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Following is a summary of current sports news briefs.
Flawless Kuchar takes control at Riviera
PACIFIC PALISADES, California (Reuters) - Matt Kuchar, revitalized after a three-week break, took advantage of ideal early scoring conditions to charge into a one-shot lead in the first round of the Northern Trust Open on Thursday. With hardly a breath of wind on a glorious morning of unbroken sunshine at Riviera Country Club, the 34-year-old American fired a flawless seven-under-par 64 to take control of the PGA Tour event.
Islanders rally to edge Rangers in shootout
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York Islanders overcame a two-goal deficit to grind out a 4-3 shootout victory over city rivals New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Thursday. The victory enabled the Islanders (5-7-1) to end a five-game losing streak, while the Rangers (7-6-1) were consigned to a first defeat in four contests.
Garcia finds late birdies in thickening Riviera fog
PACIFIC PALISADES, California (Reuters) - Sergio Garcia could hardly see the flagstick on his last three holes, yet the Spaniard finished with two birdies to end the Northern Trust Open first round a stroke off the lead on Thursday. As thick fog rolled across the iconic Riviera Country Club layout, the world number 14 completed a six-under-par 65 with only American Matt Kuchar ahead of him in a high-quality field.
Riviera no pain in the neck for charging Jobe
PACIFIC PALISADES, California (Reuters) - Having spent six months on the sidelines because of a lingering neck injury, Brandt Jobe could not wipe the grin off his face after making a strong start to the Northern Trust Open on Thursday. The 47-year-old American, who has had two nerve block procedures to help him cope with severe inflammation and a loss of control in his hands, fired a five-under-par 66 at Riviera Country Club to end the opening round two shots off the pace.
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"Blade Runner" Pistorius faces court on murder charge
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African 'Blade Runner' Oscar Pistorius, a double amputee who became one of the biggest names in world athletics, is due to appear in court on Friday on charges of murdering his girlfriend. The arrest of the 26-year-old Olympic and Paralympic track star stunned a nation that holds him up as hero who triumphed over adversity to compete with able-bodied athletes at the highest levels of sport.
Rusty Couples again thrives at Riviera
PACIFIC PALISADES, California (Reuters) - Rusty though he was after playing very little golf for five months, Fred Couples once again found form at his beloved Riviera Country Club in the Northern Trust Open on Thursday. The former world number one, who is competing in the PGA Tour event for a record 31st time, opened with a three-under-par 68 at a venue he ranks as one of his all-time top three on the circuit.
Celtics grind out ugly victory over slumping Bulls
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Federer and Del Potro on track for repeat Rotterdam final
ROTTERDAM (Reuters) - Roger Federer failed to match the accuracy of Cupid's arrow on Valentine's Day but still cruised past Dutchman Thiemo de Bakker 6-3 6-4 in the second round of the World Indoor Tournament on Thursday. Defending champion Federer only landed 42 percent of his first serves during the first set but an early break helped him take the lead against an awkward opponent cheered on by a home crowd.