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Sept. 16, 2011 at 11:00 PM   |   Comments

Teen sensation leads on LPGA Tour

PRATTVILLE, Ala., Sept. 16 (UPI) -- Lexi Thompson put herself in position for an historic win on the LPGA Tour Friday by taking the lead midway through the Navistar Classic.

Thompson, at age 16, would become the youngest winner in the history of the circuit. She led this event in 2009 as a 14-year-old amateur before finishing 27th.

After starting the second round one shot out of the lead, Thompson posted a 4-under-par 68 at the Capitol Hill course on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail and her 36-hole total of 134 gave her a two-shot advantage over Stacy Lewis and Becky Morgan.

The LPGA Tour has an age limit of 18 for full-time membership, but because of her proven skills Thompson has been granted permission to go through the qualifying tournaments later this year.

Marlene Hagge holds the LPGA Tour record for youngest winner, having captured the 1952 Sarasota Open at the age of 18 years, 14 days. She won another tournament two months later and went on to become one of the most famous players in women's golf.

Current tour members Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel also won when they were 18.

Meena Lee was alone in fourth place after Friday's round at 136 while Hee Kyung Seo, Giulia Sergas and first-round leader Jennifer Johnson shared fifth at 138.

World No. 1 Yani Tseng stumbled to a 73 Friday and was tied for 23rd at 141.


Astros lose 99th game

CHICAGO, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- Marlon Byrd's infield single drove in Starlin Castro with one out in the 11th inning Friday, giving the Chicago Cubs a 4-3 win over the Houston Astros.

The Astros, who are in their 50th year of playing major league baseball, are just one setback away from the first 100-loss season in franchise history. The dismal campaign comes six years after Houston played in the World Series.

Carlos Lee's second home run in the game, a two-run shot with two outs in the ninth, erased a 3-1 Chicago lead and forced extra innings.

With Davis Carpenter (0-3) pitching, Castro walked to open the 12th and advanced on a sacrifice bunt. After Aramis Ramirez was intentionally walked, both runners moved up on a wild pitch, leading to an intentional walk to Reed Johnson to load the bases.

Byrd hit a high chopper down the third-base line that third baseman Chris Johnson just touched, allowing Castro to score the winning run.

Jeff Samardzija (7-4) earned the win with an inning of one-hit relief.

Lee had a second-inning home run but it was his ninth-inning shot -- his 18th of the year -- that ruined a strong outing by Cubs starter Matt Garza, who took a three-hitter into the ninth.

A home run by Geovany Soto tied the score at 1-1 in the third and Chicago went up 3-1 in the sixth when Jeff Baker singled in Aramis Ramirez, who had tripled, and then score on Alfonso Soriano's base hit.


Rose, Wilson tied at BMW Championship

LEMONT, Ill., Sept. 16 (UPI) -- Justin Rose bogeyed the final hole Friday but still held a share of the BMW Championship lead with Mark Wilson.

Rose shot a 3-under-par 68 to stay atop the leaderboard for a second day. Wilson did him two better, firing a 5-under 66 to pull into the tie at Cog Hill in Illinois. They now are knotted at 11-under 131 after 36 holes.

Third place is held by Webb Simpson, who also shot a 68 to pull within two strokes of the leaders at minus-9. John Senden is in fifth place at 8-under 134 after carding a 66.

"You never quite know what to expect after playing so well in the first round," said Rose, who shot a 63 Thursday. "A couple spells in my round it went a little bit flat, but I managed to create some momentum, get a couple birdies around the turn and then had a pretty good finish with eagle at 15 and birdie at 16. So I'm happy with the day."

Also lingering near the top of the leaderboard are Robert Allenby (67) and Bill Haas (66), who share fifth place at 6-under; and Matt Kuchar (65), Geoff Ogilvy (68), David Toms (66), Brandt Snedeker (66) and Keegan Bradley (66), who are are one shot back at minus-5.


Mauer diagnosed with pneumonia

MINNEAPOLIS, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- The Minnesota Twins announced Friday that catcher Joe Mauer had been diagnosed with a mild case of pneumonia.

Doctors told Mauer he needs to rest for two weeks, which would mean he will miss the remainder of the season.

Mauer, the American League's MVP two years ago, signed an eight-year, $184 million contract prior to the 2011 season. After off-season knee surgery, he dealt with an assortment of illnesses and injuries, and played just 82 games this year. His .287 batting average and three home runs were career lows.

The diagnosis came from the Mayo Clinic after Mauer was slow to recover from an upper respiratory infection. He last played on Sept. 14.

During his MVP season, which came in his fifth year with the Twins, Mauer batted .365 with 28 home runs and 96 RBI.

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