Two Others Share Lead, but Inkster Is Lurking

From Staff and Wire Reports

Juli Inkster wasted no time putting herself into position to win her third consecutive major championship, cruising through the first round of the du Maurier Classic with a four-under-par 68 on Thursday that left her one stroke out of the lead at Priddis, Canada.

Patti Rizzo, winless the past 10 years, made seven birdies in her round of 67 and was tied for the lead with Rosie Jones, who birdied three of the last four holes.

Even Jones, one of the scrappiest competitors on the LPGA Tour, couldn't help but talk about Inkster's run at history.

"Too bad she didn't play good in the Dinah [Shore]. She could have just wrapped up the majors this year," Jones said with a laugh. "This is a perfect golf course for her. She doesn't necessarily have to hit it perfect, but she can play a golf course like this so well."

Catriona Matthew of Scotland made two birdies and an eagle in her round of 68 and Gail Graham was another stroke behind.


The drought in the Northeast didn't put a damper on scoring in the Greater Hartford Open as Kevin Sutherland, Mike Springer, Tom Scherrer and Skip Kendall shot 63s to share the first-round lead at Cromwell, Conn.

The four took advantage of a windless day and a well-watered TPC at River Highlands course to come within one stroke of the course record. It was the lowest first-round score since the 6,820-yard course was redesigned in 1991.

A group of seven that included 1997 champ Stewart Cink and Justin Leonard was at 64 and David Duval, the PGA Tour's earnings leader, was in a group of 27 players who shot 68.


Top-seeded Carlos Moya of Spain advanced to the quarterfinals of the Croatia Open by defeating Ville Liukko of Finland, 6-4, 6-4, at Umag, Croatia. Second-seeded Felix Mantilla of Spain was upset by countryman Albert Portas, 6-4, 6-4. . . . Fernando Meligeni of Brazil upset ninth-seeded Andrei Medvedev of Russia, 6-1, 6-3, in the third round of the Generali Open at Kitzbuehel, Austria. Top-seeded Yevgeny Kafelnikov of Russia advanced to the quarterfinals by defeating 16th-seeded Alberto Martin of Spain, 1-6, 6-4, 6-4. . . . Sixth-seeded Anna Kournikova of Russia moved into the quarterfinals of the Bank of the West Classic, defeating Mary Joe Fernandez, 6-4, 6-4, at Palo Alto.


Kickoff for USC's football opener Sept. 4 against Hawaii at Honolulu has been moved from 9 p.m. PDT to 9:30 to accommodate Fox Sports West 2, which will televise the game in Southern California.

Investigators in Forest Hill, Texas, said they have been unable to build a case against former Texas Christian basketball star Lee Nailon to support charges that marijuana found in a motel room belonged to the Charlotte Hornet draft pick or two men arrested with him, including TCU running back Ladainian Tomlinson.

The World Cup-winning U.S. women's soccer team has struck a deal that will allow it to go on an indoor tour while keeping an outdoor tour commitment with the U.S. Soccer Federation, officials said. The U.S. Soccer Federation had sought to block the team from going on an indoor tour, which was arranged through an independent sports marketing company and includes a Dec. 9 stop at the Arrowhead Pond.

The Mighty Ducks signed forwards Antti Aalto, Mike Leclerc and Jeremy Stevenson to one-year contracts. Aalto, who signed for $495,000, had three goals and five assists in 73 games with the Ducks last season. Leclerc, who signed for $400,000, spent most of the season with the Ducks' minor-league affiliate at Cincinnati, but played in seven games with the Ducks. Stevenson, who signed for $412,500, played 22 games with Cincinnati before suffering a season-ending knee injury. . . . Dale Hunter, who played 12 of his 19 seasons with the Washington Capitals, announced his retirement and said he would take a front office position with the Capitals.

Backup quarterback Jim Druckenmiller of the San Francisco 49ers, acquitted of a rape charge last week, faces new legal difficulties. Two men who accused Druckenmiller of participating in an assault outside a bar in Blacksburg, Va., in 1996 claim the former Virginia Tech star and three others ignored a lawsuit in which they are seeking damages for their injuries. A hearing is set Thursday on the plaintiffs' motion filed in Montgomery County Circuit Court.

Coach Flip Saunders of the Minnesota Timberwolves signed a multiyear contract extension, more than doubling his $1.1 million salary of last season. . . . Jay Heaps' goal in the seventh shootout round gave the Miami Fusion a 3-2 Major League Soccer victory over the Tampa Bay Mutiny at Fort Lauderdale, Fla. . . . Galaxy forward Carlos Hermosillo will sit out Saturday's game at Chicago because of a strained lower back. . . . Malek, winning for the first time since he beat three rivals in the Santa Anita Handicap almost 17 months ago, held off Smile Again at Del Mar in a successful tuneup for the $1-million Pacific Classic at Del Mar on Aug. 29.

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