With a chance to take over the No. 1 ranking, Patrick Rafter played his best clay-court tennis. It wasn't enough.
Gustavo Kuerten scored one for aficionados of the slow red surface, beating the serve-and-volleying Rafter 6-4, 7-5, 7-6 (8-6) to capture the Italian Open on Sunday.
Rafter, ranked and seeded No. 4, would have supplanted Yevgeny Kafelnikov at the top of the ATP rankings had he won.
-- Martina Hingis completed her day's work before the crowd had barely settled in.
The world's No. 1 player surged through the first set in 19 minutes and swept France's Julie Halard-Decugis 6-0, 6-1 Sunday to capture the $1.05 million German Open.
She won in 42 minutes in a commanding tuneup for the May 24 French Open, the clay-court major Hingis has yet to win.
BOXING: The Augusta Boxing Club's Jason Pinckney (pounds) and Omri Lowther (132) were gold medalists in the 15-16 age division of the Junior Olympics Regionals in Sumter, S.C. over the weekend. Both will advance to the nationals in Marquette, Mich., June 20-27. Georgia also won the team championship, beating Florida and the Carolinas.
BASS FISHING: Ron Shuffield of Bismarck, Ark., weighed in 15 pounds, 13 ounces of bass on Sunday to win the Kmart MegaBucks tournament on Old Hickory Lake near Nashville, Tenn.
He also won $125,000 in cash and prizes.
Clark Wendlandt of Cedar Park, Texas was second with 15 pounds, 9 ounces and won $68,000; David Wharton of Sam Rayburn, Texas and Danny Kirk of Bartow, Ga., tied for third with 14-7. Each won $39,500.
GOLF: Dr. DeDe Owens, 53, past president of the Ladies Professional Golf Association teaching and professional division, died Sunday at Palos Community Hospital in Palos Heights, Ill., after a short illness.
She was a member of the LPGA for 29 years, being named the LPGA Teacher of the Year in 1993 and 1997 and was five times the Midwest teacher of the year.
A former LPGA Tour player, Dr. Owens was named by Golf Magazine as one of the top 100 teachers in the country. She was a member of the Golf Digest professional advisory staff and co-authored seven instructional golf books.
She had been teaching at Cog Hill Golf and Country Club in Lemont, Ill., since 1977, with the exception of 1997-98 when she served on the research and development staff of Callaway Golf.
Survivors include her mother, Mrs. Margaret Owens; a brother, the Rev. Charles E. Owens III, both of Bluffton, S.C., and a sister, Margaret O. Rogers of Charleston, S.C.
Funeral services will be held at The Church of the Cross in Bluffton at 11 a.m., on Wednesday, May 19, and interment will follow at the Church of the Ascension in Rembert, S.C.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Dr. DeDe Owens Memorial Scholarship Fund, Cross Episcopal School, c/o First National Bank, P.O. Box 1477, Bluffton, S.C. 29910.
-- Augusta's Bobby Ward won the Miniature Golf U.S. Open at Myrtle Beach on Sunday, shooting seven rounds of 37-under-par 215.
Ward beat Atlanta's Randy Orr by seven strokes in picking up the first-place check of $1,000 and qualifying for the nationals in Myrtle Beach next September.
Robert Lewis of Augusta finished seventh in the 33-man field.
WATERFOWL BANQUET: The Georgia Waterfowl Association will conduct its inaugural banquet on Thursday at Savannah Rapids Pavilion, beginning with a social hour at 6 p.m.
Tickets are $40 each and include membership, meal and other amenities. Three-hundred advance tickets have been sold, so to reserve tickets at the will-call window, call (706) 736-0066.
Items to be auctioned include a limited edition 12-gauge over-and-under Weatherby custom-engraved with the Georgia Waterfowl Association wood duck logo.
FOOTBALL: Harold Richardson, general manager of the Atlanta Falcons, will deliver the keynote address at the Salvation Army's annual meeting at Augusta Country Club on Thursday at noon.
Luncheon reservations can be made by a $20 donation through the Salvation Army. More information is available from Patsy Urquhart at 826-7933.
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