CHASKA, Minn., Aug. 16 (UPI) -- Fred Funk, one of the shortest hitters in the era of power golf, battled through gusting winds and a rain delay of almost three hours Thursday to fire a 4-under 68 that gave him a share of the lead with Jim Furyk at the PGA Championship.
Tiger Woods, trying to become the first player to win three major titles in the same year twice, escaped with a 1-under 71 at the Hazeltine Golf Club despite a series of tee shots that wound up among the spectators instead of on the fairway.
Moments after the threesome of Woods, newly crowned British Open champion Ernie Els and defending PGA titleholder David Toms walked off the first tee, play was halted because of the threat of lightning. During the opening round of the U.S. Open played at Hazeltine 11 years ago, lightning killed a gallery member.
Although the course was not hit by heavy rains, the lightning threat remained and action could not resume for two hours, 43 minutes -- pushing back tee times and making it impossible for the first round to be completed Thursday.
There were 39 players left on the course when dark fell, but with no further delays on Friday, the tournament should get back on schedule by the end of the second round.
After the severe weather moved through, the sun came out and the winds kicked up, making the 7,360-yard course a difficult test.
Furyk and Funk solved the problems, however, with Furyk making four birdies on the front nine to finish his round. Funk, one-time golf coach at the University of Maryland, rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt at the 17th to get to 4-under and then saved par at the 18th with a seven-foot putt after sending his second shot over the green.
Funk, although he is known as a straight driver, ranks only 136th out of 198 players on the PGA Tour in driving distance.
Furyk did not make the cut in any of the three previous major events this year and Funk did not even play in any of them.
The co-leaders had a one-shot advantage over Australian Peter Lonard, a rookie on the PGA Tour who has not missed a cut all year, and 22-year-old Justin Rose of England. Rose finished fourth at the 1998 British Open at the age of 17 and immediately turned pro, but he missed the cut in his first 21 appearances on the European Tour.
After winning on three different continents this year, Rose is making his pro debut in the United States.
Included among those two shots back at 2-under 70 were two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen and Davis Love III, who had the lead for much of the day but who double bogeyed the difficult, par-4 16th. Also shooting 70 were Mark Calcavecchia and 1987 champion Jeff Sluman, both of whom played through the late afternoon and early evening.
Joining Woods at 71 were Tom Lehman, Steve Lowery, Angel Cabrera, Padraig Harrington and former champion Vijay Singh. Among those at 1-under and still on the course was Nick Faldo -- who had one hole to play.
Phil Mickelson was 3-over through 15 when dark fell.
Mystics, Sparks win playoff openers
WASHINGTON, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- Chamique Holdsclaw had 26 points, 13 rebounds and five steals Thursday night as the Washington Mystics defeated the Charlotte Sting, 74-62, to take a 1-0 lead in their best-of-three Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Holdsclaw, who had been hobbled by a pair of sprained ankles down the stetch during the regular season, hit nine of 18 from the field and eight of 10 from the line as the Mystics won their first playoff game in franchise history.
Washington can eliminate the defending conference champions with a victory in Charlotte on Saturday.
WNBA Most Improved Player Coco Miller and Vicky Bullett added 12 points apiece for Washington, which shot 51 percent and limited Charlotte to 37 percent.
In Seattle, Lisa Leslie had 24 points and nine rebounds and Mwadi Mabika 23, seven and six assists night as the defending champion Los Angeles Sparks pulled away from the Seattle Storm for a 78-61 victory in the opener of their series.
Mora's homer boosts Orioles past Twins
MINNEAPOLIS, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- Melvin Mora snappd a tie with a leadoff homer off Kyle Lohse in the eighth inning Thursday night as the Baltimore Orioles continued their success against the Minnesota Twins with a 3-1 victory.
Baltimore took five of six from the Central Division leaders this season. The Orioles won two of three in the series after sweeping the Twins last week at Camden Yards.
Since July 1996, the Orioles are 42-12 against the Twins.
Minnesota lost a series at home for the first time since dropping two of three to Atlanta from June 10-12. The Twins lost their first series at home to an American League club since they were swept by the New York Yankees from May 10-12.
Jason Johnson (4-9) earned the win, allowing one run and six hits in seven innings with a walk and five strikeouts.
Lohse (10-6) yielded two runs and just four hits over seven-plus innings. He was lifted after giving up the homer to Mora.
Other American League results: Tampa Bay 4, Cleveland 3; New York 7, Kansas City 5.
