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February 3, 1997

LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) _ Former North Carolina player Ryan Howison shot a 3-under-par 69 on Sunday for a three-stroke victory over Mark Carnevale in the Nike Tour’s season-opening Lakeland Classic.

Howison, 30, who earned $36,000 for his first tour victory, had a 19-under 269 total on the Grassland course. Carnevale, the PGA Tour’s 1992 Chattanooga Classic winner, closed with a 69.

``I just wanted to shoot something in the 60s today,″ said Howison, who began the final round with a three-stroke lead. ``If I did that and someone beat me, I knew that I had done all that I could do to win the tournament.″

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DURBAN, South Africa (AP) _ South Africa’s Warren Schutte, the 1991 NCAA champion at UNLV, shot a 7-under-par 65 on Sunday for a two-stroke victory over countryman Nico van Rensburg in the FNB Players Championship.

``I was born and brought up in Durban, so winning here is unbelievable,″ said Schutte, who earned $25,180 for his first pro victory. ``Hopefully, this will open up a few doors for me.″

Schutte, who also earned a spot in the World Series of Golf in Akron, Ohio, had a 14-under 274 total on the Durban Country Club course. Van Rensburg closed with a 67.

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POMONA, Calif. (AP) _ Gary Scelzi won his NHRA Top Fuel debut Sunday, beating five-time champion Joe Amato in the Chief Auto Parts Winternationals with a quarterfinal run of 7.712 seconds at 231.18 mph.

Amato, who lost traction at the starting line, finished in 11.934 seconds at 97.16 mph. John Force won the Funny Car title in the season-opening event, while Warren Johnson took the Pro Stock competition.

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) _ Stacey Lovelace scored 25 points as the Atlanta Glory beat New England 86-79 on Sunday, eliminating the Blizzard from the American Basketball League playoff race.

Laurie Byrd added 18 points and Teresa Edwards had 15 for Atlanta (15-19). Carolyn Jones led New England (11-23) with 25 points.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Taj McWilliams scored 23 points and blocked a last-second shot Sunday as the Richmond Rage held off the Portland Power 75-74 in the American Basketball League.

Adrienne Goodson added 16 points for the Rage (18-16), while Natalie Williams led the Power (10-23) with 16 points.

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GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) _ For the second time in five days, China’s Han Xue broke her short-course record in the 50-meter breaststroke.

Han, 15, finished in 30.77 seconds Sunday, breaking the mark of 30.88 she set Wednesday at Glasgow, Scotland. She set the previous record of 30.98 in Beijing last year.

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BEPPU, Japan (AP) _ Ecuador’s Rolando Vera, overcoming rainy near-freezing weather, won the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon on Sunday in 2 hours, 12 minutes.

``I have never experienced such cold weather. My hands and legs were numb with the cold,″ said Vera, 34, who edged 1996 winner Gert Thys of South Africa by 1:14.

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VALENCIA, Spain (AP) _ Eduardo Alcaina led a Spanish sweep in the Valencia marathon Sunday, finishing in 2 hours, 18 minutes, 7 seconds.

Diego Sanchez was second in 2:18:23, followed by Fernando Zuloaga in 2:19:30. Portugal’s Tina Maria Ramos won the women’s division in 2:53:35, followed by Spain’s Conchi Marti in 2:54:34.

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