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Feb. 21, 2013 at 11:00 PM   |   Comments

McIlroy, Woods ousted in match play event

MARANA, Ariz., Feb. 21 (UPI) -- Charles Howell III and Shane Lowry defeated golf's top two players in huge first-round upsets Thursday at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

Lowry defeated boyhood friend and world No. 1 Rory McIlroy 1-up and Howell ousted the sport's second-ranked player, Tiger Woods, 2-and-1.

The shocking setback for McIlroy extended a disappointing start to the year for a player expected to become one of the sport's dominant figures. He missed the cut in his only other appearance of the season.

Luke Donald and Louis Oosthuizen, the third and fourth-seeded players in this event behind McIlroy and Woods, both survived close matches Thursday.

Donald was a 1-up winner over Marcel Siem and Oosthuizen defeated Richie Ramsay 2-and-1.

The opening round began on Wednesday, but was suspended due to a heavy snowfall. The second round will be played Thursday and the third round will get underway.

Among Thursday's surprises were a 1-up victory for PGA Tour rookie Russell Henley over former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, Alexander Noren's 6-and-4 demolition of Dustin Johnson and the 1-up win for Richard Sterne over Jason Dufner.

Sergio Garcia, Matt Kuchar, Ian Poulter, Bubba Watson, Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk and defending champion Hunter Mahan all advanced.

Lowry chipped in for birdies at both the 11th and 12th holes of his match with McIlroy and then took a 2-up lead at the par-5 13th with an eagle. McIlroy also suffered three bogeys and a double bogey during the match.

The Woods-Howell confrontation was all square with four holes to play, but Howell birdied both the 15th and 16th to seize the advantage.


Devils rally to defeat Washington

WASHINGTON, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- Third-period goals by Andrei Loktionov and Ilya Kovalchuk Thursday rallied New Jersey to a 3-2 victory over Washington.

The Devils, who had lost their previous two games, moved two points in front of Pittsburgh for the lead in the Atlantic Division.

Martin Brodeur needed to make just 17 saves to get the victory, the 664th of his career. He has an 8-4 record this year with two of those losses coming in overtime.

New Jersey faced a 2-1 deficit heading into the final period, but Loktionov tied it 9:19 into the stanza with a slap shot that produced his first goal of the season.

Kovalchuk scored the game-winner on the power play with 8:20 to play.

Patrik Elias delivered the other New Jersey goal shorthanded midway through the second period that forged a 1-1 tie. Mike Ribeiro temporarily put Washington in front at 2-1 with 7:20 to go in the first.

Braden Holtby stopped 34-of-37 shots in taking the loss.


Harvick, Kyle Busch win Daytona qualifiers

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Feb. 21 (UPI) -- Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch won Thursday's two qualifying races for the Daytona 500 and will make up the second row of Sunday's Sprint Cup season opener.

The field for the 500-mile race was set Thursday after Danica Patrick and Jeff Gordon had secured spots in the first row during Sunday's pole qualifying.

Patrick became the first woman to win the pole for any race on NASCAR's premier circuit and will start out front in the series' highlight race on Sunday.

Harvick won the first of the 60-lap qualifying races Thursday, holding off Greg Biffle by 0.16 seconds. Juan Pablo Montoya finished third, followed by Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch. Defending Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski finished seventh.

Michael Waltrip qualified for the race by finishing 14th in the first qualifier. The 2001 and 2003 Daytona 500 champion failed to qualify last year.

Kyle Busch claimed the second race by 0.09 seconds over Kasey Kahne. There were no caution flags in the race, which took just 46 minutes, 24 seconds to complete. It was the second-quickest Daytona 500 qualifying race in history.

Austin Dillon finished third in the second race and will make his first Daytona 500 start. Clint Bowyer wound up fourth, followed by defending Daytona 500 champion Matt Kenseth.


Orlando deals Redick to Bucks

ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 21 (UPI) -- The Orlando Magic sent guard J.J. Redick to Milwaukee Thursday as part of a six-player deal.

Redick was among the biggest names to change teams in advance of the NBA trade deadline.

Redick will go to Milwaukee with guard Ish Smith and forward-center Gustavo Ayon in exchange for forward Tobias Harris and guards Doron Lamb and Beno Udrih.

Through 50 games this season Redick is averaging a career-best 15.1 points and 4.4 assists. He is hitting 39 percent of his 3-point attempts.

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