The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 29, 1998 · Page 18
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 18

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Friday, May 29, 1998
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04 FRIDAY. MAY 29, 1998 THE SAUNA JOURNAL PRO GOLF 4 share lead at Memorial Love, Pate, Sindelar, Dodds fire rounds of 66 at Muirfield Village By RON SIRAK The Associated Press LOVE DUBLIN, Ohio — The only one of the last nine major championship winners not under par after the first day of the Memorial Tournament was Mark O'Meara — and he wasn't there. PGA Championship winner Davis Love III was tied for the lead with Steve Pate, Trevor Dodds and Joey Sindelar after shooting a 6-under-par 66 Thursday on a firm and fast Muirfield Village layout. But while players went low in the first round, no one separated from the field as 19 players were bunched within two strokes at the top of the leaderboard. U.S. Open champion Ernie Els was among seven players in at 67. Steve Jones, Tom Lehman and Mark Brooks, who won the U.S. Open, British Open and PGA in 1996, were two strokes back at 68. Last year's British Open winner, Justin Leonard, was in with a 69 and 1997 Masters champion Tiger Woods had a 70. O'Meara, the winner of this year's Masters, is playing in Germany this week. Even Nick Faldo, who has struggled since winning the 1996 Masters, got in under par with a 71. "It's amazing, the scores," Love said after he tested his sore back for the first time in four weeks and made five birdies in seven holes beginning at No. 5 to surge to the top of the leaderboard. "The greens are perfect, the fairways are perfect, the course played a little shorter than it has in the past," Love said. The reason the course played shorter was because the soggy sounds familiar to the Memorial Tournament in the past were gone. After rain that delayed, interrupted or canceled 13 of the possible 36 rounds over the last nine years, the 23rd Memorial opened beneath bright sunshine, presenting the players with a whole new set of challenges on an extremely fast course. Among those rising to the occasion were Els, who usually starts playing well about this time of the year. "You got to be careful out there," Els said about the Jack Nicklaus- designed Muirfield course. "I played with Freddy (Couples) today and we hit so many 3-woods. You have to keep the ball in play." LPGA ROCHESTER, N.Y — Joan Pitcock, benefiting from a few adjustments in her golf swing, opened with a 5-under-par 67 Thursday to join Moira Dunn in the lead of the LPGA Rochester International. "I'm just kind of coming around to playing well again," said Pitcock, an 11-year tour veteran who notched her sole victory in 1996. "It's a fine line between winning and just having a career out here." Canada's Dawn Coe-Jones, wielding a new putter, and Brandie Burton were just off the pace at 68. Two shots back were Janice Gibson and Heather Daly-Donofrio. Power-hitter Laura Davies crashed to a 10-over 82 in her first outing in five years on the tight, tree-lined Locust Hill Country Club course. She had a quadruple-bogey 9 on No. 4. Pitcock, 30, rang up five birdies, knocking in a 40-foot putt on No. 8 and a 20-footer on No. 12. She ran into trouble just once, but recovered on No. 7 by putting in from the fringe to save par. V PRO TENNIS T PRO BASKETBALL Pacers still reeling from Game 5 Indiana faces do-or-die situation tonight at home in Game 6 with champion Bulls By CHRIS SHERIDAN The Associated Press EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS GAMES Chicago at Indiana, 8 p.m. (NBC), Chicago leads series 3-2 INDIANAPOLIS — A stench still lingered around the Indiana Pacers on Thursday, one day after they stunk up the joint in Chicago to fall behind 3-2 in the Eastern Conference finals. "It would have been different if this was the first game and we had been blown out," Antonio Davis said. "But we got blown out in the fifth game, and that hurts. It hurt everybody." To say the Pacers had put the loss behind them would be untrue. Clearly, the Bulls have planted the seeds of self-doubt in the heads of the Pacers. Coach Larry Bird made the team watch a tape of the entire first half of Wednesday night's 106-87 loss, and it was not a pretty picture. The Pacers did none of the things they needed to do, from deterring Scottie Pippen's relentless drives to the basket to setting the picks Reggie Miller needs to have a clean look on his jump shot. "To lose the way we did really affects your pride," Rik Smits said. "The way we struggled, that affects confidence. I mean, we missed 18 field goals in a row. That gets to you at a certain point." Jalen Rose, suspended for Game 5 for leaving the bench during a late altercation in Game 4, wasn't able to watch the game from his hotel room after the staff kicked him out when the rest of the team checked out. He ended up watching the game on television in a meeting room, and he wasn't ordering up room service as the blowout unfolded. "I had no appetite," he said. Each of the Pacers pointed to aggressiveness as the key missing component, and a few of them almost admitted that their confidence could be diminished going into Game 6 tonight. "I look at it from the standpoint that it can't get any worse," said Miller, who also still appeared stunned by the magnitude of Indiana's defeat. The Pacers went into the game knowing they had a chance to move within one victory of eliminating the two-time defending champions, and Bird was certain his veteran-laden team would rise to the challenge. That's what made the collective no- show all the more discouraging. "It was mind-boggling to me," Bird said. "Maybe they were caught up in everything going on around them. It was a big game and I expected them to play harder and more aggressive, but