Kim takes lead at Wachovia Championship

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

With Tiger Woods unable to defend his Wachovia Championship title while recovering from knee surgery, Anthony Kim moved a step away from a victory a month shy of his 23rd birthday.

Kim shot a six-under-par 66 Saturday at Charlotte, N.C., to take a four-shot lead over Jason Bohn and Heath Slocum after the third round. The big hitter from Los Angeles is at 13-under 203 and as close as ever to his first PGA Tour win.

Kim passed Bohn, the second-round leader and playing partner, by sinking a nine-foot birdie putt on the ninth hole. Kim made another birdie at No. 14, then navigated through the course's tough closing stretch.

After getting up and down for par on the 17th, Kim ripped a 324-yard drive on No. 18 before his second shot landed seven feet from the cup. He made the putt and walked off the course well ahead of one of the strongest non-major fields on the tour.

Bohn's chip-in for par on the 18th gave him a 72 and a second-place tie with Slocum, who charged into contention by holing out for eagle on the 15th hole. Slocum shot a 68.

Paula Creamer made two long birdie putts to pull away from the field in the SemGroup Championship at Broken Arrow, Okla., only to drop two shots on the closing holes for the third day in a row.

A three-putt on the 16th and a bogey from the bunker on the 18th gave her a two-under 69. She is at three-under 210 and has a two-shot lead over Juli Inkster.

Inkster turned in a tournament-best 67, ending her solid round with a 20-foot par putt on the 18th hole.

Lorena Ochoa, going for her record-tying fifth consecutive LPGA Tour victory, shot an even-par 71 and is eight shots behind at five-over 218.

Nick Price moved a step closer to his first Champions Tour victory, shooting a five-under 67 to take a two-stroke lead into the final round of the FedEx Kinko's Classic at Lakeway, Texas. He is at 12-under 132. Scott Simpson and Loren Roberts are tied for second after matching 66s.


Nadal to play Ferrer in Barcelona final

Top-seeded Rafael Nadal defeated Denis Gremelmayr, 6-1, 6-0, to reach his fourth consecutive Barcelona Open final. He will play second-seeded David Ferrer, who beat Stanislas Wawrinka, 7-6 (8), 6-3.

Second-seeded Fernando Gonzalez beat Younes El Aynaoui, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, to reach the final of the BMW Open at Munich, Germany. He will play Simone Bolelli, who upset top-seeded Paul-Henri Mathieu, 7-6 (1), 4-6, 7-6 (4).


United increases its lead over Chelsea

English Premier League leader Manchester United beat West Ham, 4-1, behind two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo. The victory put further pressure on second-place Chelsea.

United has 84 points and is three ahead with a game left. Chelsea, United's only rival for the title, has 81 points with a game in hand and plays Newcastle on Monday.

Ronaldo brought his goal total to 40 this season, scoring in the third and 24th minutes. United played with 10 men from the 37th minute after Nani was sent off for head-butting West Ham's Lucas O'Neill.

Fulham moved out of the relegation zone for the first time this year with a 2-0 win over Birmingham, pushing Reading down into the bottom three.

Brian McBride, one of five Americans on Fulham, scored his fourth goal of the season by heading in a free kick from Jimmy Bullard in the 52nd minute.

Angela Hucles scored with 30 seconds left in injury time to give the U.S. women's team a 5-4 win over Australia in an exhibition at Birmingham, Ala.


USC women end drought against UCLA

USC's women's team defeated UCLA in a dual meet for the first time since 1992 and also ended UCLA Coach Jeannette Bolden's streak of 73 consecutive dual-meet victories with an 86-77 win at UCLA's Drake Stadium.

Trojans sprinter Carol Rodriguez, who had suffered a hamstring injury two days before the meet, sat out the 400-meter relay, then blazed to a school-record time in the 400, finished second in the 200, and ran a pivotal leg for the winning 1,600 relay team.

Rodriguez, a senior from Anaheim Hills who will compete for the Puerto Rican Olympic team at Beijing in August, won the 400 in 51.39 seconds, the fastest in the NCAA this season.

UCLA's Nicole Leach finished second in the 400 in 51.69, the second-fastest time in the nation this season. Leach also ran the second-fastest time in the nation in winning the 400 hurdles in 55.37.

The UCLA men's team swept six of 19 events en route to an 89-74 victory over the Trojans. The Bruins men have not lost a home dual meet to USC since 1977

-- Gary Klein


Sweden, Finland win tournament openers

Sweden held off Belarus, 6-5, at Quebec City in an opening preliminary round game of the world championships. Rickard Wallin deflected Nils Ekman's shot at 10:32 of the third period for the winning goal.

Mikko Koivu scored twice in leading Finland to a 5-1 win over Germany in its opener at Halifax, Nova Scotia.

New York Rangers forward Sean Avery was transferred out of the intensive care unit, and remained hospitalized in New York during recovery from a lacerated spleen.

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