The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 4, 1997 · Page 40
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 40

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Sunday, May 4, 1997
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THE SALINA JOURNAL SPORTS SUNDAY, MAY 4, 1997 D7 T PRO GOLF Sutherland, Blackmar share Houston lead Former University of Texas standout seeks first win since 1988 By The Associated Press THE WOODLANDS, Texas — Phil Blackmar hopes his tough times are over. "That's been a roller coaster ride," the 6-foot-7 former University of Texas standout said after a bogey-free 5-under-par 67 gave gave him a share of the third- round lead in the Houston Open with Kevin Sutherland. "I can't remember which years are which. I couldn't break an egg. I couldn't play at all. I think it was '94. I made three or four cuts for the entire year and I thought I was pretty much done." Blackmar, from nearby Corpus Christi, hasn't won a tournament since 1988. He lost his tour card in 1994 and is 96th on this year's money list with nothing better than a 20th-place finish. .On Saturday, he had consecutive birdies on his first two holes, , and added another at the par-4 No. .4. After five straight pars, he birdied No. 10 by rolling in a 15- foot putt to go 9-under and picked up another stroke on the par-5 15th when he pitched within a foot of the cup. "I've gotten really good at hanging in there and trying to find a way to get it around, which is great," he said. "I feel like I've got to grind like I'm always behind the 8-ball instead of just playing." Sutherland, who shot a 6-under to match Blackmar at 10-under 206, said his calm demeanor helped him to his best position of the year. "I felt extremely relaxed,' he said. "That was one of my goals. I hit some great iron shots and putted very very well. Everything kind of fell into place for me." Sutherland, who's been to qualifying school three times, including the last two years, had just one bogey and seven birdies for his 66. i' "I've been trying to make pars ; and I keep making birdies," he said. Sutherland started with a birdie on the par-5 first hole and added birdies at Nos. 4 and 7 be, fore a bogey at No. 10. But he bounced back with four birdies on the back nine, including Nos. 13 ' and 14 and a 20-footer on the par-3 T CYCLING 16th hole. It's the best showing for the 32-year-old out of Fresno State since he was ninth a year ago at Hartford, his best career finish. Jerry Kelly, another non-winner, was a stroke back after a 69, while J.P. Hayes shot a 64 to move into a tie with Scott Hoch at 209. Fred Couples, Craig Parry and Brent Geiberger were another shot back at 210. Sutherland began the day at 4- under, four shots back of David Duval, who led after the first two rounds but soared to a 75 Saturday, leaving him five shots behind at 211. Seniors: Sigel in front HOOVER, Ala. — Jay Sigel shot a bogey-free 5-under-par 67 in windy conditions Saturday to take a three-stroke lead over Bob Eastwood after the second round of the Bruno's Memorial Classic. Sigel, a two-time U.S. Amateur champion who has two Senior PGA Tour victories since turning pro in 1993, had a 9-under 135 total on the Greystone Country Club course. He has five top-10 finishes in 10 starts this year. Sigel took a two-stroke lead on the par-5 fifth hole, holing a 12- foot birdie putt, while first-round leader Gil Morgan drove out of bounds en route to a double bogey. Eastwood, a three-time PGA Tour winner, shot a 68. Hale Irwin, who won the Las Vegas Senior Classic last week for his fourth victory in seven 1997 starts, was four back along with Morgan. Irwin shot a 68 and Morgan had a 72. LPGA: Putting fuels Tschetter DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Out of the calm from a storm delay came a furious charge from Kris Tschetter, who birdied five out of seven holes for a one-stroke lead Saturday in the Sprint Titleholders Championship. Just before the siren ended play because of darkness, Tschetter saved par with a 10-foot putt at No. 16 to remain at 14-under-par, 4-under for the third round. Tammie Green, at 13-under, will have a 10-foot birdie putt on the 16th green when play resumes Sunday morning. Kris Monaghan was at 12-under on the 17th hole. Nancy Lopez, coming off her 48th LPGA victory last week, shot a 6-under-66 with a birdie on the last hole and was at 10-under 206. Men's pro cycling