In Sports from United Press International

June 13, 2002 at 3:00 PM
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Garcia has share of early lead at U.S. Open

FARMINGDALE, N.Y., June 13 (UPI) -- Sergio Garcia, ranked fifth in the world and bidding for his first major championship, overcame a shaky start to shoot a 2-under 68 Thursday that gave him a share of the lead with Jeff Maggert midway through the opening round of the 102nd U.S. Open.

Garcia saved par from the deep rough on the opening hole of the Bethpage State Park Black Course and made par from a divot in the middle of the fairway at the second.

From that point, he played almost perfect golf around what the players have said is one of the most difficult courses ever to host the national championship of American golf.

Maggert, who has five top 10 finishes in his 12 Open appearances and who lost out in a battle with Ernie Els at Congressional five years ago, rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt at the final hole to tie Garcia.

Dudley Hart, who hit the first tee shot of the day at the tenth hole, finished at 1-under 69 along with South Korean K.J. Choi. Earlier this year, Choi captured his first PGA Tour event.

Phil Mickelson, who like Garcia is seeking his first major crown, had a typical up-and-down round that left him at even-par 70, the same score shot by Davis Love III.

For the first time in U.S. Open history, players went off both the first and tenth tees in order to speed up play. Those beginning at No. 10 faced an especially difficult test since the first three holes are among the hardest on the course and include the two longest par-4s in the history of the tournament.

Mickelson was among those who started at No. 10 Thursday and he went birdie-birdie to start. But he suffered a double bogey at the 15th and was happy to have battled his way to an even par score.

"I think it is as hard a U.S. Open test as I've played," Mickelson said. "We had no wind, there were soft conditions, I felt like I drove it great and played great just to shoot even par. If the wind blows, I think we are looking at something like Winged Foot in 1979."

Hale Irwin won the Open that year with a 4-over 284.

"The conditions were almost perfect," Garcia said, "and you saw how tough the course was."

As the morning starters were finishing their rounds, Stewart Cink was at even par with two holes to play and Scott Hoch was even with three to go. Two-time champion Ernie Els was 3-over late in his round and Justin Leonard, despite a triple bogey, was at 1-over.

Tiger Woods, hoping to capture his second U.S. Open and keep alive hopes for a Grand Slam, had an afternoon tee time, as did Vijay Singh, David Duval and defending champion Retief Goosen.

Devils fire Constantine; hire Burns

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., June 13 (UPI) -- Following an early exit from the playoffs, the New Jersey Devils Thursday fired Kevin Constantine as coach and replaced him with Pat Burns.

Constantine lasted only a few months, after he was named to succeed Larry Robinson in January, and posted a 20-8 record in the regular season, earning the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference.

After making back-to-back trips to the Stanley Cup Finals, the Devils were ousted by the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round of the playoffs this year. On Thursday, an impatient General Manager Lou Lamoriello decided it was time for another change and went for Burns, who

will be coaching his fourth NHL team.

"Pat Burns was my first choice and this was a thought process over the past few weeks," said Lamoriello, who may find another job for Constantine. "Kevin and I are going to speak the first of the week. He was very professional."

The 51-year-old Burns, who has a reputation as a disciplinarian, was fired as coach of the Boston Bruins eight games into the 2000-01 season. He began with the Montreal Canadiens in 1988, and also has coached the Toronto Maple Leafs, posting a combined record of 412-314-129.

Burns has a winning record with each team, and guided the 1989 Canadiens to the Stanley Cup Finals, where they lost to the Calgary Flames.

"I'm excited," Burns said. "I wish we could start tomorrow morning. I love a lot of the players that are there and I know them. They know how I operate and I think it's going to be a great challenge."

Coaching changes have become commonplace in New Jersey despite its recent success.

Robinson lost his job in January in circumstances similar to those that prompted his hiring. With eight games remaining in the 1999-2000 campaign, Lamoriello felt the Devils needed a change to go far in the playoffs. Robinson replaced Robbie Ftorek, even though the Devils were 21 games over .500.

The Devils responded under Robinson and beat the Dallas Stars in six games in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Even with the limited security, Burns awaits the challenge.

"It's a very solid organization and their commitment to winning is very important to me," Burns said. "This club is very, very capable of winning. It has a good mix of solid veterans with some younger players."

The Devils were the third coaching post for Constantine. He was fired as coach of the Penguins 24 games into the 1999-2000 season. He coached the San Jose Sharks from 1993-96.

