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ENTERTAINMENT: Rue McClanahan, “Blanche” of Golden Girls fame dead at 76

compiled from staff and wire reports

Rue McClanahan, the Emmy Award winning actress who played Southern Belle Blanche Devereaux, a sexually-liberated character on the hit TV show “The Golden Girls” is dead. She was 76.

Her manager, Barbara Lawrence said she died at New York-Presbyterian Hospital of a brain hemorrage.

Rue McClanahan (Miller Bledsoe photo)

McClanahan had an active career in off-Broadway and regional stages in the 1960′s before she was selected for TV in the 1970′s for the best-friend character Vivian, on the hit series “Maude,” starring Beatrice Arthur. After that series ended in 1978, McClanahan landed the role as Aunt Fran on “Mama’s Family” in 1983.

But her best role role came two years later in 1985 when she co-starred with Beatrice Arther, Betty White and Estelle Getty in “The Golden Girls,” a record-setting hit NBC show that broke mold for sitcoms by focusing on four aging women living in Miami, Florida. The show ran from September 1985 until May 1992, covering 180 episodes.

Rue also played a recurring role on “All in the Family” as Irene Lorenzo who with her husband Frank, played a couple  that were “swingers.

She was born Eddi-Rue McClanahan in Healdton, Oklahoma to building contractor William McClanahan and his wife Dreda Rheua-Nell, a beautician. She graduated with honors from the University of Tulsa with a degree in German and theatre arts.

McClanahan was married six times and had one son, Mark Bish.

Garrett Wittels hitting streak at 56 games; it’ll continue in 2011

compiled from staff, wire and Florida International news

Robin Ventura’s 58 game hitting streak is safe until the 2011 season. But Garrett Wittels now knows how Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio felt like when he reached 56 games in a row.

Wittels extended his hitting streak to 56 games on Saturday, the same number of  Joe DiMaggio’s major league record hit streak in 1941, but Wittels’ Golden Panthers baseball team were eliminated from the Coral Gables, Florida NCAA regional with a 15-9 loss to Dartmouth College.

Garrett Wittels (FIU)

Wittels hit an RBI double in the first inning, leaving him two games shy of the NCAA Division I record set by Oklahoma State’s Robin Ventura in 1987. Wittels attempt to break that mark will resume during the 2011 season which will began in February.

Garrett Wittels went 3 for 5 in the game and finished the season with a .417 average and a FIU season-record 100 hits. He broke the previous school record of 98 set by Kenny Aderley in 1986.

Wittels began his streak with a bunt single in the Golden Panthers’ season opening game against Maryland way back on February 19.

FIU, ending the season at 36-25, failed to provide Wittels another game to extend the hitting streak this season after blowing an early four-run lead.

Rickie Fowler continues lead at soggy Memorial Tournament

MEGASPORTSNEWS.COM GOLF COVERAGE

Also contributing to this story is staff writer Dan Hock

DUBLIN, OHIO – Rickie Fowler overcame six hours of rain delays and a 62 shot by Ricky Barnes, and played another round of without a bogey to shoot a 3-under 69 and built a three-shot lead over Barnes and Tim Petrovic. The 62 was the lowest round of Barnes’ career.

Rickie Fowler talks to the media (Columbus Wired and Joel Torres photo)

The 43-year-old Petrovic pulled to within one shot late in the 3rd round until the 17th hole, when he missed the green left for a bogey and Fowler made a 20-footer for his final birdie of the day and round.

Fowler at one point was 16-under 200 and had the largest 54-hole lead at the Memorial since Woods led by six shots in 2000. However, Fowler at times seemed to be in a hurry on the golf course at times.

The trend in 2010 on the PGA Tour is that the younger golfers had been able to win several tournaments. On Sunday, Fowler will try to become the third golfer in their 20′s in the last six weeks to win a tournament. If he is successful, he’ll join Rory McIlroy, who won at Quail Hollow two days before his 21st birthday, and Jason Day, who was 22 when he won the the Byron Nelson Championship.

Phil Mickelson tees off (Columbus Wired and Joel Torres Photo)

Turning to the older golfers especially world number 1 Tiger Woods and number 2 Phil Mickelson both whom after finishing their rounds, refused to talk to the media.

Woods scored a 69, which included a double bogey on the 10th hole when his tee shot went 45 degrees to the right of out-of-bounds. He was 6-under 210, tied for 20th,  putting out of contention. The four-time winner of the Memorial, Woods has not been this far out of first place since he finished 17 shots off the pace in 1998.

In his third tournament with a chance to become number 1 in the world by winning , Phil Mickelson shot only a 70 on a day when everybody was easily scoring. The greens were soft from all of the rain and there was no wind. He was 8-under 208.

Nick Price and Tommy Armour III tied for lead in Iowa Champions Tour event

compiled from staff, wire and Champions Tour news

Nick Price’s name has crept up to the top of the leaderboard on a Saturday afternoon in the Principal Charity Classic in West Des Moines, Iowa.

The big question is, can Price do it on Sunday to get a win. Price always plays lights-out in the second round at the Iowa tournament.

A loser the last two years after holding at least a share of the second-round  lead in the Champions Tour event at Glen Oaks Country Club, Price shot a 6-under-65 on Saturday to match Tommy Armour III at 10-under 132.

Nick Price (Champions Tour)

Armour took a three-stroke lead into the second round, but shot a 69 and missed a birdie putt on number 18 that would have put him ahead.

The 2003 winner, Don Pooley, was 9 under after a 65, Bruce Vaughan (66), Dan Forsman (68) and Russ Cochran (68) were another shot back.

In the second round, Price followed a birdie on number 8 with a long eagle putt on the par-5 ninth hole and a birdie putt from the fringe on number 10 to take the lead. He added birdies on numbers 11 and number 15, but struggled to gain a bogey at number 17.

Armour tied the course record with a 63 on Friday, becoming the first player in the tournament’s 10-year history to grab a three-shot lead heading into Saturday.

Pocono 500 Pole goes to Kyle Busch

compiled from staff, wire and NASCAR news

Kyle Busch will start his 200th career Sprint Cup race from the pole position.

Winner of two of the last four races, Busch turned a lap at 169.485 mph Friday to win the pole for Sunday’s NASCAR race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania and extend his midseason hot streak which catapulted him to second in the points standings.

Kyle Busch (nascar)

Busch is a driver that most NASCAR fans hate because of his attitudewill be trying to use his pole position into a respectable finish or even a win. His best finish at Pocono is fourth in 2005, and he hasn’t finished higher than 16th over the last two years.

Busch won his second pole of 2010, claiming victory at Richmond last month after starting number 1.

Clint Bowyer will start second and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., will start third.

Kyle Busch has had quite a six-race stretch that has seen his season go from 12th in the points standings to second, due to a third-place finish last week to put him 29 points behind leader Kevin Harvick.

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