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In Sports from United Press International

May 22, 2003 at 11:39 PM   |   Comments

Sorenstam shoots 71 at Colonial

FORT WORTH, Texas, May 23 (UPI) -- Facing the kind of pressure that is brought on by the fear of massive failure, Annika Sorenstam was a massive success Thursday.

The first female to play on the PGA Tour in 58 years, Sorenstam turned in a 1-over 71 on one of the nation's most respected courses and put herself in position to make the cut at the Bank of America Colonial.

"My heart was beating, I was sick to my stomach, my hands were sweaty like they are when you are under pressure and stress," said Sorenstam, 32. "I am very proud of the way I played."

Sorenstam, criticized by a host of male players for accepting an invitation to play at Colonial, was under par for most of her round before finally slipping back with two late bogeys to finish in a tie for 73rd place. The top 70 players after Friday's second round will play on the weekend.

The Swedish superstar was seven shots behind front-runner Rory Sabbatini, who finished late in the day with a 64. Rookie Patrick Sheehan and Mark Calcavecchia shared second place at 65 while Dan Forsman and Jesper Parnevik were at 66.

But she shot the same score as major championship winners Lee Janzen, Scott Simpson and Hal Sutton. She was one shot in front of Stuart Appleby, Steve Elkington, Sergio Garcia and Mark Brooks, a former PGA champion who is as familiar with the Colonial course as anyone in the field since he is a member here.

Sorenstam finished two shots ahead of one-time British Open champ Tom Lehman. And she was four shots ahead of former Colonial winner Fulton Allem, who last week said that while they were reluctant to say so, most of the PGA Tour players were against Sorenstam playing.

"I'm a man and I'll do what men do," Allem said during last week's Byron Nelson Championship. "She is a woman and she should do what women do."

Las Vegas oddsmakers set the "over-under" for Sorenstam's first-round score at 75.5. And as she stepped to the 10th tee to begin her first round Thursday, she found dozens of photographers zooming in on her along with about 2,000 fans awaiting the result of this unique golfing experiment.

No woman had played on the PGA Tour since Babe Didrickson Zaharias did so in Los Angeles in 1945. In that event, Zaharias shot an 84 in the opening round.

Sorenstam was the third and last player in her group to hit her tee shot and it was perfect. She then staged a mock swoon, as if to say she was glad that pressure-packed moment had come and gone.

As she headed out onto the course, Sorenstam was followed by an ever-growing number of people who had to trek through mud left behind by two days of heavy rain.

The throng, however, was not deterred.

"Go, Annika," came the shouts. "Great shot. Go get 'em, kid."

Many members of the gallery wore large green buttons that identified them as backers of Sorenstam's effort. One male fan wore a hat shaped like a chicken and on the chicken was written the name, "Vijay."

Vijay Singh has been one of the most outspoken critics of Sorenstam's appearance in the tournament and he was originally entered here this week.

But after winning last week in Dallas at the Byron Nelson Championship, Singh withdrew from the Colonial.


Nets near spot in NBA Finals

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., May 23 (UPI) -- Jason Kidd scored a playoff career-high 34 points Thursday night to move New Jersey within one win of a spot in the NBA Finals.

The Nets downed the Detroit Pistons, 97-85, for their ninth straight postseason win. That matches the fourth-longest streak in NBA history . Owning a 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals, New Jersey can complete its second straight sweep with a win at home Saturday.

Kidd had the game-winning shot in the series opener, but made just 14 of 40 shots in the two games in Detroit. With the Nets back on their home floor for the first time in more than two weeks, Kidd found things to his liking.

The All-Star point guard made 11 of 21 shots and piloted a fast-break offense that demoralized Detroit. He added 12 rebounds and six assists in a superb all-around game.

"I just saw a guy that wanted to win the game," Nets Coach Byron Scott said. "He was able to get to the basket pretty easy. He did a great job of attacking."

The fourth-quarter problems experienced by the top-seeded Pistons in the first two games resurfaced much earlier in Game 3. They were outscored and outplayed in each of the first three periods, rendering the final 12 minutes meaningless.

