Aiken takes lead in Africa Open
In East London, South Africa, Thomas Aiken shot 9-under-par 64 on Thursday at the Africa Open for a one-shot lead after the first round of the European Tour’s season-opening tournament.
Aiken has a one-shot lead over Retief Goosen and Jaco Ahlers.
• The LPGA is returning to Hawaii.
The tour announced Thursday that the Lotte Championship Presented by J Golf will be played on Oahu starting in mid-April, ending a two-year absence for the LPGA in Michelle Wie’s home state.
The host course will be announced in the coming weeks.
Eclipse Award finalists named
Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Caleb’s Posse and Preakness winner Shackleford are the finalists for 3-year-old champion male honors at the Eclipse Awards.
The finalists for Horse of the Year will be announced Jan. 16, when the awards are handed out at the Beverly Wilshire hotel.
Creative Cause, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Hansen and BC Juvenile runner-up Union Rags are contenders for 2-year-old male. Pacific Classic winner Acclamation, Breeders’ Cup Classic runner-up Game On Dude and Tizway are finalists for older male.
Awesome Maria, Blind Luck and Havre de Grace are up for older female honors.
Hall of Famers Bob Baffert and Bill Mott, along with Todd Pletcher, are vying for trainer of the year honors.
Federer passes Qatar Open test
In Doha Qatar, defending champion Roger Federer was tested for the first time at the Qatar Open before defeating Andreas Seppi of Italy 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 to reach the semifinals.
The third-ranked Federer set up a rematch of last year’s semifinal against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, after the Frenchman cruised past unseeded Albert Ramos of Spain 6-2, 6-1.
Rafael Nadal also reached the semifinals, where he will face Gael Monfils.
• In Chennai, India, Janko Tipsarevic advanced to the quarterfinals of the Chennai Open by beating Indian wild card Yuki Bhambri 6-1, 6-3.
Tipsarevic will meet wild card David Goffin, who rallied to beat Andreas Beck 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.
• In Perth, Australia, France reached the Hopman Cup final when Richard Gasquet defeated Fernando Verdasco 6-2, 6-4 on his fifth match point to secure a 2-0 victory over Spain.
The other finalist will be determined today when the Czech Republic takes on Denmark.
Senators land 4 for All-Star game
The Ottawa Senators are assured of having at least four familiar faces on the ice when they play host to the NHL All-Star game this month.
Defenseman Erik Karlsson led all vote-getters in fan balloting, and captain Daniel Alfredsson and fellow forwards Milan Michalek and Jason Spezza also were elected for the game on Jan. 29.
The NHL said Thursday they will be joined by Toronto defenseman Dion Phaneuf and Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas.
About 24 million votes were cast by fans from Nov. 14 until Jan. 4 in the all-digital balloting, a 66-percent increase over last season. It is the third-highest total since voting went to an exclusive digital format in 2007.
Missing from the initial list of stars are Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos, who leads the NHL with 27 goals,