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Gary Player birdied the second hole in a three-man sudden-death playo

May 25, 1997

SANMU, Japan (AP) _ Gary Player birdied the second hole in a three-man sudden-death playoff Sunday and won the Daiichi Seimei Cup, the opener of Japan’s seniors season.

Lee Trevino shot a 73 and shared fifth at 212 with Gesahiko Uchida, who had a 68.

Player, who led by two strokes entering the round, shot a final round of 1-under-par 71 for a 54-hole total of 8-under 208. Teruo Sugiyama and Australian Terry Gale tied him, Sugiyama with a 6-under 66 and Gale a 68.

The victory was worth $64,600.

Taiwan’s Hsieh Min-nan had a 71 and placed fourth at 211.

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Martinez homers to help first-place Seibu

TOKYO (AP) _ Domingo Martinez hit a three-run home run in the eighth inning as the Pacific League’s front-running Seibu Lions beat the Nippon Ham Fighters 12-6 at the Tokyo Dome Sunday.

The Lions’ Robert Wishnevski, formerly with Oklahoma City, relieved in the eighth and picked up his first victory against one defeat this season, despite giving up a three-run home run to Nigel Wilson in the last inning.

Martinez, formerly with Rochester team, has 12 homers and Wilson, formerly with the Cleveland Indians, has 11.

The Orix BlueWave beat the Chiba Lotte Marines 13-5 on 16 hits, including a two-run home run by Troy Neel, a former Oakland Athletic.

At Kitakyushu, Tuffy Rhodes drove in two runs with a grounder and a home run and Phil Clark knocked in two runs with a grounder and a sacrifice fly, leading the Kintetsu Buffaloes to a 10-4 victory over the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks.

The Hiroshima Toyo Carp, who beat the Hanshin Tigers 6-4 at Hiroshima on a tie-breaking home run in the two-run fourth inning by Dominican Timoniel Perez. The 20-year-old Perez, who joined the Carp last year after graduating from a Dominican high school, has two homers.

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Konychev edges Piccoli to take ninth stage in Italian cycling

CASTROVILLARI, Italy (AP) _ Dmitri Konychev edged out Mariano Piccoli at the finish to capture the ninth stage of the Giro d’Italia Sunday.

Konychev, a Russian with the Roslotto team, beat Italy’s Piccoli by less than a bicycle length at the end of the mountainous, 144-mile route from Cava de’ Tirreni to Castrovillari.

Most of the riders finished close behind, and defending Giro champion Pavel Tonkov retained the leader’s pink jersey.

Marco Pantani, one of the top contenders in the Giro, withdrew Sunday morning following medical tests. Italian Pantani was one of several riders who fell after a cat ran onto the road during Saturday’s eighth stage.

The Giro, which ends June 8 in Milan, continues Monday with one of the easiest of the 22 stages, a mostly flat 189-kilometer (117-mile) ride north to Taranto. Tuesday is a rest day.

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Mori victorious in Japanese golf

YOSHIKI, Japan (AP) _ Shigenori Mori, the overnight lead, shot a 3-under-par 68 Sunday and won the Ube Kosan Open by four strokes.

Mori’s final round of four birdies and a bogey gave him a 72-hole total of 17-under 267.

It was Mori’s second career victory and earned him $155,000.

Shigemasa Higaki shot a 70 and was alone in second place at 271.

Yoshinori Mizumaki had a 68 and shared third at 272 with Tsuneyuki ``Tommy″ Nakajima, who shot a 69. AM91 -----

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Kenyan John Kagwe wins Prague marathon

PRAGUE, Czech Republic (AP) _ John Kagwe of Kenya won the third running of the Prague International Marathon on Sunday, narrowly beating countryman Jackson Kipngok and Russian Leonid Shvetsov.

Pounding along Prague’s cobblestone streets, Kagwe finished the race in 2 hours, 9 minutes and 7 seconds, just four seconds ahead of Kipngok and nine seconds in front of Shvetsov.

After the race, the winner complained about the toll the cobblestones took on him. ``The stones are like metal, you can feel them in your spine,″ Kagwe said.

In cool, sunny weather, thousands of tourists and local fans packed the city’s medieval Old Town Square to watch the finish.

More than 2,000 competitors took part in the race and thousands more participated in shorter runs preceding the marathon earlier Sunday.

Forty-year-old from Djibouti wins Vienna marathon

VIENNA, Austria (AP) _ Former World Cup holder Ahmed Salah of Djibouti won the 14th Vienna marathon on Sunday by four seconds over Fernando Couto of Portugal.

The 40-year-old Salah, winner of the World Cup in 1985, finished the course in 2 hours, 12 minutes and 53 seconds. That was 3.5 seconds off the course record set by Tanzanian Gidamis Shahanga in 1990.

Running in sunny conditions with a cool wind, Petro Sarafynyuk of Ukraine was third, 17 seconds behind the winner.

Another Ukrainian, Tatiana Dzabrailova, won the women’s event in a course record of 2:30:54, knocking a full 50 seconds off the previous women’s record set last year by Romanian Aurica Buia.

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Iceland, France, Spain, 13 others advance to final round

KUMAMOTO, Japan (AP) _ Host Japan, Iceland, France, Spain and 12 other countries qualified Sunday to advance to the final round in the 15th Men’s Handball World Championship.

The four top teams in each of the preliminary round’s four six-team groups advanced to the finals. They also included Russia, Yugoslavia, Sweden, Egypt, Hungary, Lithuania, South Korea, the Czech Republic, Cuba, Norway, Tunisia and Croatia.

The eight teams eliminated were Algeria, Italy, Portugal, China, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Brazil and Morocco.

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