without major domestic tour T AUTO RACING Cancellation of USA's Tour DuPont leaves big void for U.S. riders ', By JAMES RAIA By the Associated Press WILMINGTON, Del. — For the ^ first time in nearly two decades, men's pro cycling is without a major domestic tour this year, leaving U.S. riders scurrying to compete in less prestigious regional and international races. The Tour DuPont, which last year began on May 1, had been the world's third-richest race. It offered a purse of more than $250,000 and was won by some of the world's finest riders, including Americans Lance Armstrong and Greg LeMond, the three-time Tour de France winner. But the 11-day Tour DuPont, embroiled in a battle of legalities and egos, was canceled last December aft;er six years. The race's predecessor, the Tour de Trump, began after the Coors International Classic ended a nine-year run in 1988. "The loss of a significant international stage race on U.S. soil hurts the U.S. cycling scene," said .Norman Alvis of Colorado Springs, Colo., the former U.S. pro rpa'd race champion who competes for Saturn. "There are now fewer venues for U.S. riders to measure themselves against the world's best," he said. "It also takes away the primary forum for our riders to gain recognition or to even get noticed by European pro teams." The Tour DuPont, which was centered around the title sponsor's headquarters, had been scheduled to start Thursday in Wilmington and progress 1,200 miles through Eastern and Southern states. But DuPont, which had earlier announced it would end its commitment following the 1997 race, withdrew its sponsorship a year MM It mi IN mr m* mi wt MY AT TIE PUMP! AMOCO Martin out to end drought Driver hasn't won since 1995, has pole for today's race By ANNE M. PETERSON 77ic Associated Press SONOMA, Calif. — Mark Martin is on a mission, struggling to end a 1 '/2-year winless streak on the Winston Cup circuit and improve on two-straight second place finishes at Sears Point. So far, he's off to a good start. Martin won the pole for today's Save Mart Supermarkets 300 on the 2.52-mile road course in Northern California's scenic wine country. "We knew we were coming to Sears Point and this was a good place for us, but starting up front is the best place," he said. "We started dead last last year and ran second. It probably won't help us any starting in the front, but it will make my job easier." Martin has finished second at Sears Point for the past two years Save Mart 300 CIRCUIT: NASCAR WHEN: 4 p.m. today TELEVISION: ESPN POLE: Mark Martin RACE LENGTH: 74 laps, 187 miles TRACK LENGTH: 2.52 miles DEFENDING CHAMPION: Rusty Wallace — three times overall — including last year's tenacious climb from a last-place start to a runner-up finish, behind Rusty Wallace. "This could be the race, but of course, last year could have been it too, or the year before," he said. Martin has not won a race in NASCAR's Winston Cup series since October 1995 at Charlotte. However, he has won five out of eight starts on the Busch Grand The Associated Press Mark Martin climbs out of his Valvoline Ford after practice laps Saturday at Sears Point Raceway. National circuit this season. "It's been a long time since we've won a race and we may never win another one," he said. "But my race team and my cars are running as good right now as they were in '93 when we won four in a row, or '95 when we won two in a row. "It's only a matter of time before things turn around, and in the meantime, things haven't been too bad. We ran fifth and third the last two races and broke an engine leading in Texas, so things have been pretty good for us." Last year at Sears Point, Martin qualified his Valvoline-Cummins Ford fourth. But as the cars were fired on pit road to start the race, Martin heard a miss in the engine — a loose plug wire. NASCAR penalized the team for raising its hood on pit road, sending Martin back to a 44th place start. "I never dreamed we could come to second last year through that field, but we did," Martin said. "It's going to be an even harder job to start up front and stay up front this year." New IRL cars make debut at Indy New, safer design expected to slow qualifying 20 mph By STEVE HERMAN The Associated Press INDIANAPOLIS — The Indy Racing League has reduced the horsepower, downforce and speed. Still, with the cars expected to reach close to 220 mph, who can tell the difference? Designed for safety as