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Update on the latest sports

June 14, 2018

PGA-US OPEN

A rough 1st 9 for Mickelson, McIllroy and Spieth

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (AP) — The U.S. Open has begun on a century-old golf course with a new look. The fairways at Shinnecock Hills are 15 yards wider on average than they were for the 2004 U.S. Open at the course on New York’s Long Island.

Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth already are falling behind.

The marquee threesome of the morning was a collective 15-over par through nine holes, and then McIlroy double-bogeyed the first hole, his 10th on the round. Through nine holes, McIlroy was 7 over, while Spieth and Mickelson were both 4 over.

Three veteran golfers chasing their first major victory got off to strong starts.

Matt Kuchar, who has been close in major events several times in his 18 years as a professional, birdied the first and fifth holes. Ian Poulter, whose best U.S. Open finish is 12th in 2006, birdied the fourth and seventh holes to join Kuchar at 2 under. Charley Hoffman, who finished eighth in last year’s tournament and was 12th at this season’s Masters, started on the back nine and birdied Nos. 10 and 13.

SOCCER-WORLD CUP

World Cup starts

MOSCOW (AP) — The opening match of the World Cup has kicked off in Russia.

The host country was facing Saudi Arabia in the Group A match at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

The other two teams in Group A, Egypt and Uruguay, will play on Friday, along with the four teams in Group B — Portugal, Spain, Morocco and Iran.

Russia is hosting the tournament with a home team that doesn’t have much chance to win, and a nation eager to wipe away bad memories about doping controversies, criticism over its incursion into the Ukraine, allegations of election meddling and poisoning.

Russian authorities are also reluctant to have the World Cup start against a backdrop of clogged roads. Some workers in Moscow were given the day off in a push to ease the Russian capital’s notorious traffic jams.

MLB-SCHEDULE

Verlander looks to get back to dominating

UNDATED (AP) — Justin Verlander matched his season high when he allowed three earned runs in his last start, a 7-3 win for the Houston Astros over Texas last week. The American League ERA leader will try to return to his usual dominating self when he starts at Oakland Thursday afternoon.

Verlander, who’s 8-2 with a 1.45 ERA, has allowed only 51 hits in 93 1/3 innings this season, striking out 113 in his first full season in Houston.

Elsewhere in the majors:

— After pitching only relievers during a three-game sweep of Toronto, the Rays will go the more traditional route when stingy starter Blake Snell (8-3, 2.30 ERA) gets the ball at Yankee Stadium. Making a strong bid for his first All-Star selection, the 25-year-old lefty is 3-0 with a 0.38 ERA over his last four starts. Snell made his big league debut in the Bronx in April 2016, allowing one run and two hits with six strikeouts in five innings. New York is 15-4 against left-handed starters this season.

— Freddie Freeman didn’t get down on himself after his 16-game hitting streak ended on June 4. Instead, the Atlanta slugger just picked right back up where left off — extending his latest streak to seven games with a pair of hits in a win over the New York Mets on Wednesday. The first baseman has now hit safely in 23 of his last 24 games entering a home series with the San Diego Padres, including homering in his last three games.

— Lance Lynn looked like anything but the same pitcher who won 71 games over the last five seasons in St. Louis during his first month with the Minnesota Twins this season. After posting an 8.37 ERA in April, however, the right-hander has recovered nicely and is looking well worth the one-year, $12-million contract Minnesota gave to him before the season. Going into his start at Detroit, Lynn has allowed two or fewer runs in five of his last seven starts. The 31-year-old has a 1.50 ERA in two starts in June, and he’s lowered his overall ERA to 5.08 for the season.

MLB-NATIONALS-OWNERS

Mark Lerner takes control of Nationals from father Ted

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mark Lerner has replaced 92-year-old father Ted Lerner as managing principal owner of the Nationals.

The team announced that Ted Lerner is stepping down and will be succeeded by his son after Major League Baseball approved the move at its quarterly meeting in New York.

Ted Lerner has controlled the Nationals since his family bought the team from MLB in 2006, the year after the team moved from Montreal. The real estate magnate says owning a team in his hometown was always a dream and he knew his son eventually would run the club.

The 64-year-old son assumes the leading ownership role about a year after his left leg was amputated because of cancer. He says it’s special for his parents to see him take control of the franchise.

CONGRESSMAN SHOT-BASEBALL

Scalise to start at second base in annual game

WASHINGTON (AP) — Look for Steve Scalise (skuh-LEES’) to be wearing a U.S. Capitol Police ball cap at Thursday night’s annual congressional baseball game.

The cap is in honor of the two officers who returned fire after the Republican congressman from Louisiana and four others were shot at a GOP practice a year ago in Alexandria, Virginia.

Scalise was gravely wounded from the shooting. He’s had nine surgeries and still walks with crutches or a cane.

The third-ranking House Republican leader tells Fox News said that while he still has physical limitations, he’ll be starting at second base for the game at National Park.

The 52-year-old lawmaker jokes that “tells you how bad the talent level is.” He says he “can field balls and still make the throw at first.”

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL-OBIT-DONOVAN

Hall of Famer and Olympic gold medalist Anne Donovan dies

UNDATED (AP) — Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer Anne Donovan has died. The 6-foot-8 center won a national championship at Old Dominion, two Olympic gold medals as a player and another as a coach in 2008.

Donovan became the first female coach and the youngest person to win a title in the WNBA when at 42 she guided the Seattle Storm to a championship in 2004.

She was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995, was part of the inaugural class of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999 and was inducted in the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2015.

Donovan died Wednesday of heart failure. She was 56.

SPORTS BETTING

New Jersey launches sports betting

OCEANPORT, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey has launched sports betting.

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy kicked off a new era of gambling in the state, making the first official bets on Thursday morning at Monmouth Park, a racetrack near the Jersey shore.

He placed two $20 bets — one on Germany to win soccer’s World Cup and another on the New Jersey Devils to win next year’s Stanley Cup.

New Jersey won a U.S. Supreme Court case last month that cleared the way for all 50 states to offer sports betting should they choose.

The Borgata casino planned to start taking bets 30 minutes after Murphy made his.

Other casinos and tracks eventually plan to offer sports betting, but none has announced plans to do so in the next few days.

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