it just wasn't there. "I don't think they (the Bulls) played Malone, Jazz find different ways to keep busy while waiting for NBA Finals foe By GREG BEACHAM Tlie Associated Press The Associated Press Indiana guard Jalen Rose will be back in uniform tonight for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals against Chicago after serving a one-game suspension. any better than they did in any other games, they just didn't get any resistance from us. They looked better because we didn't play," Bird said. The Pacers' only remaining hope was to somehow freshen the air quickly — just like they did two months ago following the worst offensive performance in NBA history — a measly 55-point output against the Spurs that was the lowest point total in the league's 51 years of business. Indiana followed up that stinker with a 128-point outburst in the next game, and the Pacers haven't lost at home since — including a perfect 7-0 record in the playoffs. The Bulls have been especially tough to beat when they have the opportunity to close out a series. Not since .1996, when they had a 3-0 lead in the Finals over Seattle and went on to win in six games, have they blown a chance to close out a series. In this year's playoffs, they had two of their best overall games in the clinchers over New Jersey and Charlotte. Last year, they came back from Utah with a 3-2 lead in the Finals and finished off the Jazz in Game 6. ' "No one can think we can take this score and that it will be attributable to Friday's game," said Chicago coach Phil Jackson, who gave his team the day off Thursday. "Friday's game will be a different matter, the key is we're going to have to play a good game on the road if we are to get to the next series." SALT LAKE CITY — If the Chicago Bulls clinch a third straight berth in the NBA Finals on Friday, Karl Malone won't know about it until later. He has more important things to worry about. Asked Thursday about his weekend plans, Malone said, "Uh, what's tomorrow, Friday? Oh, my wife's having a baby tomorrow!" Malone's wife, Kay, will give birth to the couple's fourth child, a girl they've already named Karlee, sometime Friday, probably during the sixth game of the Eastern Conference finals. The Utah Jazz's 10-day break between games couldn't have arrived at a better time for the Malones. "I realize the NBA Finals are a high point of my career, but being a father is a high point of my life," Malone said. Kay's labor will be induced Friday, something that the family had planned for months. Malone's mother and mother-in- law are in town to help out with the couple's three other children while Karl prepares for the Finals. "Everything Karl Malone does, I plan it," Malone said. At least Malone has something important to do during Utah's extended rest period, which the Jazz earned by sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference finals. The entire team is caught in a stupefying waiting game which has threatened to erode the players' competitive edge. "It's very difficult to stay ready all the time, because there's not a goal... that you can jump on right away," Jeff Hornacek said. "We prepare as much as we can, but until we know who we're playing, there's only so much we can do." The Jazz have already seen the perils of relying on any momentum they acquired while rolling to their second straight conference title. They also know what can happen to a team listens to its hype. "We just say, 'Look at the Lakers,'" Antoine Carr said. Los Angeles came into the conference finals with a four-game winning streak, plenty of rest and praise ringing in the players' ears. The Lakers left four games later with their franchise in turmoil. "That's how quick it can turn on you in this game," Malone said. "We have to stay grounded and focused in our normal routine and not start thinking we're something special." Earlier in the week, Malone took his children to a trout pond and a petting zoo, and Hornacek spent Thursday at one of his sons' baseball games. Greg Foster stays home, only venturing out to the video store to rent action movies and children's fare. "You know, family stuff," Foster grinned. "Don't you know we're the family team?" V PRO FOOTBALL. New football league awaits playbook Venture by Turner, NBC rekindles memories of theUSFLofthe 1980s By DAVE GOLDBERG The Associated Press NEW YORK — Season tickets for the new NBC-Turner football league did not go on sale Thursday. Even NBC acknowledged that its prime-time announcement Wednesday did not guarantee the arrival of a new league, only that the idea is still being pursued, with a final announcement scheduled for the fall. "You can say it's moving toward creation, not created," NBC spokesman Ed Markey said. The NFL, which merged with the American Football League in 1966 and fended off challenges from the World League in the '70s and USFL in the '80s, had no comment, The venture by Turner Broadcasting and NBC points to the for- mation of a league that would start in 1999 or 2000. Plans began in January after the two networks were shut out of the NFL's eight-year, $17.6 billion television deal. "It would be silly not to be aware of it," Bill Polian, president of the Indianapolis Colts, said of the proposed league. Polian was personnel director for the Chicago Blitz of the USFL, which played from 1983-85 in the spring and summer with television backing from ABC. And he is about to begin contract negotiations with Peyton Manning, the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft. At one time, a prominent young quarterback such as Manning might have headed to the USFL, like Jim Kelly and Steve Young. Now, with the prospect of a new league, the Colts might want to sign Manning to a longer deal. The new league would face a number of obstacles if it tries to compete with the NFL for