Wings try for Cup clincher against 'Canes

DETROIT, June 13 (UPI) -- The Detroit Red Wings are one win away from fulfilling an expected goal of capturing the NHL Stanley Cup and spoiling the improbable run of the Carolina Hurricanes.

After two wins in Raleigh, the Red Wings have a three games to one lead and go for the clincher Thursday night, when the Stanley Cup Finals resume at Joe Louis Arena.

The Red Wings will be without defenseman Jiri Fischer, who was suspended one game for an illegal crosscheck. Fischer delivered a crosscheck to the face of Carolina forward Tommy Westlund in the third period of Monday's 3-0 victory. No penalty was called on the play.

Brett Hull scored the 100th postseason goal of his career, and Dominik Hasek posted his sixth shutout of the playoffs in Monday's win.

With the tally, Hull became just the fourth player in league history to record 100 goals in the postseason. Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and Jari Kurri, teammates on the Edmonton Oilers' dynasty of the 1980s, are the only members of the prestigious club.

Hasek, who became the first goaltender in history to record five shutouts in one postseason with his 7-0 blanking of Colorado in

Game Seven of the Western Conference finals, needed to make just 17 saves to move one game closer to his first Stanley Cup championship.

"It was, by far, our best defensive game of the year," Hasek said. "They had a couple of chances in the second, but after the two power plays, we completely shut them down."

Game Three hero Igor Larionov gave Hasek some breathing room early in the third with his third goal in two games, and Brendan Shanahan sealed the victory for Detroit, which is seeking its 10th Stanley Cup title and third in six years.

The Hurricanes look to become just the second team in history to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the Finals. Only the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, who lost the first three games of their series with the Red Wings, bounced back to win the Cup.

"It's 3-1, it's not over yet," said Carolina goaltender Arturs Irbe. "I know how difficult people feel it is, but it's for us to decide if it's over or not. I don't feel we're done. Games

Five, Six and Seven are scheduled, and we'll take them one at a time."

Scotty Bowman looks to become the first coach in NHL history to win nine championships. He is now tied with his mentor, Toe Blake, with eight titles, including two with Detroit in the late '90s. If successful, Bowman, who also won a Stanley Cup while in Pittsburgh's front office in 1991, will join the NBA's Red Auerbach and Phil Jackson as the only coaches to win nine professional championships.

Auerbach won nine NBA titles with the Boston Celtics, while Jackson captured his third consecutive championship with the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday after winning six with the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s.

Bowman won five Stanley Cups while behind the bench with the Montreal Canadiens in the '70s before leading the Pittsburgh Penguins to their second consecutive championship in 1992 after Bob Johnson passed away.

Indians put P Shuey on DL

CLEVELAND, June 13 (UPI) -- The Cleveland Indians Thursday placed veteran righthanded reliever Paul Shuey on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Monday, with a strained left groin.

This trip to the DL will be the eleventh of his career, and marks the sixth straight season he has been put on the list.

Shuey suffered the injury in a workout before Wednesday's game against the Philadelphia Phillies. In 27 appearances this season, he is 2-0 with a 2.52 ERA while limiting hitters to a .205 batting average.

Shuey, 31, has spent his entire career in Cleveland since being called up in 1994.

The Indians replaced Shuey on the roster by calling up righthander Jerrod Riggan from Triple-A Buffalo of the International League. Riggan began the season in Cleveland. He had no decisions with a 5.56 ERA in seven appearances before being sent to the minors in late April.

White Sox put C Sandy Alomar on DL

CHICAGO, June 13 (UPI) -- The Chicago White Sox have placed veteran catcher Sandy Alomar on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder problems.

Injuries are nothing new for Alomar, who is on the DL for the 10th time in his 15-year major league career. The White Sox' starting catcher played in Wednesday's 2-1 victory over younger brother, Roberto, and the New York Mets, going 0-for-3. He is batting .284 with four homers and 18 RBI in 37 games this season.

To take Alomar's spot on the roster, the White Sox recalled catcher Josh Paul from Triple-A Charlotte of the International League. Paul was batting .247 with 10 RBI in 43 games at Charlotte.

Citrus Bowl to have sole sponsor in 2003

ORLANDO, June 13 (UPI) -- The Florida Citrus Bowl, played on New Year's Day in Orlando and televised by ABC Sports, will have a new name and sole sponsor in 2003.

Florida Citrus Sports (FCS) and Capital One have announced a four-year exclusive partnership to hold the contest, matching up teams from the Big Ten and Southeast Conferences.

