Former U.S. Open champion Scott Simpson, attempting an unlikely comeback on the PGA Tour, shot a 6-under-par 66 Thursday to take a one-shot lead in the Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic.
The 45-year-old Simpson is playing with seven screws and a plate in his right ankle following a December 1999 skiing accident in Utah.
Simpson has missed five of nine cuts after sitting out all of 2000 with his injury. He's playing this season on a major medical exemption, but so far he's 171st in greens in regulation, 163rd in driving distance and 157th in scoring average.
Aaron Baddeley, a 20-year-old rising star from Australia, Jerry Kelly, Dudley Hart, Robert Damron, Shaun Micheel, Spike McRoy and sectional qualifier Jeffrey Lankford were in the group at 67.
Only 17 of the tour's top 50 money leaders are in the field this week and just four of the top 30 in the world rankings.
That group includes Hal Sutton, the defending champion who won last week at the Shell Houston Open. He shot a 2-under 70.
Twenty-five teams, including defending champion Travelers Rest, begin play today in the 27th annual Southern Cross Invitational golf tournament at Palmetto Golf Club in Aiken.
Stephen Poole of Spartanburg also will be back to defend his medalist title in the 36-hole event.
Local teams include Aiken, Augusta Prep, Evans, North Augusta, South Aiken and Strom Thurmond.
The tournament is sponsored by Palmetto Golf Club and the Aiken Breakfast Sertoma Club. Proceeds from the tournament are used for the Sertoma Club's youth programs.
Idle Augusta State dropped a notch in the latest NCAA Division I men's MasterCard collegiate golf rankings, to 10th. The Jaguars have three of the top 30 ranked players in the ranking, headed by Jamie Elson at No. 10. Oliver Wilson is 26th and Michael Webb 27th.
Georgia is ranked No. 1, followed by Georgia Tech, Clemson, Texas and Arizona State.
John Engler of Augusta, a senior at Clemson, moved from No. 5 in the individual rankings to No. 4 after winning last week's Atlantic Coast Conference medalist title.
Matt Avinger and Scott Usher of USC Aiken have been named to the first-team of the All-Peach Belt Conference golf team.
Avinger and Usher will lead the Pacers into the NCAA Division II South Regional, scheduled May 5-7 at Regant Park Golf Club in Fort Mill, S.C. It is the 10th straight year the Pacers have advanced to postseason play. The top six teams in the 16-team South Regional field will advance to the national championship tournament May 22-25 at Meadows Golf Club in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Americans Rosie Jones and Tina Barrett, along with Sweden's Carin Koch, shot 4-under-par 66s Thursday to share the first round lead in the LPGA's Kathy Ireland Championship in Austin, Texas.
Golfers one shot back were Johanna Head, Lisa DePaulo, Lorie Kane, Mhairi McKay and Leta Lindley.
Tryouts for a new semipro football team will be held Saturday at 4:30 p.m. in Barnwell.
The practice will be held at Phillip Park on Dunbarton Boulevard.
For more information, call Randy Moore at (843) 762-2542.
Seven Peach Belt Conference teams, including Augusta State and USC Aiken, have been selected to the 2001 NCAA Division II women's tennis championships.
The men's team at Augusta State also made the NCAA championships. The Jaguars (11-11) will take on Eckerd College (15-4) May 4 in the first round. The winner advances to the 16-team finals in Pensacola, Fla., on May 10-13.
The 28th-ranked Lady Jaguars (15-8) will play North Florida in Jacksonville, Fla., on May 4. The winner will play the Barry-Lincoln Memorial winner May 5.
The Lady Pacers will play Rollins in Winter Park, Fla., on May 5. The winner of that matchup will play the Clayton State-North Alabama winner.
Other Peach Belt teams selected were Armstrong Atlantic State, Clayton State, Georgia College & State, Kennesaw State and North Florida.
Gymnastics Gold in Martinez will hold the AAU Level 3 state gymnastics meet this weekend.
Competition will be held Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.-noon and 2:30-5 p.m. A total of 39 gyms from across the state will field teams in the competition, which is for girls ages 5 to 14.
Admission is free. For more information, call Chris Duncan at 650-2111.
Jeremy Blackstock of Augusta, a 1997 graduate of Augusta Christian, was named most valuable player for the Maranatha Baptist Bible College baseball team at the school's spring sports banquet this week.
Blackstock is a senior at the school, located in Watertown, Wis.
Former North Augusta standout pitcher Bobby White, a freshman at Spartanburg Methodist Junior College, tossed a no-hitter against Surry College Wednesday night.
White struck out eight batters to help his team to a 5-0 victory. The freshman is 9-2 this season with a 2.64 ERA.
Paine College will hold its athletic banquet tonight at 7 p.m. in the school cafeteria.
Robert Vowels, commissioner of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, will be the guest speaker.
BOXING: Zack King and his brother Brad King have been named boxers of the month by the Augusta Boxing Club. Zack is 13 and Brad is 11.
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