players and play on television on fall Sun- days. "It depends if they're trying to. get even for losing the television contracts or they're really thinking of making it over the long haul," said Doug Allen, assistant executive director of the NFL Players Association, who ran the USFL players' union for the NFLPA. "If they try to match the NFL, they're doomed. But as Arena Football has proven, it sometimes pays to be ignored. As far as we're concerned, we'd love it — there are 500600 more jobs out there for players and there are enough players to fill them." History proves Allen right. When the USFL folded, more than 200 of its players made it in the NFL. They ranged from stars like Young, Kelly, Reggie White and Herschel Walker to those then little-known Sam Mills, Kent Hull and Maurice Carthon, who went on to productive NFL careers. Such future NFL coaches as Jim Mora, Marv Levy, Dom Capers, Jim Fassel, Lindy Infante and Vince Tobin also worked in the USFL as head coaches or assistants. But the new league would enter a totally different market. Free agency in the NFL gives an unsigned player a choice of 29 other NFL teams to choose from in addition to his own. During the USFL days, a player had to stay with his own NFL team, so USFL teams had more leverage in bidding for him. In addition, many NFL teams have locked up their best young players to long-term contracts to avoid losing them to free agency. When the USFL was around, most players had one-year deals. "It also will cost more because in 1983 NFL players were making so much less," Allen said. "The average NFL salary then was a little over $100,000 and average USFL players were making $30,000-to$50,000. Using that ratio today, the average team in a new league would be paying them $400,000$500,000." Kournikova advances impressively at French Open By ROB GLOSTER The Associated Press ; PARIS — Star-struck fans and rows of photographers focus on her long blonde braid, her purple fingernails and her bronzed skin Jiearly the color of the red clay courts. i It hardly seems to matter to them whether Anna Kournikova is winning or losing. But the 16-year- old Russian didn't come to the French Open to model. Kournikova, mixing solid baseline strokes with soft drop shots, advanced to the third round on a rainy Thursday with a 6-2, 7-6 (7-2) win over Katarina Studenikova of Slovakia. , "I'm just a normal person, trying tp be normal. I'm trying to play Dennis," she said, surveying an in- KOURNIKOVA terview room packed with reporters and photographers. "It's not my fault that you guys are all here. I mean, what can I do about it?" While the 13th- seeded Kourniko- va looks ready for a stroll down the catwalk at a Paris fashion show, another 16-year-old — Serena Williams — embodies strength and athleticism on the court. Williams, whose match did not begin until dusk because of the rain delays, won 6-1,6-0 over American compatriot Corina Morariu to join her older sister, Venus, in the third round. With Venus watching from courtside, the muscular Serena allowed only two points on her serve in the second set as she overpowered Morariu in the evening chill. "It looked like I was having an easy time and doing everything well, but I was just wanted to make sure I stayed concentrated," she said. "I was just trying to make sure I didn't let her come back." Serena, who next plays No. 15 Dominique Van Roost, said she was about to go shopping on the fashionable Champs-Elysees because she thought her match would be postponed by the rain. But she said she was sure Venus went shopping after the match to "buy something for me." When asked what Venus would buy for her, Serena said, "Maybe she'll just give me a bag of money today." Light showers held up the start of play more than three hours, further delaying several matches that were postponed Wednesday because of three long rain interruptions. Several seeds, including defending champion Gustavo Kuerten and No. 11 Michael Chang, had matches postponed until Friday because of the soggy weather. But the forecast was not much better for today, with mostly cloudy skies and scattered showers expected for the fifth day of the tournament. The llth-seeded woman, Mary Pierce, lost 7-5, 6-2 to Spain's Magui Serna after leading 5-1 in the first set and was booed off center court. Pierce, who grew up in the United States but has used her mother's French citizenship to play for France, was a popular French Open finalist in 1994. "If I win I am the French Mary Pierce," she said of the crowd's boos. "If I lose I am the French- American Mary Pierce." No. 2 Lindsay Davenport, No. 4 Aranxta Sanchez Vicario, No. 7 Conchita Martinez and No. 14 Sandrine Testud all reached the third round. Men's winners included No. 10 Richard Krajicek of the Netherlands and two Spaniards, No. 12 Carlos Moya and No. 15 Felix Mantilla, as well as former French Open champion Thomas Muster. No. 6 Yevgeny Kafelnikov of Russia, the 1996 French Open champion, lost 4-6, 7-6 (12-10), 7-6 (7-4), 6-1 to Thomas Enqvist of Sweden, leaving only two of the men's top seven seeds in the tournament. Capitals beat Sabres in OT By The Associated Press BUFFALO, N.Y. — Peter Bondra scored his second goal 9:37 into overtime to lift the Washington Capitals to a 4-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals. Bondra grabbed the puck near center ice and beat Dominik Hasek with a hard slap shot from the top of the left circle as the Capitals took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series. The shot bounced off Hasek's glove and into the net. Richard Zednik scored two goals and had one assist for the Capitals, who have never been in the Stanley Cup in their 24-year history. Bondra opened the scoring in the first period, and he also added an assist.

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