Roland Thatcher leads Children’s Miracle Network Classic by four shots

Roland Thatcher eased through the toughest of the two courses at the Children’s Miracle Network Classic on Friday, shooting a nine-under-par 63 for a four-shot lead over Chris Stroud and Brian Gay at Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Thatcher was bogey-free on Disney World’s Magnolia Course, moving into prime position to secure a PGA Tour card for next year.

Thatcher began the week at No. 179 on the money list. Only the top 125 will have full status next year. Those between 126-150 will get conditional status that allows them to enter more than a dozen tournaments.

Thatcher would need to finish no worse than alone in second to vault into the top 125.


Consecutive bogeys on the back nine stalled his momentum, and Tiger Woods shot a one-over 72 in the second round of the Australian Masters at Melbourne and was nine shots behind Adam Bland, who played in the same conditions and shot a four-under 67.

Bland was at 10-under 132 and had a two-shot lead over Andre Stolz (67). Woods was at one-under 141.

Two-time winner Adam Scott shot 65 for the second round in a row and took a two-stroke lead over defending champion Ian Poulter after the second round at the Singapore Open.

Scott was at 12-under 130 after opening with consecutive six-under rounds. Poulter shot 63 after an opening 69. and three golfers were three shots back in a tie for third, including U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell (68). Phil Mickelson (69) was six shots off the lead.

Paula Creamer shot a six-under 66 and took a one-stroke lead over Norway’s Suzann Pettersen in the LPGA Tour’s Lorena Ochoa Invitational at Guadalajara, Mexico.

Creamer birdied two of the final three holes to reach 10 under through two rounds. Pettersen had a 65, matching Meena Lee for the best round of the day. Stacy Lewis (69) was third at eight under.


Dodgers executive is reassigned

Howard Sunkin, the Dodgers executive whose salary from the team’s charitable foundation has drawn scrutiny from the California attorney general, has been assigned to oversee the team’s community relations.

Of the nearly $1.6 million spent by the Dodgers Dream Foundation in 2007, more than $400,000 was paid to Sunkin, according to federal tax records. In August, the attorney general’s office asked the Dodgers to explain the significant allocation of nonprofit funds for executive compensation.

Dodgers spokesman Josh Rawitch said the team has “been cooperating fully” with the investigation. Neither he nor Jim Finefrock, a spokesman for the attorney general, would comment on the status of the investigation.

Sunkin worked as the Dodgers’ senior vice president for public affairs from 2004 to 2007. He then moved to the McCourt Group, where he has emerged as the right-hand man to Dodgers owner Frank McCourt.

Sunkin has worked with city leaders and neighborhood groups on planned renovations to Dodger Stadium and proposals for an NFL stadium and other development in the stadium parking lots. With McCourt putting major construction on hold because of what he says is a lack of financing, Dodger staffers were told this week that Sunkin again would oversee community relations.

Rawitch said in a statement that Sunkin would continue to work on civic affairs while “taking a more active role in managing the relationships the team has with more than 5,000 non-profit organizations throughout the city.”

— Bill Shaikin

The New York Mets fired their longtime clubhouse manager amid a police investigation into illegal gambling. Charlie Samuels was fired for violating team policies, the Mets said, adding that the decision came after an internal investigation that lasted several months.

The Oakland Athletics acquired third baseman Edwin Encarnacion from the Toronto Blue Jays on a waiver claim.


Iverson delays debut in Turkey

Allen Iverson’s debut with Turkish basketball league team Besiktas has been postponed. Team manager Murat Murtezaoglu told the AP that the 11-time NBA All-Star “did not feel ready” to play and instead watched from the stands as his new team beat Oyak Renault 87-81. Murtezaoglu said he expects Iverson to make his debut at Besiktas’ European Cup home game against Hemofarm Stada on Tuesday.

Golden State Warriors forward David Lee needs surgery after an infection developed in a cut on his left elbow. The team won’t know how long Lee will be sidelined until after the surgery.

The NBA’s board of governors unanimously approved the sale of the Warriors to a group led by Joe Lacob and movie producer Peter Guber.


Federer advances to semifinals at Paris Masters

Top-seeded Roger Federer reached the semifinals of the Paris Masters for the first time by defeating Jurgen Melzer of Austria, 6-1, 7-6 (4). Federer, who hit 18 aces and had 33 winners overall, will next face Gael Monfils, who beat third-seeded Andy Murray, 6-2, 2-6, 6-3. Fourth-seeded Robin Soderling also reached the semifinals, using 18 aces to defeat Andy Roddick, 7-5, 6-4. Soderling will play Michael Llodra, who beat 10th-seeded Nikolay Davydenko of Russia, 7-5, 6-1.

Mark Schubert is out as head coach of the U.S. swimming team, according to a person familiar with the situation and an internal e-mail obtained by the Associated Press. The person, speaking on condition of anonymity because USA Swimming has not commented publicly on Schubert’s status, said Schubert would not be returning from a 60-day leave of absence that still has not been explained.

Todd Bodine earned his second NASCAR Trucks Series season title despite finishing 12th behind race winner Clint Bowyer at Phoenix International Speedway. Bodine entered the race with a 230-point lead over Aric Almirola, needing only to avoid a catastrophe to win the title. Bodine did just that and clinched the title with one race left.

Forward David Backes, who was eligible to become an unrestricted free agent after the season, signed a five-year contract extension with the St. Louis Blues.