Monday, May 24, 2004

UK's Holmes heads Open qualifier
at Maketewah


Sports digest

The Enquirer and wire reports

PRO FOOTBALL

Report: Collins set to join Raiders

Free-agent quarterback Kerry Collins will sign with the Oakland Raiders this week, sources told ESPN.com. He was released by the New York Giants on April 28, only four days after the club acquired Eli Manning in a draft day trade.

The New York Daily News reported Sunday that Collins, 31, a nine-year NFL veteran, has agreed to a deal with the Raiders. ESPN.com said that Collins has made an oral commitment to Oakland and that a deal will be in place this week.

BOXING

Chavez says adios after Mexican win

It was one of the boxing matchups of the century - last century. Julio Cesar Chavez, 41, earned a tough unanimous decision over Frankie Randall, 42, the man who ended Chavez's string of 40 straight victories - 26 of them title defenses - a decade ago. Chavez said it was the right way to end his illustrious career.

"I am really retiring from the ring tonight," Chavez (106-5-2) told the Mexico City crowd after his 10-round welterweight decision ended shortly after midnight Sunday.

GOLF

Homes in U.S. Open qualifier

John Holmes, fresh from winning medalist honors and leading the Kentucky Wildcats to the NCAA Division I Central Regional team championship at Purdue, heads a field of 168 amateurs and pros in today's 18-hole U.S. Open local qualifier at Maketewah Country Club. The UK senior tees off at 7:50 a.m. today at No. 1. (Tee times online at gcga.org.)

Holmes, from Campbellsville, Ky., qualified for last year's U.S. Open at Olympia Fields Country Club outside Chicago. He missed the cut, but shot a second-round 69.

Holmes advanced to the NCAA Championship finals last year and played well for three rounds. He won the Kentucky Open and was the U.S. Amateur medalist at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club before losing in the second round of match play.

"The 69 at the Open was a confidence builder," Holmes said. "I found out I'm not that far away from playing with those guys. I'm getting closer to my dream of playing on the PGA Tour."

Today's first-stage qualifiers advance to the 36-hole sectional at 13 sites, June 7 and 8. The U.S. Open will be played June 17-20 at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y.

Jack Murray

Horse racing

BELMONT STAKES: Smarty Jones could face as few as five or as many as nine rivals in the June 5 race when the undefeated colt attempts to become the first Triple Crown champion in 26 years.

Among those set to take on the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner are Rock Hard Ten, Eddington, Tapit, Royal Assault and Tap Dancer. Possibles include Birdstone, The Cliff's Edge, Mustanfar and Peter Pan Stakes winner Purge.

Several Belmont hopefuls were dropped from consideration after subpar efforts in Saturday's Peter Pan, including Swingforthefences (second), Master David (third), Friends Lake (seventh), Sinister G (eighth). Bobby Frankel, who trains Master David, said his colt might make his next start on the grass, but would look at the 1 1/2-mile Belmont if the field was reduced to four or five starters.

CHURCHILL DOWNS: The racing year is over for Bruce Lunsford's Madcap Escapade, winner of Keeneland's Ashland Stakes and third in the Kentucky Oaks, after discovery of a hairline fracture in the 3-year-old filly's hip.

Colleges

MIAMI BASEBALL: The RedHawks (34-19, 14-8 Mid-American Conference) closed out the regular season Sunday with a 14-10 loss to divisional rival Kent State (31-24, 14-10 MAC).

The RedHawks, who won the East Division with their win Friday, are the No. 2 seed in this week's MAC Tournament, host by MAC regular-season champion Central Michigan. Miami will play at 1 p.m. Wednesday against fifth-seeded Northern Illinois.

Elsewhere

WRESTLING: Rulon Gardner, the 2000 Greco-Roman super heavyweight gold medalist at the Sydney Games, won a pair of tight 2-1 overtime decisions over top-seeded Dremiel Byers to gain the return trip to the Olympics that once seemed a long shot. Four-time NCAA champion Cael Sanderson also made the team.

CYCLING: Lance Armstrong won the final stage of the Languedoc-Roussillon cycling race, picking up the pace in his preparations for a July attempt at a sixth straight Tour de France title.

The Texan finished in sixth place in the five-day event, finishing 1 minute, 44 seconds behind winner Christophe Moreau of France.

SOCCER: Jeff Cunningham, Kyle Martino and Michael Ritch each scored, and the Columbus Crew upset the host Chicago Fire 3-1. Columbus won its second straight after starting the season 0-3-2.




REDS
Lidle on his game from start to finish
ONLINE EXTRA: Photos from today's game
Homer chase is on for Jr.
Castro can contribute with bat, too
Offense finally flexing muscles

MORE BASEBALL
Cubs' Wood to have bone scan today
AL: White Sox bash way to first place

PREP SPORTS
Fast-pitch, baseball districts, plus track regionals on tap

Regionals in three sports; state tennis tourney starts

GOLF
Colonial is right up lefty Flesch's alley

BASKETBALL
Wallace guarantees victory

Szczerbiak helps Wolves even series

MORE SPORTS
Xavier grad Parker qualifies for Athens Games in air rifle

NASCAR's Stewart shows up at Indy
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