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In Brief

GOLF

Pavin opens with 65, leads
SAS Championship by stroke

Corey Pavin shot a 7-under-par 65 on Friday to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the SAS Championship in Cary, N.C.

“I obviously got off to a good start, played the front nine very well,” said Pavin, who birdied six holes on the front side. “I think I had 10 putts on the front nine … and I hit the ball well.”

Nick Price, Gary Hallberg, Kenny Perry and defending champion Russ Cochran were tied for second at the Champions Tour event at the 7,137-yard Prestonwood Country Club.

Price, who won the Toshiba Classic in March, has struggled in the past two months. He said he finally noticed an unconscious change in his backswing that caused him to shorten his swing.

“This is, after literally six really poor tournaments, the thing that I worked the hardest on the last two years, I just neglected,” Price said. “It’s been very frustrating.

“But today was the best I’ve played since May, June, ball-striking-wise. All in all, it was an ‘A’ day for me, a really good day.”

Pavin said he also made a swing change this week after talking to (swing coach) Greg LaBelle, who made suggestions to Pavin after watching his swing via email.

Also: Tommy Fleetwood and Michael Hoey were tied for the second-round lead at the Dunhill Links Championship in Carnoustie, Scotland.

Fleetwood, who leads the second-tier Challenge Tour rankings, shot a 9-under 63 at Kingsbarns, the same course where first-round leader Hoey shot a second straight 66. They have 12-under totals of 132.

Former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen is one shot back after a 67 at Carnoustie, and 2010 U.S. Open winner Graeme McDowell is tied at 10 under with three others after shooting 67.

Defending champion Martin Kaymer shot 67 at Carnoustie and is three shots behind. Rory McIlroy and second-ranked Lee Westwood are at 7 under.

MOTOR SPORTS

Kentucky Speedway hopes
to put traffic debacle in past

Kentucky Speedway gets its first chance to redeem itself this weekend from the traffic nightmare that ruined its inaugural Sprint Cup Series race.

Fans spent hours in nonmoving traffic before the July 9 race. Thousands never even made it into the speedway.

Track owner Speedway Motorsports Inc. and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet pledged $11 million in improvements, and some of the work has been done. The Sparta, Ky., track hosts NASCAR’s Truck Series tonight and the IndyCar Series on Sunday.

The crowds won’t come close to the 107,000-plus that descended on the speedway in July, but track officials know this weekend is the first step toward proving it can overcome that debacle.

Also: Matt Hagan raced to the qualifying lead in Funny Car at the Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa.

Hagan powered his 7,000-horsepower Dodge Charger to a 4.012-second run at 316.67 mph, the fourth-quickest run in Funny Car history, to lead the 16-car field.

Qualifying continues today with two sessions, with the elimination finals Sunday.

Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were also qualifying leaders at the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event.

UNLV ATHLETICS

Ernst sparks men’s golf team
to lead at Tucker Invitational

The UNLV men’s golf team took a one-shot lead over host New Mexico after the first two rounds of the William H. Tucker Invitational in Albuquerque.

The Rebels followed a round of 4-over-par 292 with a round of par 288 for a total of 4-over 580.

The final round is today at UNM Championship Course.

Arizona was third in the 16-team field, six shots off the pace, followed by San Diego State, seven back, and Brigham Young and North Texas, tied for fifth at eight shots off the lead.

UNLV was paced by Derek Ernst, who was tied for third behind BYU’s Zachary Blair. Ernst had rounds of 3-under 69 and 1-over 73 to stand at 2-under 142, three shots behind Blair.

Also: UNLV’S Kevin Penner was selected Co-Mountain West Men’s Golfer of the Month for September. He shares the award with Texas Christian’s Julien Brun.

Penner led UNLV to the team title in the season-opening Gene Miranda Falcon Invitational in Colorado Springs on Sept. 18 and 19. He finished the 54-hole tournament tied for first after firing a 7-under 209 (74-67-68).

The UNLV women’s soccer team held Texas Christian to two shots on goal and posted a pair of second-half tallies to win its Mountain West Conference opener 2-1 at Peter Johann Memorial Field.

Kylie Wassell picked up the win in goal for UNLV (4-7-2). Katherine Orellana scored 12 seconds into the second half to give the Rebels a 1-0 lead, and Erica Meier tallied in the 56th minute, breaking a 1-1 tie.

MISCELLANEOUS

President of Bologna club
hopes Bryant will accept offer

The president of Virtus Bologna is optimistic Kobe Bryant will sign with the Italian club during the NBA lockout despite scheduling problems posed by other teams.

Claudio Sabatini said Bryant’s agent, Rob Pelinka, agreed to an arrangement of 35 to 40 days of involvement — or about 10 games — for about $3 million.

“We’re very confident the deal can be completed,” Sabatini said. “We’re prepared to make a big investment.”

Sabatini said a Bologna-based food company is prepared to provide the cash.

“Kobe and his agent have been very professional throughout the dealings, and it’s been a pleasure to work with them,” Sabatini said. “I have a huge amount of respect for Kobe, not just as a player but also as a person.”

Also: After several days of finalizing details, the plan for a charity game featuring Miami Heat stars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh at Florida International next weekend is set.

The game will take place Oct. 8. Proceeds will go to Mary’s Court Foundation, which was established in honor of Mary Thomas, the late mother of FIU coach and Basketball Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas.

Thomas said he was “overwhelmed” by the gesture.

Several other NBA stars, including Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, are expected to play. Wade used his Twitter feed to describe the game as the “D-Wade vs. King James” game, and plans call for those Heat stars to be on opposite teams.

Top-seeded Andy Murray of Great Britain defeated Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-4 to reach the semifinals of the Thailand Open in Bangkok.

Murray will play No. 3 seed Gilles Simon of France today. Simon beat Matthias Bachinger of Germany 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 to reach the semis.

In today’s other semifinal, unseeded Donald Young of the United States will face No. 2 seed Gael Monfils of France.

Young advanced with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Japan’s Go Soeda, and Monfiels reached the semis with a 7-5, 7-6 (4) win over Jarkko Nieminen of Finland.

Vera Zvonareva staged a remarkable turnaround to beat Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 7-6 (2), 6-0 and advance to the final at the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo.

The fourth-seeded Russian took advantage of a collapse by Kvitova, who had a 5-1 lead in the first set before Zvonareva stormed back to make it 5-5, breaking her opponent three times. Both players then held serve to force a tiebreak, which Zvonareva won.

Zvonareva will face Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland in today’s final. The ninth-seeded Radwanska beat No. 3 seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 in a match that lasted 2 hours, 31 minutes.

Rob Pallin, who for the past five seasons has coached UNLV’s club hockey team, was named an assistant coach of the Las Vegas Wranglers.

Pallin will assist Ryan Mougenel, head coach of the ECHL team.

The Chisholm, Minn., native is a former defenseman who played collegiately at Minnesota-Duluth and Western Michigan and then 10 years in Europe.

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