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Names In The Game

August 19, 1995

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Injured Gary Sheffield could be ready to rejoin the Florida Marlins in three weeks.

Sheffield tore a ligament in his left thumb June 10, and was not expected back this season, but he has regained the full range of motion in the thumb.

``I think I’m a lot farther along than anybody expected,″ Sheffield said.

He hit off a tee Friday for the first since his injury and is eager to play.

``It feels like a brand new thumb,″ Sheffield said. ``It’s stronger, really. What feels weak is my wrist from not using my forearm and wrist area.

``To get out here this fast and be hitting is amazing. It felt great.″

He said one thing troubling him is that he doesn’t want to take playing time away from Andre Dawson.

Dawson, 41, has had a resurgence since becoming the starter in right field, but he probably is playing in his final year.

``He and I talk all the time about me coming back and what it would do to him,″ Sheffield said. ``I respect him that much. I want him to go out the way he deserves to go out.″

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PITTSBURGH (AP) _ A woman will play for the first time in the 65th Tri-State PGA Championship.

Jodi Renner of Sewickley Heights was a top amateur before she turned pro and joined the LPGA Tour last year.

``I’m not making some kind of feminist statement,″ she said. ``It’s just that I took two weeks off the tour, and the tournament’s being held on my home course, and I just wanted to do something while I was at home.″

Renner’s entry into the $20,000 championship at Allegheny Country Club drew a doubled-edged reception from Bob Ford. He is head pro at Oakmont Country Club, one of the top playing club pros in the country and the defending Tri-State champion.

``We’re delighted to have her,″ Ford said. ``Let’s hope Jodi plays well and helps increase participation by women.

``And, I’d like to say that this equalization is a two-way street, and that I’m very much looking forward to playing in an LPGA Tour event.″

The tournament will be played Monday and Tuesday.

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SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (AP) _ Cary Schuman and John Lisanti introduced a line of golf clubs made of melted-down nuclear missiles from the former Soviet Union.

They call them the Peace Missile _ a driver _ and the Peace Putter.

The clubs have been a hit with members of the military, especially high ranking officers, who call from all over the world to order them.

Others who have turned their golf bags into missile silos include President Clinton and actors Jack Lemmon and Sean Connery, according to Schuman.

The clubs, which sell for $109 per putter and $325 per driver, began their lives as an SS-23 mid-range ballistic missile. After those were banned under the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, Lisanti arranged for the outer portion of one to be imported to him.

The parts are melted down in two factories in the Reno and Los Angeles areas, then mixed with stainless steel and refashioned into the clubs. Next, official certificates authenticating their origin are printed and they are on their way.

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HOUSTON (AP) _ Not even divine intervention could explain how a pastor hit two holes-in-one in the same round of golf.

Patrick Abrams, the 59-year-old interim pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Pasadena, says it was plain ol’ luck.

``I was elated the first time; amazed the second time,″ he said.

On Friday, Abrams used a 9-iron to ace the 158-yard No. 3 hole at Bay Forest Golf Club in La Porte and an 8-iron to ace the 155-yard 17th hole. Both are par 3 holes.

A golfer for 29 years, Abrams plays to a nine-handicap. He golfs at Bay Forest twice a week.

The odds of making a hole-in-one are 12,500 to 1, according to the National Hole-in-One Foundation in Dallas. But two in the same round? Easily in the millions, statisticians say.

His first ace hit about 4 feet from the pin and went in on the first bounce. The second fell 10 feet short of the pin before rolling.

``Those are the sort of things that occur that there’s a certain amount of skill involved; also there’s a lot of luck,″ he said.

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