Ryan Briscoe on Indy pole by inches


Roger Penske’s team ran out the clock on Michael Andretti’s team, giving the Indianapolis 500 pole to Ryan Briscoe.

The Australian won it with a daring late-afternoon run and a four-lap average of 226.484 mph. Then Briscoe had to wait, watch and wonder whether anyone else could beat it.

Canadian James Hinchcliffe nearly did. But after going 227.009 on a warmup lap, the man who had the No. 1 seeding in the pole shootout slowed on each succeeding lap. He led Briscoe through three laps but fell to second, the middle of Row 1, after completing his run with a final lap of 226.137. That gave Hinchcliffe a 226.481 average.

The 0.003 difference is the narrowest in 500 history. It works out to about nine inches.

Hinchcliffe’s teammates, Americans Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti, qualified third and fourth.

Jimmie Johnson won his third All-Star race by pulling away over the 10-lap sprint at Concord, N.C., to the $1-million prize.

Johnson joins Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon as the only three-time winner in All-Star race history. His other victories were in 2003 and 2006.

Brad Keselowski finished secondMatt Kenseth .


Dufner keeps lead at Nelson

Jason Dufner shot a one-under-par 69, enough to keep a one-stroke lead heading into the final round of the Byron Nelson Championship at Irving, Texas.

On a day when nine players had or shared the lead, Dufner was the one on top alone for the second day in a row when play was done. He was at eight-under 202.

Jason Day shot a 67, with his only bogey coming after he missed a short putt on the 18th hole. He was a stroke back along with J.J. Henry and Dicky Pride. Henry also had a 67, and Pride shot a 69.

Morgan Pressel inched closer to her first LPGA Tour title since 2008, posting two very different victories to reach the semifinals of the Sybase Match Play Championship at Gladstone, N.J.

Pressel rallied from 2-down with three holes to play to stun No. 2-ranked Na Yeon Choi in 19 holes in the morning and rolled over Anna Nordqvist of Sweden, 5 and 4, in the afternoon quarterfinal.

Pressel will face Azahara Munoz — a 5-and-4 winner over American Stacy Lewis — in the semifinals Sunday morning, and American Vicky Hurst and Candie Kung will square off in the other match.

Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell advanced to the World Match Play Championship semifinals when Spanish favorite Sergio Garcia missed a short par putt on the first extra hole at Casares, Spain.

Rafael Cabrera-BelloAlvaro Quiros

Sophomore Jeffrey Kang shot his second consecutive 67, and senior Steve Lim and junior Sam Smith each fired 69s to lead the No. 5 USC men’s golf team to victory at the NCAA Ann Arbor (Mich.) Regional and earn a spot in the NCAA championships, which the Trojans will host.

The top five teams in each of the six NCAA regionals and the low individual not on those teams advance to the NCAA championships, to be held May 29-June 3 at Riviera Country Club.

Pepperdine senior Josh Anderson advanced as the low individual, as he shot a 14-under 196 to win the Palo Alto Regional by two strokes.

Top-ranked Novak Djokovic edged Roger Federer to set up another meeting with rival Rafael Nadal in the Italian Open final at Rome.

The defending champion, Djokovic beat Federer 6-2, 7-6 (4). Five-time winner Nadal eliminated fellow Spaniard David Ferrer, 7-6 (6), 6-0, in the other semifinal.

Maria Sharapova defeated rising German player Angelique Kerber, 6-3, 6-4, and will defend her title against French Open champion Li Na. The Chinese player advanced after Serena Williams withdrew because of a lower back injury.

The USC women’s tennis team defeated Stanford, 4-2, in an NCAA quarterfinal at Athens, Ga., the Trojans’ first victory over the Cardinal in an NCAA tournament since 1983.

USC (24-3), seeded fifth, will face top-seeded rival UCLA (25-2), in a semifinal match Monday at 10 a.m. PDT in Athens. The Bruins defeated California, 4-1.

Senior Katie Schroeder drove in UCLA’s only run and stole a base, but the 12th-seeded Bruins’ softball team saw its season come to an end with a 2-1 loss to Florida State in the NCAA Los Angeles Regional. UCLA finished 36-20.