In Brief: Martin Maintains Lead in Louisiana
Avondale, La. — Ben Martin shot a 5-under 67 on Friday to maintain a course-record pace at TPC Louisiana, keeping him atop the leaderboard through two rounds of the Zurich Classic.
After breaking the course record with a 62 on Thursday, Martin opened the second round with two birdies and an eagle on his first four holes. He shook off a bogey and double bogey on successive holes in the middle of the round and birdied four of his last nine to move to 15 under — the best 36-hole total at the course. No one has had a four-round score better than 20 under.
Andrew Svoboda shot a 68 to remain second at 12 under, but closed his round on the par-3 ninth with his first bogey of the tournament.
Robert Streb (66) and Sueng-Yul Noh (68) were 11 under, and two-time heart transplant recipient Erik Compton (68) and Peter Hanson (69) were another stroke back.
Woodstock native Keegan Bradley shot a 66 and is six strokes back.
Phelps Can’t Advance
Mesa, Ariz. — Michael Phelps’ comeback meet was cut short Friday when he failed to advance to the 50-meter freestyle final.
The 18-time Olympic gold medalist used the morning preliminaries at the Arena Grand Prix to fine-tune his butterfly stroke instead of doing freestyle like everyone else. He finished seventh in a time of 24.06 seconds, missing out on the eight-man evening final.
Phelps didn’t even make any of the three consolation finals because he was 42nd overall; only the top 32 qualify for those, so his first competition since retiring after the 2012 London Olympics ended early.
Phelps ended up in the sprint because none of the day’s other events — 400 individual medley, 200 freestyle and 200 backstroke — are ones that he plans to compete in during this comeback. He dominated the 400 IM during the height of career, but he vows he won’t swim the grueling event anymore.
Earl Morrall, Member Of ’72 Dolphins, Dies
Miami — Earl Morrall, an NFL quarterback for 21 years who started nine games during the Miami Dolphins’ perfect season in 1972, has died. He was 79.
The Dolphins confirmed Morrall’s death Friday. Former teammate Charlie Babb said Morrall had been in failing health for some time.
When Bob Griese broke his ankle in 1972, Morrall came off the bench and started the final nine games of the regular season for the Dolphins. Morrall won praise from coach Don Shula for his willingness to step aside when Griese returned for the AFC championship game.
Griese started in the Super Bowl to help Miami finish 17-0. That remains the only perfect season in NFL history.
Morrall also played for the 49ers, Steelers, Lions, Giants and Colts, winning three Super Bowl rings. He came off the bench to replace an injured Johnny Unitas and help the Colts win the Super Bowl to cap the 1970 season, and he was the backup to Griese on the Dolphins’ 1973 championship team.
Barcelona, Spain — Top-ranked Rafael Nadal’s clay-court struggles worsened Friday as his 41-match winning streak at the Barcelona Open ended with a three-set loss to Nicolas Almagro in the quarterfinals.
Nadal was looking for his ninth title in Barcelona but lost 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4, a week after going out in the quarterfinals of the Monte Carlo Masters to David Ferrer. Nadal, widely considered the greatest clay-court player of all time, hadn’t lost in Barcelona since his debut as a 15-year-old in 2003, although he missed the tournament in 2010. He had not dropped a set here since the 2008 final.
The 20th-ranked Almagro converted his second match point, smashing a forehand down the line for his first career victory over his fellow Spaniard on the 11th try.
Sharapova in Semis
Stuttgart, Germany — Two-time defending champion Maria Sharapova needed eight match points to put away top-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 6-3 Friday for a place in the Porsche Grand Prix semifinals.
Sharapova has won 11 consecutive matches on Stuttgart’s indoor clay. Her semifinal opponent will be eight-seeded Sara Errani, who was leading 6-3, 6-7 (6), 3-0 when Carla Suarez Navarro retired with a hand injury.
UConn’s Daniels Off to NBA
Storrs, Conn. — National champion UConn is losing one junior star to the NBA draft, while another says he is staying with the Huskies.
The school announced Friday that forward DeAndre Daniels has filed the necessary paperwork with the NBA and will forgo his senior season of eligibility.
It also said that guard Ryan Boatright will return next season.
Daniels said he discussed the decision with his family and they all agreed it was time to turn pro.
Daniels averaged 13.1 points and 6.0 rebounds during the season, but 16.0 points and 7.2 rebounds during the Huskies’ NCAA tournament run, improving his draft stock along the way.