CHASKA, Minn., Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Justin Leonard put together an almost surgical performance on a brutal day for golf Saturday to vault three shots in front with one round to play in the PGA Championship.
Seeking his second major title, Leonard began the blustery afternoon tied for the lead and turned in the best score of the day -- a 3-under 69 that left him with a 54-hole total of 9-under 207.
While challengers faded in the high winds and Tiger Woods battled hard to stay in the chase, Leonard birdied three holes on the back nine of the Hazeltine National Golf Club course. None of those three birdie putts were longer than five feet.
A wild and dangerous series of thunderstorms left the course drenched early Saturday and brought in winds gusting to 40 miles per hour. When the third round began, there were 21 players under par. When it ended, only nine were left in red figures.
Rich Beem, hoping to pull off what would be a huge surprise, birdied the first hole Saturday and held the lead for most of the round. But he was caught and passed by Leonard, eventually finishing alone in second at 6-under 210 following an even-par 72.
Fred Funk, part of the five-way tie at the top when the third round began, battled his way to a 73 that left him in third place at 211.
Woods, in quest of his third major championship of 2002 and the ninth of his career, made only one birdie all day and finished in a share of fourth place with Mark Calcavecchia at 212 -- five shots behind Leonard.
Woods would have had no chance for a victory had he not saved a series of pars with long putts.
Wakefield slows down Twins
MINNEAPOLIS, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Tim Wakefield kept Minnesota at bay for six innings Saturday night before Alan Embree struck out the side to end a seventh-inning threat as the Boston Red Sox posted a 5-2 victory over Twins.
The Twins, who have spent the summer with a comfortable lead atop the American League Central, have lost nine of their last 12 games, their first prolonged slump since losing seven of 10 games in mid-May. Despite the slump, the Twins still maintain a 14-game lead over the second-place Chicago White Sox.
Making things difficult for the Twins was Rickey Henderson, who played in his 3,033rd game to tie Ty Cobb for fourth most on the all-time list. Henderson celebrated with three hits and a pair of RBI. He drove in a run with a groundout in the second inning and added a homer in the ninth off reliever Mike Jackson.
Other American League results: New York 8, Seattle 3; Oakland 9, Chicago 2; Kansas City 7, Tampa Bay 3 in 12 innings; Baltimore 7, Detroit 3; Texas 9, Toronto 5.
Cardinals win seventh of eight
PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Scott Rolen had a two-run double and Jason Simontacchi struck out a career-high seven Saturday as the St. Louis Cardinals won for the seventh time in eight games, 5-1 over the Philadelphia Phillies.
On Friday night, Rolen returned to Philadelphia for the first time since he was dealt to St. Louis on July 29 and was booed loudly by a crowd of 31,117 each time he came to the plate in the Phillies' 4-0 win. On Saturday, a crowd of 20,242 continued to boo Rolen as they saw Philadlephia's five-game winning streak end.
St. Louis held a 1-0 lead when Simontacchi started the third inning with a single off fellow starter David Coggin. Fernando Vina followed with a base hit to center field.
J.D. Drew, also disliked by fans in Philadelphia since he was drafted by the Phillies in 1997 and refused to sign with them, flied out to move Simontacchi to third.
Rolen was hit by a pitch in his first at bat in the second inning, drawing cheers from the crowd.
Other National League results: Arizona 6, Chicago 2; Pittsburgh 5, Milwaukee 0; San Diego 6, Montreal 5; Florida 7, San Francisco 3; Los Angeles 10, New York 4; Houston 6, Cincinnati 1; Colorado 10, Atlanta 3.
Sparks, Mystics advance in playoffs
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Lisa Leslie collected 23 points and eight rebounds Saturday as the Los Angeles Sparks completed a two-game Western Conference semifinal sweep of the Seattle Storm with a 69-59 victory.
The defending WNBA champions advanced to the conference finals for the third straight season and will meet Houston or Utah in a series that will begin Thursday.
Leslie made 10 of 16 shots and averaged 23.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in the two victories over Seattle. Tamecka Dixon chipped in with 15 points.
Los Angeles took the lead for good as Leslie scored six straight points for a 19-15 lead with 7:43 remaining in the first half. The Sparks took a 33-25 lead into halftime.
Rookie Nikki Teasley scored four points to trigger a 13-2 run that gave the Sparks their largest lead at 46-31 with 12:42 remaining. Seattle made just one of six shots and committed four turnovers in that span.
In Charlotte, Coco Miller scored 17 of her 21 points in the second half, including the go-ahead three-pointer with 2:59 left, to lead the Washington Mystics to a 62-59 victory over the Charlotte Sting and a sweep of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
The Mystics advanced to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time in club history and will meet the winner of the series between the New York Liberty and Indiana Fever.
