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Sports briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 12, 2000


Martin trails Lietzke at Vegas

For Casey Martin, it's been a year of frustration and pain. His leg aches, he has played poorly, and the PGA Tour is still trying to keep him from riding in a cart.

For one day in the desert, though, things went right.

Martin, battling on the course and in the courts to stay on the tour, shot 8-under-par 64 Wednesday to trail part-time player Bruce Lietzke by one stroke after the first round of the Invensys Classic at Las Vegas.

Martin had a share of the lead with Olin Browne and Brad Faxon before Lietzke, who hadn't picked up a club in six weeks, finished a bogey-free 63.

"I don't want to complain, but I missed five putts under 14 feet," Lietzke said.

Lietzke, the 1994 winner, hadn't played since the Reno-Tahoe Open in August and has played nine times all year. "I'm convinced there's a thing called muscle memory," Lietzke said. "I'm living proof of it."

Martin's round was not only his best as a pro, it gave him a glimmer of hope he might earn enough money in the last three tournaments of the year to make the top 125 on the money list and keep his tour exemption.

"All it takes is one week to turn it around," Martin said. "And a 64 can go a long way toward turning it around."

Riding in a cart between shots, Martin had eight birdies and no bogeys.

He did it in a tournament that pays richly -- $4.25 million in all, with $765,000 to the winner. It's money Martin sorely needs to get a big chunk of if he is to make the $250,000 or so he needs in the next two weeks to retain his tour card.

"This tournament is huge because the big payout," Martin said. "I had my sights set on this tournament because, with a big week, you can do really good."

A big week is something Martin has yet to have in a rookie year that started out with some promise but has gone miserably bad.

He's missed seven cuts in his last 11 tournaments, and has made only $12,480 since July. With $123,624 in earnings this year, he is 178th on the money list and will be forced to go back to qualifying school if he can't crack the top 125.

"I haven't played well and I haven't felt well physically," said Martin, who suffers from a circulatory disorder in his right leg.

MORE GOLF: With his mother recovering from a stroke in Arkansas, John Daly returns to St. Andrews, Scotland, the course where he won his British Open title five years ago. He said his 63-year-old mother, Lou, had the stroke last week. Daly, the 1991 PGA champion and 1995 British Open winner, teams with Tom Lehman and Larry Mize on the U.S. team for the the Dunhill Cup, which starts today. He has won eight of his nine Dunhill Cup matches at St. Andrews. "It suits my game, especially when the weather is bad, because it rewards the horrible shots I seem to hit a lot," Daly said.

BOXING: A 154-pound, pay-per-view bout between Felix Trinidad and Fernando Vargas (20-0, 18 knockouts) was announced for Dec. 2 in Las Vegas. It will be the third time in four bouts Trinidad (38-0, 31 knockouts) has fought an unbeaten champion.

COLLEGES: Miami basketball forward Elton Tyler was not permitted to enroll in fall semester classes and likely will miss at least the first 15 games of the season. Tyler, the top returning scorer from the team that reached the region semifinals of the NCAA Tournament last season, was suspended in August for undisclosed academic reasons. Tyler won't be allowed to practice with the team until the spring semester starts Jan. 15, the Palm Beach Post reported. He may be redshirted for his senior season. ... North Carolina State basketball player Damon Thornton was arrested on charges of driving while impaired after backing into a parked car in Raleigh, N.C. Coach Herb Sendek suspended Thornton indefinitely. Thornton also faces charges of driving without a license, hit and run, careless and reckless driving, and resisting arrest. ... Norisha Campbell's 10 spikes led Florida State's volleyball team to a 3-0 win over Florida A&M (6-7) at Tallahassee. The Seminoles (14-7) won 15-5, 15-5, 15-1.

CYCLING: Mari Holden became the first U.S. road cycling world champion in six years when she captured the individual time trial at Plouay, France. Holden, who won a silver medal at the Olympics, overcame a stiff wind during the second day of the World Road Cycling Championships. She finished the 15.6-mile course in 33 minutes, 14 seconds, beating runner-up Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli of France by three seconds. ... German cyclists Andreas Kappes and Dirk Mueller face bans from the sport after failing drug tests.

OLYMPICS: Salt Lake Olympic organizers said first-day ticket sales for the 2002 Games almost tripled expectations. Organizing committee president Mitt Romney said more than $23-million worth of tickets were requested in the first 24 hours, setting an Olympic benchmark. He said the average purchase was $2,005. The largest order -- $55,345 -- came from a person in California. ... A freestyle wrestler is in line to become the third athlete from the Sydney Games to be stripped of a gold medal after failing a drug test, the Associated Press reported. Two wrestlers, whom the AP did not identify, tested positive for banned substances during the final weekend. Of the eight gold medals awarded in freestyle wrestling, four were won by competitors from Russia and one each by wrestlers from Azerbaijan, Iran, Germany and Canada. The International Olympic Committee medical commission will hold a hearing Monday. ... The official overseeing construction for the 2004 Olympics wants the IOC to stop issuing ultimatums about missing deadlines and let the organizers concentrate on their work. Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis' comments came after a top IOC official said Athens must agree to move up the deadline for completion of sports venues by one year.

TENNIS: Men and women will receive equal prize money at next year's Australian Open. Tennis Australia president Geoff Pollard said players will compete for a tournament-record prize pool of $7.5-million, an 11.5 percent increase on this year's total. Winners of the men's and women's singles crowns each will earn $450,000. "We have all been working on achieving equal prize money for a while, and it is great that at the turn of the century, progress has been made," said Martina Hingis, the world's top-ranked player. Until now, only the U.S. Open among the four Grand Slams has paid equal prize money. ... Lindsay Davenport, in her first tournament since pulling out of the Olympics, beat Sabine Appelmans 6-2, 6-1 at the Swisscom Challenge at Zurich. Davenport could overtake Hingis for the No. 1 ranking with a strong performance this week. ... Third-seeded Thomas Enqvist, playing on an injured ankle, quit after 38 minutes against Slova Dosedel at the CA Trophy tournament in Vienna, Austria. ... Michael Chang was ousted from the Japan Open at Tokyo, losing a second-round match to 130th-ranked Cecil Mamiit 7-5, 6-4.

BOWLING: Bob Glass increased his lead to 35 pins after the first round of match play in the Brunswick PBA Senior National Championship at Jackson, Mich. Glass, 5-3 in match play, has a 40-game total of 9,531 pinfalls. Gary Dickinson was second, followed by Dave Soutar (9,395), John Bennett (9,392) and Rohn Morton (9,378). The top five advance to the championship round.

CRICKET: Former national captain Hansie Cronje has been banned from South African cricket for life for his part in the worst sports scandal in the nation's history. Cronje was removed as captain in April after Indian officials said they had tape recordings of his conversations with a bookmaker during the team's tour of the subcontinent this year. Cronje denied wrongdoing but later told investigators he had taken about $100,000 from gamblers for providing match information.

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