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January 2019
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Tiger Woods five back in opening round; Micheel leads U.S. Open

compiled from staff, wire and PGA news

Pebble Beach, California, located in the Monterey Peninsula, is just as tough a golf course as it was 10 years ago. But Tiger Woods is not dominating like he did back in 2000.

A very punishing round on day one featured Shaun Micheel and Paul Casey making birdie putts on the 18th hole to share the lead at 2-under-par 69 with Brandon De Jonge, whose best shot was a wedge he holed for eagle.

Shaun Micheel (pga)

Micheel’s first day is an amazing one, considering he is playing with his dying mother on his mind.

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, the number 1 and 2 golfers in the world. did not have a single birdie in round one. It’s the first time that the world’s top two golfers have ever competed in the same tournament without making a birdie.

It will not get and easier for Woods and Mickelson or the current leaders. Playing in gentle conditions in the opening round, only nine players managed to break par.

Tiger Woods (Joel Torres and Columbus Wired photo)

De Jonge, the 29-year-old from Zimbabwe playing in his first U.S. Open, holed out with a wedge for eagle on the difficult par-5 14th hole and hit a stiff on the par-3 17th for his round of 69. Casey got away with average iron play by using only 23 putts.

Woods hit every green on Thursday in opening with eight pars, extending his streak to 34 holes without a bogey in a U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, but never was able to get in position for a birdie. His Thursday ended badly, with a three-putt bogey from the fringe on the 16th hole, missing an 8-foot birdie on the 17th and laying up in a bunker to take bogey on the 18th for a 3-over-par 74.

Defending champion Lucas Glover bogeyed his first two holes and grinded out a 73. Not so fortunate were the 15 players who failed to break an 80, and a few U.S. Open champions who barely did.

St. Louis Blues improve their goaltending; gets Halak in trade

compiled from staff, St. Louis Blues and NHL reports

The St. Louis Blues now a goalie who fits into their youth movement plans. They acquired Jaroslav Halak, fresh off his surprising playoff run with the Montreal Canadiens.

The Blues picked up the 25-year-old Halak, whose play helped the Canadiens make a surprise run to the Eastern Conference finals, on Thursday for a pair of minor league forwards, Lars Eller and Ian Schultz.

Halak won a pair of Game 7′s and helped Montreal, the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, bounce heavily favored teams Washington and Pittsburgh out of the playoffs. He won three straight games and eliminated the Capitals by stopping 131 of 134 shots.

Both Candiens goalies, Halak and 22-year-old Carey Price, were due to become restricted free agents on july 1, and Montreal decided to keep Price.

Jaroslav Halak St. Louis Blues (nhl)

With the chance to acquire Halak, Blues management made up their minds that they would not continue negotiations on a contract extension with Chris Mason, the 34-year-old starting goalie the last two seasons who can become an unrestricted free agent.

Halak was originally picked by Montreal in the ninth round (271 overall) of the 2003 entry draft. He was 26-13-5 last season and ranked fourth in the NHL in save percentage (.940), ninth in goals against (2.40) and was tied for fifth with five shutouts.

Adrian Aucoin re-signs with Phoenix Coyotes

compiled from staff, Phoenix Coyotes and NHL news

The Phoenix Coyotes have re-signed defenseman Adrian Aucoin to a two-year contract.

Adrian Aucoin (PHX)

The 36-year-old Aucoin, had eight goals and 20 assists while playing in all 82 regular-season games in his first year with Phoenix. He also garnered two assists in seven playoff games and led the NHL with six shootout-winning goals.

Aucoin joined the Coyotes after playing for Calgary, Chicago, Vancouver, Tampa Bay and the New York Islanders. He has 116 goals, 248 assists and 683 penalty minutes in 933 NHL games.

WORLD CUP SOCCER: United States plays tiny Slovenia

compiled from staff and wire reports

The United States soccer team plays Slovenia Friday at Ellis Park.

The United States has played twice before at Ellis Park, a downtown stadium with a very high upper deck, like the old Mile High Stadium in Denver. Ellis Park opened in 1928 and holds 55,686 for the World Cup.

In November 2007, the United States beat South Africa 1-0 on a Steve Cherundolo goal. Last June, the Americans took a two-goal lead at halftime against Brazil in the Confederations Cup final only to lose 3-2.

United States Flag (file)

Slovenia Flag (file)

The U.S. has put in alot of hard work over the past two years and it will mean nothing unless they get at least a tie against Slovenia.

Slovenia is ranked 25th in the World Cup, 11 places behind the U.S.

Slovenia beat Algeria 1-0 last week.

Following an opening game tie of 1-1 against favored England last weekend, the U.S. needs at least one point because the English will be facing Algeria in the late game at Cape Town. With a win over the smallest of the 32 nations in the World Cup tournament, the Americans will take a huge step towards reaching the elimination part of the competition for the first time since 2002.

Four years ago, the United States came back from an opening 3-0 loss to the Czech Republic and played to a 1-1 tie with eventual champion Italy. Then they were eliminated for a sloppy 2-1 defeat to Ghana.

An underdog against England, the Americans head into this game a rare World Cup favorite in a matchup of nations at opposite ends of the size scale. At almost 310 million, the United States has the largest population among the 32 World Cup countries. At 2 million, Slovenia has the smallest.

PRO TENNIS: Upcoming Wimbledon Tournament Rankings

compiled from staff, wire and ATP reports

Roger Federer was the number 1 seed for Wimbledon ahead of Rafael Nadal in a reverse of their world rankings.

Federer, the defending champion and six-time Wimbledon winner, received top billing Wednesday even though Nadal recently unseated him as the number 1 player in the world rankings.

Nadal moved into the upper spot after winning the French Open, while Federer slipped to number 2 after losing in the quarterfinals in Paris.

Roger Federer (ATP)

Wimbledon uses its discretion to seed players based on their grass-court record.

The draw will be held Friday, with the two-week Grand Slam tournament starting on Monday.

There wasn’t anything surprising with the seedings on the women’s tour. Serena Williams is number 1 and her sister, Venus at number 2.

Federer has won a record 16 Grand Slam titles, including this year’s Australian Open. But he has not won a tournament since Australia and will be coming into Wimbledon in a slump. He lost to Lleyton Hewitt in Sunday’s final in Halle, Germany for only his second loss on grass in more than seven years.

Nadal beat Federer in the 2008 Wimbledon final but was injured and unable to defend his title last year. Spaniard won his fifth French Open earlier this month, but lost to Feliciano Lopez last week in the quarterfinals of the Wimbledon grass-court tuneup at Queen’s Club.

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