safeco Field, scheduled to open July 15, will be the site of the 2001 All-Star game.

The owners of the Mariners had their best financial results since they bought the franchise in 1992, but the team still lost $2 million.

The Mariners say they lost $16.9 million in 1993, $15 million in 1994, $20.2 million in 1995, $13.2 million in 1996 and $4 million in 1997.

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The news came on the same day Ken Griffey Jr. issued an ultimatum.

“In a nutshell, this is the most important year for the Mariners,” Griffey, whose contract expires after the 2000 season, told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

“This will decide whether I stay or go. I don’t know how they’re going to do anything to improve the ballclub. All I know is they have a new ballpark and we need to put people in those seats.

Infielder Lee Stevens avoided salary arbitration with the Texas Rangers, agreeing to a $2-million, one-year contract. . . . The Oakland Athletics signed free-agent pitcher Jeff D’Amico to a one-year contract. Financial terms were not disclosed.

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Miscellany

Ice dancing’s world champions, Angelika Krylova and Oleg Ovsiannikov of Russia, won their first European figure skating title at Prague, Czech Republic. In women’s competition, Maria Butyrskaya leads fellow Russians Viktoria Volchkova and Julia Soldatova after the short program.

A Maryland prosecutor recommended former boxing champion Mike Tyson serve jail time on charges of second-degree assault in connection with an August traffic accident at Washington. Sentencing is set for Feb. 5.

The Jefferson Parish district attorney’s office dropped charges against New Orleans Saint offensive lineman Keno Hills, who was arrested in December at Gretna, La., for possession of heroin.

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Craig Dennis had 10 kills to lead the 11th-ranked USC men’s volleyball team to a 15-1, 15-4, 15-10 nonconference victory over UC Santa Cruz.

The controversial hearing into distance runner Mary Slaney’s drug case began at Monte Carlo with the International Amateur Athletic Federation presenting evidence that it said shows she took performance-enhancing testosterone.

Dan O’Brien, the Olympic gold medalist and world-record holder in the decathlon, has entered the Los Angeles Invitational track and field meet Feb. 13 at the Sports Arena.


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