Detroit shot less than 40 percent, committed 18 turnovers and was beaten on the boards, 50-39. The Pistons are in danger of being swept out of the playoffs for the ninth time in franchise history.


Cleveland wins NBA lottery

SECAUCUS, N.J., May 23 (UPI) -- The Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA lottery Thursday night, which will allow them to select LeBron James in next month's draft.

It marked the first time in 13 years that the team with the worst record had won the lottery. It could not have come at a better time for the Cavaliers, a woebegone franchise whose massive rebuilding plan figures to be expedited by James, an Ohio high school star.

"It's a big day in Cleveland sports," Cavaliers owner Gordon Gund said.

The Cavaliers have been pointing toward this day since the end of the 2001-02 season. They spent the offseason gutting their roster of expensive veterans and were accused of an uncompetitive approach as they went 17-65 with a youth-laden lineup, matching the Denver Nuggets for the league's worst mark.

Both the Cavs and Nuggets had a 22.5 percent chance of winning the lottery. Crashing the party were the Memphis Grizzlies, who had just a 6.4 percent chance of receiving the top pick.

The Nuggets, who also are putting together a huge rebuilding plan, received the third pick. NBA deputy commissioner Russ Granik opened an envelope awarding the second pick to the Grizzlies, leaving LeBron to the hometown Cavs.

The last team with the worst record to win the lottery was the 1990 New Jersey Nets, who drafted Derrick Coleman.

It was an all-or-nothing proposition for the Grizzlies, who must give the pick to the Detroit Pistons under the terms of a 1997 trade involving Otis Thorpe. They could have kept the pick only if it had been the first overall.


Twins take series from A's

OAKLAND, Calif., May 23 (UPI) -- Torii Hunter and A.J. Pierzynski collected three hits apiece Thursday as Minnesota defeated Oakland, 6-5.

It was the first series between the teams since the Twins took the American League Division Series in five games last October. Minnesota returned to the site of its first playoff series victory in 11 years and posted a pair of one-run wins after dropping the opener, 4-1.

Hunter and Pierzynski paced a 14-hit attack as the Twins won for the 15th time in 20 games. Both players had RBI singles off starter John Halama (2-3) in a three-run fourth inning.

The three runs made a winner of Joe Mays (5-3), who battled through five innings, allowing four runs and five hits.

Three relievers combined for three perfect innings before Eddie Guardado gave up a solo homer to Mark Ellis in the ninth. Guardado struck out pinch hitter Adam Piatt to end the game and notch his 12th save in as many chances.

The A's dropped a home series for the first time since July 29-31, 2002 against Cleveland -- a span of 15 series.

Mays, who dropped Game 2 of the Division Series, was staked to a 2-0 lead when Bobby Kielty hit a two-run homer in the third inning. But he gave it back in the bottom half as Eric Chavez delivered a two-run triple to put Oakland in front, 3-2.

Halama gave up five runs and eight hits in six innings and was done in by the fourth.

Other American League results: Texas 10, Tampa Bay 8; Seattle 5, Kansas City 1; Detroit 3, Cleveland 2 in 11 innings; Toronto 8, New York 3.


Dreifort strikes out 12

LOS ANGELES, May 23 (UPI) -- Darren Dreifort struck out a career-high 12 batters in six innings Thursday to boost Los Angeles past Colorado, 4-3.

The Dodgers, whose pitchers recorded 16 strikeouts overall, won their season-best seventh straight.

Paul Shuey and Tom Martin fanned one batter apiece and Eric Gagne, who recorded his sixth save in as many games and 18th of the season, struck out two for the Dodgers. Los Angeles last won seven consecutive contests from June 26-July 4, 2001.

Brian Jordan capped a wild first three innings with a single against Cook that drove in Cesar Izturis to snap a 3-3 tie. Neither team scored again.

Despite striking out three times, the Rockies scored two unearned runs off Dreifort (4-3) in the top of the first, which began with a throwing error by Dodgers third baseman Adrian Beltre on a grounder by Jay Payton.

With two outs and runners on first and second, Mark Sweeney hit a double to shallow left field that delivered Payton. Left fielder Mike Kinkade hesitated on his throw to the infield, allowing Larry Walker to score.