In 2000, Capital One signed on as co-sponsor of the game with the Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC), establishing the Capital One Florida Citrus Bowl. The 19-year relationship between FCS and the Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC) ended in April after partnership renewal negotiations between the two organizations were unsuccessful.

Capital One filled the financial void left open by the FDOC partnership. The Capital One Bowl game will continue to be managed by Florida Citrus Sports.

The Capital One Financial Corporation, a Fortune 500 company, is headquartered in Falls Church, Va.

"Recognizing the importance of this game to the Orlando community and its rich heritage, it was important for us to not only continue our relationship with the Bowl Game, but to expand our partnership as well," said Bill McDonald, Capital One Executive Vice President of Brand Marketing. "We're thrilled to continue our involvement in college sports."

This will be the third name change for the contest. It was originally called The Tangerine Bowl, and in 1983, it changed to Florida Citrus Bowl.

The combined payout to the game's 2002 participants, Tennessee and Michigan, was $8.5 million, the highest payout among non-Bowl Championship Series (BCS) bowls. With Capital One's commitment, and that of ABC Sports, that payout is expected to grow to $10.625 million in the next four years.

LoVecchio to transfer to Indiana

BLOOMINGTON, Ind., June 13 (UPI) -- Matt LoVecchio, who decided to transfer from Notre Dame after playing poorly in the spring game, will finish his collegiate career at Indiana.

LoVecchio led Notre Dame to seven straight victories as a freshman in 2000, but took a step back last season, losing his job to Carlyle Holiday, who appeared to have a better handle on the West Coast offense installed by new coach Tyrone Willingham. LoVecchio appeared in seven games as a sophomore and completed 34-of-69 passes for 287 yards with three touchdowns and four interceptions.

During the spring game, LoVecchio completed just six-of-14 passes for 58 yards, and three passes intercepted. He said he decided on Indiana after a meeting with Coach Gerry DiNardo.

"After visiting with coach DiNardo and his staff, I felt Indiana would be the best place for me," LoVecchio told the Bloomington Herald-Times from his home in Franklin Lakes, N.J., a suburb of New York City. "I felt comfortable. I'm happy with my decision. I took my time, and I'm pleased with it. I'm happy the decision is made, too, so I can get back to focusing on football and getting ready to improve my skills. I'm just excited to go there and compete and do what's necessary to help."

As a Notre Dame freshman, the 6-3, 200-pounder threw just one interception, and his .584 completion percentage (73 of 125) was the fourth best single-season percentage in school history. He had at least two scoring passes in each of his four starts for the Fighting Irish. He completed his ND career with nine starts in 15 appearances, 107-of-194 passing (.552) for 1,267 yards, 12 touchdowns and five interceptions.

As per NCAA transfer rules, LoVecchio will have to sit out the 2002 season and will have two years eligibility remaining.

Mexico, Italy get needed wins at World Cup

SEOUL, June 13 (UPI) -- Having seen two of its fellow soccer powers summarily dismissed from the World Cup the two previous days, Italy found itself standing next to the exit Thursday and one good shove from Mexico would have created yet another shocking departure.

At the end of a tense 90 minutes, however, the Italians survived to play again while Mexico, enjoying its status as one of the most pleasant surprises of the World Cup, won its group and set up a possible second-round match with the United States.

Both Mexico and Italy advanced out of group play Thursday, as did Brazil and Turkey, leaving just four spots in the second round to be determined. Those positions will be filled Friday when the Americans try to finish off their thus-far solid performance with a win over Poland.

The day's biggest setback was suffered by Costa Rica, which was given little chance of advancing out of Group C but which found itself in second place going into the final round-robin games Thursday.

A 5-2 loss to Brazil, however, left Costa Rica vulnerable and Turkey took advantage by recording a 3-0 decision over China. Turkey and Costa Rica both finished with four points, but the Turks made up a deficit of three in the goal-differential tiebreaker and closed group play three goals in front of the Costa Ricans.

Italy also found itself worrying about goal differential when it fell behind Mexico, thanks to one of the most spectacular goals scored in the World Cup.

As it turned out, a 1-0 loss to Mexico would have seen the Italians through because of Croatia's unexpected 1-0 loss to Ecuador in the other Group G game. But Italy felt much better when second-half substitute Alessandro Del Piero headed home a cross in the 85th minute to bring about a 1-1 tie.