Cardinals win sixth straight
PITTSBURGH, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- A three-run double by Tino Martinez highlighted a six-run ninth inning Thursday night as the St. Louis Cardinals won their sixth straight game, 11-5 over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
St. Louis' six-game winning streak is a season high and Thursday night's win gave the Cardinals their first four-game sweep of the season.
The Cardinals continued to roll as their offense gets in gear. They have 58 hits in their last 33 innings and have scored 46 runs over their last five games. One of the reasons has been the awakening of Martinez's bat.
Martinez went three for five with two doubles and is batting .417 over his last nine games. During that span, he has raised his batting average from .248 to .264.
Other National League results: San Diego 5, New York 3; Chicago 6, Houston 4; Los Angeles 1, Montreal 0; Philadelphia 5, Milwaukee 0; Arizona 7, Cincinnati 2.
Blackhawks sign Theo Fleury
CHICAGO, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- After losing free agent right wing Tony Amonte, the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday signed Theo Fleury.
Fleury has been beset by personal problems the last two years, including a stay at a drug rehabilitation center for the final two months of the 2000-01 campaign.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
The Blackhawks were in need of a goal scorer after the departure of Amonte, who signed with the Phoenix Coyotes last month.
Fleury, 34, reunites with Blackhawks coach Brian Sutter, who coached Fleury in Calgary in 1997-98 and 1998-99.
A member of Canada's gold medal-winning team at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and a seven-time All-Star, Fleury spent the last three seasons with the New York Rangers. But he was traded to the San Jose Sharks for a draft choice in the offseason even though he was on the verge of becoming an unrestricted free agent.
Brooks stars for Saints
MIAMI, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- Aaron Brooks completed seven of 13 passes for 80 yards and a touchdown and Sammy Knight returned a blocked punt for a score Thursday night, leading the New Orleans Saints to a 24-7 exhibition victory over the Miami Dolphins.
After John Carney kicked a 28-yard field goal with 4:15 left in the first quarter, Knight scooped up a blocked punt and went 38 yards to make it 10-0 4:22 into the second period.
Brooks tossed a two-yard touchdown pass to Joe Horn to give the Saints a 17-0 lead with 7:56 left in the second quarter.
Miami got its only score on backup Ray Lucas' 24-yard strike to Randy McMichael on the final play of the first half.
Starting Dolphins quarterback Jay Fiedler completed nine of 18 passes for 83 yards, but was intercepted three times.
Duece McAllister combined for 70 yards of total offense for the Saints. He rushed for 42 yards on 11 carries and caught three passes for 28 yards.
Miami Ricky Williams, playing against his former team, gained just 18 yards on seven carries.
Other NFL exhibition results: New York Jets 34, Baltimore 16; Tennessee 24, Oakland 14.
Ewing parts way with Orlando
ORLANDO, Fla., Aug. 16 (UPI) -- Orlando Magic General Manager John Gabriel announced Thursday that Patrick Ewing would not return to the team for the upcoming season while continuing to weigh future opportunities.
Voted as one of the 50 Greatest Players, Ewing was bothered by patella tendinitis in his right knee in his only season with the Magic. He started just four of 65 games and averaged 6.0 points and 4.0 rebounds in 13.9 minutes.
Ewing turned 40 earlier this month and is contemplating retirement.
The Magic recently traded center Don Reid to Denver and have Andrew DeClercq, Steven Hunter and Olumide Oyedeji at the center position and expect Horace Grant to return in 2002-03.
Hingis to play in U.S. Open
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Aug. 16 (UPI) -- Martina Hingis, who returned to action last week after undergoing ankle surgery in May, and Corina Morariu, who came back last month following treatment for leukemia, received wild card entries Thursday to the U.S. Open.
The year's final Grand Slam event will be held from Aug. 26 to Sept. 8.
The former No. 1 player from Switzerland and the 1997 U.S. Open champion, Hingis had surgery on May 20 to repair one torn ligament and three loose ligaments in her left ankle and was expected to be sidelined for about four months.
However, Hingis made a more rapid return from surgery than expected and is playing this week in the Rogers AT&T Canada Cup. She also is scheduled to play in the Pilot Pen Tennis event the following week.
Hingis, who will be 22 in September, won titles in two of her first three appearances in 2002, increasing her career total to 40. She claimed the Australian Open crown from 1997-99 and Wimbledon in 1997.
A five-time Grand Slam champion, Hingis was seeded No. 1 at the U.S. Open five straight years beginning in 1997.
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