Mickelson Takes Charge With a 68

From Staff and Wire Reports

Phil Mickelson stayed on pace Friday to win consecutive tournaments for the first time in his career, shooting a three-under-par 68 to take a one-shot lead in the FBR Open at Scottsdale, Ariz.

Mickelson had three birdies and an eagle before bogeying the last two holes. His 36-hole score of 10-under 132 put him a stroke ahead of Jonathan Kaye, Jeff Sluman and first-round leader Scott Verplank.

“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.

The left-hander also led with two rounds to go at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, which he won for his 22nd title, and has been in the 60s in all seven rounds this year.


Verplank started one shot ahead of Mickelson and was up by that margin after 16 holes before also finishing with consecutive bogeys. His 70 put him back with Sluman, who carded a 67, and Kaye, who shot 68.


Thomas Bjorn shot a four-under 68 to take a two-stroke lead after two rounds of the Johnnie Walker Classic in Bangkok. He is at 12-under 132.

David Lynn was second at 10-under 130 after a six-under 66. Nick Faldo shot 70 and is third at nine under. Ernie Els rebounded from a first-round 70 with a five-under 67 and is tied for seventh at seven under.


Winter Sports

Kirsten Clark broke her wrist and suffered ligament injuries to both knees when she crashed during a World Cup downhill at Haus Im Ennstal, Austria.

Clark, 27, of Raymond, Maine, fell shortly after a jump. She slid down the slope at high speed and her skis caught a safety fence. She was taken by helicopter to a hospital where she underwent wrist surgery.

Maria Riesch won the race, her first World Cup victory, on the Krummholz run, one of the circuit’s most demanding slopes.

Riesch was timed in 1 minute 39.30 seconds. Isolde Kostner was second in 1:39.76 and Renate Goetschl third in 1:39.78.

Overall World Cup leader Anja Paerson did not race because of flu. She has 998 points. Goetschl is second with 953.


Didier Cuche won a downhill race at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, edging Daron Rahlves for Switzerland’s first World Cup Alpine skiing victory this season.


Cuche was timed in 1 minute 59.49 seconds for his fifth career victory. Rahlves, of Sugar Bowl, Calif., finished in 1:59.57. Stephan Eberharter was third in 1:59.70.

Benjamin Raich, who does not race downhills, leads the overall World Cup standings with 918 points. Lasse Kjus is second at 824.

Kjus is out for the season after injuring his knee last week in Kitzbuehel, Austria. The 33-year-old Norwegian suffered cartilage and tendon damage and underwent surgery.


David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox agreed to a one-year contract worth $4,587,500, avoiding a salary arbitration hearing. The designated hitter-first baseman, who made $1.25 million last season, had asked for $5 million in arbitration and was offered $4.2 million.


Pitcher Vicente Padilla avoided a salary arbitration hearing by agreeing to a $2.6-million, one-year contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, more than six times his $425,000 salary last season. The 26-year-old right-hander had asked for $2.95 million in arbitration and was offered $2.35 million.



Lennox Lewis has until March 1 to decide whether he will defend his World Boxing Council heavyweight title in a rematch with Vitali Klitschko.

The WBC said that if Lewis decided not to fight Klitschko, he would be stripped of his title. The top two contenders, Klitschko and Corrie Sanders, would then fight for the title.

College Sports

The sixth-ranked UCLA men’s tennis team defeated No. 19 USC, 4-3, at the Los Angeles Tennis Center. The Bruins improved to 4-0. The Trojans are 2-1. Leading, 3-1, UCLA clinched the match at No. 3 singles, where junior Alberto Francis defeated Drew Hoskins, 6-2, 2-6, 6-3.

At USC’s Marks Tennis Stadium, the fifth-ranked Trojan women’s team improved to 4-0 with a 4-3 victory over No. 11 UCLA (1-1). The Trojans clinched the match at No. 3 singles, when Anca Anastasiu beat Feriel Esseghir, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.


Former International Boxing Federation middleweight champion and World Boxing Assn. super-middleweight titlist Michael Nunn, 40, was sentenced to more than 24 years in federal prison in Rock Island, Ill., for buying two pounds of cocaine from an undercover agent more than a year ago in his hometown of Davenport, Iowa.


As expected, Texas Christian accepted an invitation to join the Mountain West Conference and will become the league’s ninth member starting in 2005.