Wagner leads by two strokes

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

After bogeying two of three holes midway through the first round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational, Johnson Wagner responded with three straight birdies and later added two more to increase his total to nine in matching his best score on the PGA Tour with a seven-under 63 for a two-stroke lead over Phil Mickelson and Brett Wetterich in Fort Worth on Thursday.

Wetterich also birdied Nos. 11-13, then parred out the rest of the way to his 65.

Mickelson, the 2000 champion playing at Colonial for the first time in three years, got to five under with a 12-foot birdie on the closing hole after missing a seven-footer at No. 17.

Jay Haas withstood wet, chilly and eventually windy conditions by shooting the only sub-par round at one-under 69 to take a one-shot lead over Jeff Sluman and New Jersey golf pro Bill Britton in the Senior PGA Championship at Oak Hill in Rochester, N.Y.


Greg Norman and defending champion Denis Watson shot a 72.

Erica Blasberg shot a seven-under 65 to take a two-shot lead over Na On Min and Karine Icher in the opening round of the LPGA Corning Classic in New York. Paula Creamer finished at two-under 70, four shots better than defending champion Young Kim.

Though USC’s Belen Mozo fell out of the lead, the Trojans and UCLA both shot eight over to remain tied at 16 over after three rounds of the NCAA women’s championships in Albuquerque.

Arizona State’s Azahara Munoz shot a one-over 73 to drop Mozo (75) one shot back with UCLA’s Tiffany Joh.


Vijay Singh withdrew from England’s BMW PGA Championship because of a muscle injury below his ribs.


U.S. ousted by Sweden in World Team Cup

The U.S. lost, 2-0, to Sweden, which advanced to the World Team Cup final in the Red Group in Duesseldorf, Germany

James Blake lost, 5-7, 6-3, 6-0, to undefeated Robin Soderling and Thomas Johansson stopped Bobby Reynolds, 6-3, 2-6, 6-3.

Australian Open finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga defeated Santiago Ventura, 6-3, 6-3, to reach the semifinals of the Grand Prix Hassan II in Casablanca, Morocco.

Top-seeded Nikolay Davydenko defeated Andreas Seppi, 6-3, 1-6, 6-3, to reach the semifinals of the Hypo Group International in Poertschach, Austria. Robby Ginepri lost to defending champion Juan Monaco, 7-5, 7-6 (3).

Top-seeded Elena Dementieva defeated Jill Craybas, 6-1, 6-4, to reach the semifinals of the Istanbul Cup in Turkey.



Avalanche brings Granato back as coach

Tony Granato returned as coach of the Colorado Avalanche, four years after being demoted from the job.

Granato will take over from Joel Quenneville, who parted ways with the Avalanche by mutual agreement. Granato was 72-33-17-11 from 2002 to ’04.

Brett Hull and longtime executive Les Jackson signed three-year deals with the Dallas Stars, removing the interim tag they shared when owner Tom Hicks made the unusual move to hire them as co-general managers in November.


Morgan’s mother says it’s UCLA

J’Mison Morgan, a 6-foot-11 center from Dallas South Oak Cliff High, is holding a news conference today to announce that he will play at UCLA next season, according to his mother, Bianca Morgan.


Morgan had signed a letter of intent with Louisiana State in November. Tigers coach John Brady was fired in February and in April former Stanford coach Trent Johnson was hired. After first saying he would honor his letter of intent, Morgan asked LSU to release him two weeks ago.

LSU gave Morgan a full release, allowing Morgan to play at another school without sitting out a season.

-- Diane Pucin

Malik Story, a former standout shooting guard at Lakewood Artesia, rescinded his commitment to USC and is considering other colleges, his father Kenneth said.

The 6-foot-5 Story is considering Georgetown, Marquette and Indiana, his father said.

-- Ben Bolch

Guard Dwain Williams, who averaged 11.0 points and 2.3 assists in 21 games for Providence last season, is transferring to Long Beach State.

Saying he wanted to be closer to home, the 6-foot guard from San Diego will have two years of eligibility left after sitting out next season.


Pettigrew admits to doping at trial

Olympic gold-medal sprinter Antonio Pettigrew for the first time admitted taking performance-enhancing drugs while testifying during the trial of former coach Trevor Graham in San Francisco.

Kaka, FIFA’s world player of the year, will undergo knee surgery today that may rule him out of Brazil’s World Cup qualifiers next month.

Jamie Beyerle and Sandra Fong qualified for the U.S. Olympic team in three-position rifle by finishing first and second at the shooting trials in Fort Benning, Ga.

World-record holder Paula Radcliffe expects to run the marathon at the Beijing Olympics despite a low-grade stress fracture of her left leg.

Athletes at the Beijing Olympics will be subject to no-advance notice doping controls at any time and any place, the IOC said. There will be 4,500 tests, up from 3,600 in 2004.