With stars such as Chamique Holdsclaw of the Mystics and Allison Feaster and Andrea Stinson of Charlotte on the floor, it was Miller who took control down the stretch, scoring 12 of Washington's last 14 points.
Beat Hollow wins Arlington Million
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill., Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Beat Hollow found a hole between the leaders in the final furlong Saturday to win in a blanket finish at the 20th running of the $1 million Arlington Million at Arlington Park.
The British-bred 5-year-old horse, never more than 1 1/2 lengths off the lead, covered the 1 1/4-mile turf classic, a prep for the Breeders' Cup Turf in October, in 2:02.94.
Sarafan raced second by a head and Forbidden Apple was third by a nose. Ulundi, who had been running hurdle races in England, finished fourth, another head back.
Beat Hollow paid $3.40, $2.40 and $2.20; Sarafan, $3.40 and $2.80, and Forbidden Apple, $2.80. The $600,000 winners' share of the purse pushed Beat Hollow's lifetime winnings to $1.85 million, confirming the son of Sadler's Wells status as the leading turf horse in the country.
Blake shocks Agassi
WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- American James Blake recorded perhaps the biggest victory of his career Saturday night to reach the final of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic.
The 22-year-old Blake registered 25 winners and stunned compatriot and top seed Andre Agassi, 6-3, 6-4, in just over an hour to advance to the title match of the hardcourt event.
Blake will take on Paradorn Srichaphan of Thailand in Sunday's final. The 14th seed rallied past fifth seed Marcelo Rios of Chile, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.
Surprisingly, Blake overpowered Agassi. Blake dropped just three points on his serve en route to taking the opening set. He then broke Agassi's serve in the first and third games of the second set and jumped out to a 4-0 lead.
Agassi finally managed to break Blake's serve in the eighth game of the second set and pulled within 4-5. But Blake converted his first match point.
Blake will attempt to capture his first ATP crown on Sunday. He has reached two finals this year, losing at Memphis and Newport.
Vick stars for Falcons
ATLANTA, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Michael Vick threw for two touchdowns and the Atlanta Falcons recovered five fumbles Saturday en route to a 36-24 victory over the New York Giants.
Vick's two-yard strike to tight end Alge Crumpler with 2:15 left in the first quarter gave the Falcons a 10-7 lead. He added a 27-yard scoring pass to Willie Jackson 6:52 into the second quarter as Atlanta took a 23-7 advantage.
Vick, who takes over the Falcons' startnig role this year, completed eight of 15 passes for 65 yards with an interception. Doug Johnson was 10 of 18 for 118 yards.
Linebacker Matt Stewart recovered a pair of fumbles for the Falcons, who also came away with an interception and five sacks. The Giants' four first-half turnovers led to 20 Atlanta points.
Kerry Collins, who lost two of the fumbles, was 10 of 15 for 136 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Collins opened the scoring with a one-yard toss to tight end Jeremy Shockey, the Giants' No. 1 draft choice. Shockey left the game in the first quarter with a sprained ankle, but x-rays proved negative.
Other NFL exhibition results: Cincinnati 22, Indianapolis 10; Dallas 19, Carolina 16; Cleveland 24, Detroit 23; New England 16, Philadelphia 15; Kansas City 19, Houston 9.
United records tie with Earthquakes
SAN JOSE, Calif., Aug. 17 (UPI) -- D.C. United fought the San Jose Earthquakes to a 2-2 draw Saturday, becoming the first road team all season to take a single point at Spartan Stadium.
United forward Eliseo Quintanilla scored two goals in the surprising tie, only to see his scoring output matched by veteran San Jose midfielder Ronnie Ekelund.
Other MLS results: Dallas 3, MetroStars 1; Los Angeles 4, Colorado 0.
Junqueira wins CART pole
ELKHART LAKE, Wis., Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Defending champion Bruno Junqueira overcame a final-lap accident Saturday to earn the pole position for Sunday's CART Motorola 220 title at Road America.
Junqueira drove his Target Toyota/Lola at an average speed of 142.659 miles per hour in one minute, 42.151 seconds around the 4.048-mile permanent road circuit on Saturday.
He was not injured in the accident and because officials did not bring out the red flag, the Brazilian was permitted to keep the fastest time set earlier in the session and earn the bonus point that came with it.
Friday's provisional pole sitter and fellow countryman Cristiano da Matta wound up fifth in the second round of qualifying but will start on the outside of the front row, which was guaranteed by way of the first-round results.
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