The deadlock was good enough for Mexico, which for most of the night made Italy look average.

Mexico's goal came in the 34th minute when Cuauhternoc Blanco sent a long across the box. Jared Borgetti, who was running away from the goal on the left side of the penalty box when the ball arrived, managed to partially swivel his body, strick the ball with the back of his head and loft it behind him toward the right post over astonished Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.

The ball settled into the net, leaving Italian fans in a state of shock and fearful that they would soon be following in the footsteps of France and Argentina. Both of those pre-tournament favorites were knocked out before the second round of the tournament could begin.

Among those heading into the second round, Brazil looks as strong as anybody and also has history working on its side. No European country has ever won the World Cup when it was played outside Europe.

Brazil had already ensured its advancement thanks to wins in its first two games and looked like a machine in running over Costa Rica.

Ronaldo, twice named the best soccer player in the world and trying to atone for a disappointing championship match against France four years ago, scored for the third time in as many matches.

Rivaldo and Junior also scored for the Brazilians, who if they win their round of 16 game could face England in the quarterfinals.

In the second round next Monday, Brazil will play the runner-up from Group H -- which could be any team from that group. Japan, Russia, Belgium and Tunisia will determine the spots in Group H on Friday.

"In the second phase, every game is difficult," Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said. "We have to keep our calm, understand our power and understand that we have to reach each game with our mind concentrated on the game itself."

Turkey's 3-0 win over China came about thanks chiefly to Hasan Sas -- who scored once and had two assists.

The Turks felt they were deserving of a second-round berth because their 2-1 loss to Brazil in the opening group game was tainted by a very questionable penalty kick given to the Brazilians.

"We have kept our promise," Turkey coach Senol Gunes said. "Qualification to the World Cup finals and then progress to the second round."

Friday's concluding group games will involve both the host countries as Japan and South Korea will try to reach the second round for the first time.

Japan goes into its match against Tunisia with the lead in Group H, having four points thanks to a tie with Belgium and a win over Russia.

Russia has three points, Belgium two and Tunisia one. Japan is in excellent shape, needing only a tie with the unheralded Tunisian side to advance. The Japanese could even advance with a loss.

South Korea faces a more difficult test, however, since it must meet Portugal -- one of Europe's best teams which bounced back from its shocking loss to the United States early in the tournament by mauling Poland, 4-0.

The United States and South Korea both have four points going into the final game with Portugal at three. A tie for the Americans would see them through to the next round. Even if the United States loses, it would still advance if South Korea beats Portugal. A one-sided Portugal victory and a narrow American loss could still be enough to put the Americans in the second round.

A victory in the group for the United States would be an excellent achievement, but it would also put the Americans up against Italy in the second round. A second-place finish in the group for Team USA would set up a game against Mexico.

Americans try for second round at World Cup

SEOUL, June 13 (UPI) -- Needing a draw or a win to ensure its advancement to the second round, the United States will look for another strong performance from goalkeeper Brad Friedel Friday when it takes Poland on the final day of group play at the World Cup.

Friedel recorded the first save of a penalty kick at the World Cup Monday, helping the U.S. hold on for a 1-1 draw against South Korea.

Though they only require a draw against a team that has yet to pick up a point -- or even a goal in the competition, the Americans are aware of Poland's mindset entering its final match. It was just four year ago that the United States was out of contention entering its final match against Yugoslavia in France.

"I think, first and foremost, you want to go out and save some face," said Friedel, who was a member of the ill-fated 1998 American squad. "I think our performance against Yugoslavia was probably our best performance of the tournament.

"When you are a professional and when you're competitive, you want to prove yourself each and every day and that's what the Poles will be doing."

Friedel's Man-of-the-Match performance against the co-host Monday, when he made nine saves, likely has ended the American goalkeeping controversy, which has been the subject of speculation for months. The Blackburn Rovers keeper seems to have outdueled Tottenham Hotspur's Kasey Keller for the No. 1 job.

"I think one of the things that separates Brad from most goalkeepers is his feet are outstanding and his ability to play balls out of the back under pressure," said United States coach Bruce Arena, a goalkeeper in his playing days. "He is an offensive weapon for us. That is really your overriding factor in making that decision."

Arena's 23-man squad is down to 22. Reserve defender Steve Cherundulo is expected to be unavailable for the rest of the World Cup due to a knee injury.

However, Earnie Stewart, the Americans' leading scorer in qualification, is available for selection after missing the South Korea match with a groin injury.

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