Holmes, Allenby share lead in TPC
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Tiger Woods hit one tee shot that went 190 yards and barely reached the fairway. He hit another shot smack into the middle of a sawgrass plant, the ball only seen by standing over it and suspended a few inches off the ground.
Both times, he scratched out a par and wound up with a 2-under 70 in The Players Championship at the TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
That's usually not a bad score to start out this tournament.
Just not on Thursday.
J.B. Holmes and Robert Allenby shared the lead at 66, which didn't give them much separation. Twenty players were separated by two shots at the top of the leaderboard.
Conditions were so benign, and greens were so soft, that more than half the field broke par on the Stadium Course. And that's not all. The 36 players who shot in the 60s were the most for the opening round since 1994.
"I only made three birdies today," said Woods, who didn't make a bogey until the final hole when his 5-wood took a hard hop into the water. "I had myself a few chances in there to make some putts, make some birdies, and didn't really do it."
CANADIENS TIE IT
Maxim Lapierre and Brian Gionta scored 1:33 apart early in the third period to lift the host Montreal Canadiens to a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4 last night, tying the Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Jaroslav Halak stopped 33 shots, and Tom Pyatt also scored for Montreal, which trailed 2-1 through the first two periods while being outshot 25-9.
RED WINGS HANG ON
Johan Franzen had a natural hat trick in a 3:26 span of the first period, scored a fourth goal in the third, and set a Red Wings playoff record with six points as host Detroit stayed alive with a 7-1 rout of the San Jose Sharks last night in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals.
San Jose will host Game 5 tomorrow night with another chance to advance to hockey's final four for the second time in franchise history.
LAW & ORDER
LT IN RAPE CHARGE
Pro Football Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor was charged yesterday with rape for having sex with a 16-year-old runaway forced into prostitution by a man who had beaten her up, police said.
Taylor, a 51-year-old former New York Giants star who has faced drug and tax evasion charges in the past, paid the girl $300 for sex at a Holiday Inn in Suffern, N.Y., where he was arrested early yesterday, said Christopher St. Lawrence, supervisor of the town of Ramapo.
Ramapo Chief of Police Peter Brower said Taylor was cooperative when police woke him up around 4 a.m. Taylor was arraigned yesterday on charges of third-degree rape and patronizing a prostitute.
"I'm not that important," Taylor told a scrum of media after being released on $75,000 bail.
VENUS FALLS IN ROME
Two-time champion Jelena Jankovic rolled to a surprisingly easy 6-0, 6-1 win over Venus Williams yesterday and prevented an all-Williams semifinal at the Italian Open in Rome.
Earlier, top-ranked Serena Williams overcame a rough stretch in the second set to dispatch Maria Kirilenko, 6-1, 6-4, and will meet Jankovic in the semis.
AND WHAT'S MORE ...
Anthony Kim had surgery on his left thumb yesterday in Baltimore and faces 10 to 12 weeks of recovery which will keep him out of the U.S. Open and possibly the British Open this summer. ... Mike Rice, after leading Robert Morris to two straight NCAA tournament berths and a 73-31 record, signed a five-year, $3.2 million contract as Rutgers new basketball coach.