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April 22, 2012 at 10:59 PM   |   Comments

Curtis hangs on for 1st win since '06

SAN ANTONIO, April 22 (UPI) -- Ben Curtis remained steady down the stretch of the Texas Open Sunday, logging an even-par 72 en route to his first PGA Tour win since 2006.

Curtis, who last won six years ago at the 84 Lumber Classic, survived challenges from Matt Every and John Huh to finish with a two-shot win at 9-under 279.

Every's putter abandoned him on the back nine and he had to settle for a 1-under 71, good for a second-place tie with Huh (69) at minus-7.

Every was seeking his second crown of the year after earlier taking the Mayakoba Golf Classic.

Defending champion Brendan Steele fired a 5-under 67 to finish in a four-way tie for third with Bob Estes (69), Brian Gay (70) and Charlie Wi (71) at 5-under par.


Hamlin holds off Truex at Kansas Speedway

KANSAS CITY, Kan., April 22 (UPI) -- Denny Hamlin grabbed the lead with 31 laps left Sunday and held off Martin Truex Jr. to claim the STP 400 at Kansas Speedway.

Truex had dominated the race before surrendering the lead late and then pushed hard to regain it, but ended up finishing 0.7 seconds behind Hamlin, who notched his second Sprint Cup win of the year.

Hamlin also won at Phoenix last month.

Truex, meanwhile, fell short in his bid to snap a 174-race winless streak and register his first victory since 2007 at Dover.

Finishing third was Jimmie Johnson, followed by Matt Kenseth and current points leader Greg Biffle.


Rutherford returns after 10-month voyage

ANNAPOLIS, Md., April 22 (UPI) -- After circumnavigating the Americas for 10 straight months alone, Matt Rutherford's sailboat brought him home to Annapolis, Md., for a warm reception.

Rutherford, 31, singlehandedly completed what the U.S. Sailing Hall of Fame called an unprecedented feat. For 309 days, his 36-year-old Albin Vega sailboat took him through the Northwest Passage, across the Bering Sea, around Cape Horn and alongside the Atlantic Coast. Since June 11,2011, Rutherford was out at sea for nearly a year, with virtually no human contact.

The Washington Post reported the 27,077-mile voyage raised $79,393 for Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating, an organization which helps disabled people to sail.

When he returned to dry land Saturday afternoon, a crowd was waiting at Annapolis' City Dock to carry him off, bands were playing in his honor and Gov. Martin O'Malley asked him to take to the stage to say a few words.

"Being here is like a dream," he said to the crowd, still barefoot and disheveled, "Any minute I'm going to wake up and be in the middle of the ocean."

Rutherford said he looked forward to a shower and a cold beer and, "maybe talking to a nice lady. It's up there with the shower and the beer."


S. Williams puts U.S. into Fed Cup group

KHARKIV, Ukraine, April 22 (UPI) -- Serena Williams' straight-set victory over Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko Sunday vaulted the United States into next year's Fed Cup World Group.

Williams bested Tsurenko 6-3, 6-2 in the day's first reverse singles match and handed the Americans an insurmountable 3-0 lead in the best-of-five World Group playoff.

The triumph means the United States will be in the running for a Fed Cup title in 2013 after being relegated to World Group II.

Williams improved to 8-0 all-time in Fed Cup singles play.

The clinching victory came after two singles wins Saturday in which Christina McHale defeated Tsurenko 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 and Williams breezed past Elina Svitolina 6-2, 6-1.

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