NeSmith builds four-shot lead
In Greensboro, N.C., North Augusta teenager Matt NeSmith can secure a spot in the PGA Tour’s Wyndham Championship on Friday with a victory in an American Junior Golf Association event.
The winner of today’s FJ Invitational receives an exemption into the Wyndham Championship in August in Greensboro, and NeSmith has a four-shot lead.
NeSmith, who is headed to South Carolina this fall on a golf scholarship, shot 1-under-
par 70 on Thursday and is at 4-under 206 at Cardinal Golf & Country Club.
Motin Yeung had 70 and is in second place at 210. He’s followed by Michael Pisciatta, who had 71 and is at 211.
NeSmith, who is No. 2 in the national Polo rankings, was tied for fifth place after opening with 70. A second-round 67 gave him a three-shot lead.
• In Carrollton, Ga., Augusta’s Laura Coble will go for her ninth Georgia Women’s Match Play Championship on Friday.
With two victories on Thursday, Coble advanced to Friday’s final against Phenix City’s Nikki Crowley. It will start at 8:30 a.m. at Sunset Hills Country Club.
On Thursday, Coble beat Suwanee’s Jackie Rajeck 3 and 1 in the quarterfinals, then stopped Amira Alexander, of Alpharetta,
4 and 3, in the semifinals.
Crowley had a tougher time making it to the finals. In the quarterfinals, she needed 19 holes to beat Anna Buchanan, of Athens. Then she stopped Brenda Pictor, of Marietta, 2 and 1 in the semifinals.
Coble has won this tournament in 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2009 and 2010. She was the runner-up last year.
• In Saint-Omer, France, Adam Gee shot 4-under-par 67 to share the lead with Simon Wakefield and Sihwan Kim in the opening round of the European Tour’s Saint-Omer Open.
Darren Fichardt had 68, tied with Raymond Russell and Raul Quiros.
Jamie Elson leads the three former Augusta State golfers in the field with 70. James Heath had 71 and Oliver Wilson 75.
4 top 200 mph in practice runs
In Brooklyn, Mich., Mark Martin exceeded 201 mph during a test session Thursday on Michigan International Speedway’s newly paved surface, part of an eye-opening morning in which all but two drivers were fast enough to break the track’s qualifying record.
Martin’s fastest lap was 201.089 mph. Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr. and Dale Earnhardt Jr. also cracked the 200 mark.
Qualifying is Saturday for Sunday’s 400-mile Sprint Cup race.
Ryan Newman set the qualifying record of 194.232 mph in 2005.
Tsonga might miss Wimbledon
In London, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga might have to miss Wimbledon after injuring his right hand during a 7-6 (3), 3-6, 7-6 (5) third-round loss
to Ivan Dodig at Queen’s Club.
Tsonga hurt the little finger on his dominant hand when he slipped and fell during the sixth game of the final set.
• In Birmingham, England, Jelena Jankovic moved closer to her first title in more than two years without hitting a ball on Thursday.
Jankovic received a walkover into the Aegon Classic quarterfinals when Casey Dellacqua withdrew with a stomach ailment.
The 22nd-ranked Jankovic is using the grass-court event as a tuneup for Wimbledon after being sidelined by a thigh injury in February.