‘King of the Skins’ thrilled by invitation

It only seems as if Fred Couples has played in every Skins Game.

“For me, this is the only tournament I play in, so I’m thrilled to get a sponsors’ invite from LG and everybody,” said Couples, whose many titles include “King of the Skins.”

Couples, defending champion Stephen Ames, Masters champion Zach Johnson and Brett Wetterich will compete this weekend for $1 million in the LG Skins Game in Indian Springs, Calif.

The made-for-TV event will be played for the 25th time, and it will be Couples’ 14th appearance. Since his Skins debut in 1992, he has won a record five times, and his 86 skins have totaled a record $3.9 million.

Also: Boo Weekley shot a 3-under-par 69 Friday with partner Heath Slocum to keep a one-stroke lead for the United States after two rounds of the World Cup of Golf in Shenzhen, China.

England’s Justin Rose and Ian Poulter and Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie and Marc Warren carded 68s to trail by a shot at 13-under 131.

South Africa’s Trevor Immelman and Retief Goosen were another shot back after a 69. Three teams were three behind — Denmark (68), Italy (68) and Germany (71) — and 18 teams were within eight shots of the lead.

Robert Allenby is making himself right at home in the Australian Masters in Melbourne — again.

The Australian, the 2004 and ’05 winner at Huntingdale, shot a 4-under-par 68 to maintain a one-stroke lead. He had a 9-under 135 total.

Fellow Australian Aaron Baddeley had a 66 — the best round of the day — to reach 8 under, and five players were four shots back, including 18-year-old Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland. He followed his opening 70 with a 69.


Free agent Cordero might sign with Reds

Free-agent closer Francisco Cordero reportedly has reached a preliminary agreement on a four-year, $46 million contract with the Cincinnati Reds.

The deal, which includes a club option for a fifth year, is subject to Cordero passing a physical exam, reported.

The agreement was first reported by

Cordero, 32, was second in the National League with 44 saves last season for Milwaukee and made the NL All-Star team.

Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment. David Weathers led the team with 33 saves last season, but will be 39 next year and has been a setup man for most of his career.

Also: A jockey whose horse had to be euthanized following a spill at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., on Thursday broke his collarbone.

Jockey Rafael Mojica Jr. spent Thursday night in a hospital and will be sidelined for about six weeks, agent Julio Espinoza said in a release from Churchill Downs.

Espinoza said Mojica was thrown clear of his mount, Midway Station, when the horse fell after clipping heels with a rival near the head of the stretch.

Dallas Stars right wing Jere Lehtinen will be out indefinitely with an abdominal strain but might not need surgery as the team originally thought, coach Dave Tippett said.

“We’ll continue to look at it,” Tippett said. “We’ll do some tests and see how it reacts over the next few days.”

Lehtinen, a native of Espoo, Finland, led the Stars with 26 goals last season. The 13-year NHL veteran has six goals and 13 assists in 21 games this season.

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