well as affordability, the new IRL cars made their debut in January at Orlando. They'll get their first extensive testing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway by rookie drivers through Monday, and by the veterans when the full Indy 500 practice begins Tuesday. The first of four days of qualifications for the May 25 race will be next Saturday. "Most people can't see the difference. When you see the cars on the Speedway here, the average spectator is not going to see anything different," IRL executive director Leo Mehl said Saturday. "The human eye is not going to spot the difference between 235 mph and 215 mph. What's important is the cars are close in speed at this competitive race. It's not the top speed; it's the relationship between them." The Associated Press Inspectors swarm over the Indy Racing League car expected to be driven by Mike Groff during technical inspection Saturday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The opening session of the rookie testing was washed out by rain. At least nine drivers were expected to participate in the program, which gives rookies extra time on the track without the normal heavy traffic in the week leading up to the start of qualifications. Former winner Arie Luyendyk set one- and four-lap records last year of 237.498 mph and 236.986 mph, but no one will come even close to those speeds this year because of the new chassis, and engines. "There were two basic theories in the changes for the cars," Mehl said. "One was to reduce the speed, which we've done approximately 20 mph. Last year, cars qualified at 237, this year perhaps 217.... The other thing was to control the costs." The familiar Reynards, which won the Indy 500 the past two years; the Penskes, which won the race in five of the seven years before that; the Lolas, Galmers, Marches, other popular chassis in recent years, all are gone. The only chassis being used at Indianapolis now are the G-Force of England and the Dallara of Italy. The only engines — non-tur- bocharged 4-liter V8s — are the Nissan Infiniti and the Oldsmobile Aurora. "We have a fixed price on our car at $263,000 for this season," Mehl said. "I think it is 50 percent of what it was. There will be inflation, so it'll be up some next year, I'm sure." Safety also was a big concern, especially after the death last year of Scott Brayton, whose flat tire sent him into the concrete wall during practice. "First of all, we cut the horsepower about 200," Mehl said. "We changed the aerodynamics of the car so the downforce is not coming from the shape of the bottom, because we have flat bottoms. The downforce comes from the wings, and what that does, it makes it easy to adjust the handling of the car.... Every driver, rookie or veteran, has been complimentary of the handling of the cars." early after failed negotiations with Medalist Sports Inc., the Richmond, Va.-based race organizers. In addition to Armstrong, who is recovering from cancer surgery, and the now-retired LeMond, the Tour DuPont attracted many of the world's finest riders. Former world champion Gianni Bugno of Italy, Steve Bauer of Canada, Phil Anderson of Australia and Laurent Fignon of France all participated. Americans Davis Phinney, Jeff Pierce and Andy Hampsten, all Tour de France stage winners, also competed. "It's unfortunate because the Tour DuPont was considered one of the top worldwide events," said Dan Osipow, spokesman for the San Francisco-based Postal Service pro team. "It would have continued to bring over the best team from Europe and the chance for U.S.-based riders to compete against them head-to-head." Like many other squads, the Postal Service team competed in the Tour DuPont as a springboard to European racing. An international squad that includes several U.S. riders, it is expected to become only the second U.S.-based team to compete in the Tour de France this July. The Tour DuPont's demise leaves the one-day CoresStates US- PRO Championship, held in June in Philadelphia, as the country's most prestigious cycling event. May Specials on Shocks & Struts Struts starting as low as $129 Bengtson's 4 Wheel Drive Center If you care as much as we do about your 4 wheel drive.. .You'll bring it to us. • 4 Wheel Drive Transfer Cases • 4 Wheel Drive Rear Ends •Standard Shift Transmissions • Clutches Call us for all of your 4-wheel drive needs. 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