GULLANE, Scotland, July 19 (UPI) -- Ernie Els opened with a blistering 7-under-par 29 on the front nine Friday and went on to share the second round lead of the British Open.
The two-time U.S. Open winner from South Africa ended with a 66 and six under par to tie Shigeki Maruyama and Padraig Harrington at the halfway point. Els' 29 was one shot short of the tournament record for nine holes.
Tiger Woods was very much in the chase, firing a 68 putting him only two shots back of the leaders.
.Colin Montgomerie meanwhile wowed the home crowd with a 7-under-par 64 to miss by one shot the best round in British Open history.
He also matched the best score over the first two rounds of any Open held at Muirfield and jumped into contention for his first major title by reaching 4-under 138.
Armstrong wins again, extends lead
PLATEAU DE BEILLE, France, July 19 (UPI) -- Lance Armstrong of the United States again gained inspiration as he passed the memorial of a former teammate.
Armstrong captured his second straight leg of the 89th Tour de France on Friday, winning the mountainous 12th stage from Lannemezan to Plateau de Beille and extending his overall lead.
The three-time defending champion at the world's most famous cycling race, Armstrong captured his 14th career stage win. He attacked on the final ascent to Plateau de Beille and his closest rivals for the yellow jersey--Spain's Joseba Beloki and Igor Gonzalez Galdeano--were unable to stay with theTexan's pace.
Armstrong opened a two-minute, 28-second advantage over Beloki and is 3:19 ahead of Gonzalez Galdeano.
Thursday marked the seventh anniversary of the death of Casartelli. The Italian rider perished after a fall on the descent of the Col de Portet d'Aspet during the 1995 Tour. He was riding on Armstrong's Motorola team.
Unser to seek alcohol abuse help
INDIANAPOLIS, July 19 (UPI) -- Al Unser, two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500, says he plans to enter a treatment center for alcohol abuse.
Unser made that announcenment on the same day he learned he will not face criminal charges for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend.
"I have a problem with alcohol abuse," the 40-year-old auto racing star said. "Nearly every poor choice I've made in my life occurred under the influence of alcohol. I don't understand why I have the problem, but I know I have to straighten it out. And I now am ready to do so."
The name and location of the facility was not disclosed. Unser said he hopes to return to the Indy Racing League sometime next month.
NFL confirms Carter suspension
METAIRIE, La., July 19 (UPI) -- The NFL confirmed Friday that four-time Pro Bowl cornerback Dale Carter of the New Orleans Saints has been suspended indefinitely for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
NFL rules prohibit league or team officials from commenting on the specifics of such suspensions, but ESPN reported that the violation was for alcohol and not for a banned substance.
Carter previously was suspended for the entire 2000 season for violating the policy.
Under terms of the program, players who violate the substance abuse policy following a one-year ban are suspended indefinitely.
Carter's suspension began immediately and he is prohibited from participating in any team activities. Despite Carter's status as a multiple offender of the substance abuse policy, the Saints signed him to a seven-year, $26.9 million contract in March
NASCAR driver dies in motorcycle crash
WHITEHOUSE, Tenn., July 19 (UPI) -- NASCAR Busch Series driver Andy Kirby was killed in a motorcycle accident Thursday night. He was 40.
According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Kirby was traveling westbound on Union Road when he lost control of his 1985 Harley Davidson motorcycle attempting to steer through a curve.
"According to our investigation, the driver slid 174 feet on the pavement before he and the motorcycle slid off the road," Tennessee Highway Patrol spokesperson Beth Tucker-Womack told NASCAR.com. "He then slid another 47 feet before striking a tree. At that time, he was ejected from the bike.
"There was no sign of drugs or alcohol involved."