Dreifort struck out four Rockies in the top of the second, allowing rookie starter Aaron Cook (1-4) to reach on a wild pitch on what have been the final out. Dreifort fanned Greg Norton to become the first Dodger to strike out four batters in a frame since Don Drysdale did it in 1965.

Other National League results: New York 5, Philadelphia 3; Montreal 8, Florida 2; Chicago 3, Pittsburgh 2; Atlanta 9, Cincinnati 4; Houston 5, St. Louis 2.


Bernie Williams goes on DL

NEW YORK, May 23 (UPI) -- Bernie Williams was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday after an MRI revealed that he has a strained left knee and partially torn meniscus.

If Williams elects to undergo surgery, he will be sidelined for four to six weeks, which could keep him out until close to the All-Star break.

"I don't really remember doing anything to it, other than just sliding hard or banging on the wall a couple times," Williams said. "For about a month, I've been feeling a lot of discomfort. I was just assuming it was just aches and pains and I had to play through it.

"But it wasn't getting any better, so we decided to go ahead and take some film."

To take Williams' roster spot, the Yankees recalled outfielder Juan Rivera from Class AAA Columbus of the International League.

Williams could elect to postpone surgery until the end of the season and attempt to continue playing by increasing his medication, but the injury clearly has affected his performance.


McNair arrested on DUI, weapons charge

NASHVILLE, May 23 (UPI) -- Quarterback Steve McNair of the Tennessee Titans was arrested early Thursday and charged with drunken driving and possession of a handgun.

A spokesman for the Nashville Police Department said McNair was arrested in downtown Nashville, posted bond, and was later released. A blood-alcohol test given McNair was above Tennessee's legal limit of 0.10.

The Nashville Tennesseean reported that McNair consented to a Breathalyzer test and registered a .18.

When his vehicle was searched, the arresting officer also found a loaded handgun. McNair has a permit for the weapon, but it is not valid if he is impaired.

A court date for McNair was set for June 26. McNair was scheduled to take part in an offseason workout on Thursday, but was excused.

"He deeply regrets the incident. He understands the incident," said Tennessee Coach Jeff Fisher. "He understands the light that is shined upon him, his family, the organization, and the National Football League."


Roddick earns semifinal berth

ST. POLTEN, Austria, May 23 (UPI) -- Top-seeded Andy Roddick rolled to a straight-sets victory Thursday to earn a spot in the semifinals of the International Raiffeisen Grand Prix.

Roddick won eight of the final nine games en route to a 7-5, 6-1 victory over former Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek of the Netherlands in this claycourt event.

The 20-year-old Roddick lost in the final of the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship last month, but was eliminated in the second round at the Rome Masters and Hamburg Masters. The sixth seed at next week's French Open, Roddick takes on eighth-seeded David Sanchez of Spain in the semifinals.

Sanchez, who won a title on clay at Vina del Mar, Chile in February, coasted to a 6-1, 6-4 win over 19-year-old Croatian Mario Ancic.

Russian sixth seed Nikolay Davydenko overcame some early mistakes and posted a 7-5, 6-1 victory over Anthony Dupuis. Davydenko, seeking his third title of the year, will take on Dutchman Martin Verkerk.


Nadeau conscious again

RICHMOND, Va., May 23 (UPI) -- NASCAR Winston Cup veteran Jerry Nadeau, who was injured in a crash during practice on May 2, has regained consciousness.

Jay Frye, the general manager of Nadeau's U.S. Army Team, said Thursday he visited Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center earlier this week and that Nadeau was conscious and speaking again.

"The difference since the last time I saw Jerry was incredible," Frye said. "He is more responsive, more alert, and following commands with more consistency. It was an emotional and wonderful feeling when he made his first move to shake my hand."

Frye, who added that Nadeau was able to hug his daughter, said he was unaware as to the exact day Nadeau regained consciousness.

Nadeau had been in a semiconscious state after suffering a "moderate to severe" head injury.

Team spokesman Dave Ferroni said it was too early to make a diagnosis about Nadeau's long-term prognosis, but noted that "doctors say he is making rapid progress."

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