Sports Briefs

Posted: Friday, August 11, 2000

Kenai JV game moved to new location

The Kenai Central High School junior varsity football team will play Saturday in Homer at 11 a.m.

Skyview swimmers begin practice Monday

The Skyview High School swimming and diving team will begin practice Monday from 3:30 to 5 p.m. All athletes must bring a current physical to participate. Swimming practices for the remainder of the week will be held from 2:45 to 5 p.m.

Call the Skyview pool at 262-3905 for more information.

Tour rookie leads last women's major of 2000

AYLMER, Quebec -- Diana D'Alessio followed Betsy King's footsteps into golf, to Furman University and onto the LPGA Tour.

On Thursday, it was D'Alessio who was leading King and the rest of the field at the du Maurier Classic as the tour rookie shot a 5-under-par 67 in the first round of the LPGA's final major championship of the year.

D'Alessio's career-best round gave her a two-stroke lead over Se Ri Pak, Annika Sorenstam, Kristi Albers, Marisa Baena and Tracy Hanson.

Karrie Webb, seeking to become the first golfer since 1986 to win three majors in one year, shot a 71 at the 6,403-yard Royal Ottawa Golf Club.

Austin putts his way to lead in Buick Open

GRAND BLANC, Mich. -- For one day, Woody Austin discovered what it's like to putt as well as Tiger Woods. The result was a 9-under-par 63 that left him stunned, and also leading after the first round of the Buick Open.

Austin, whose only PGA Tour victory came in the '95 Buick Open, took only 22 putts and made 11 birdies on the pure greens of Warwick Hills Country Club to take a two-stroke lead over Paul Azinger.

''My game is pretty bad,'' Austin said. ''I needed some positive input on my game, and this was very important.''

Woods, in his first tournament since completing the Grand Slam, three-putted twice -- once from 12 feet -- but still managed to walk off the course with a 2-under 70.

Masters champion Vijay Singh and Joe Ozaki were at 66. Hal Sutton and Billy Mayfair were in the group at 67.

For Woods, it was his 24th consecutive round at par or better, dating to a 3-over 73 in the first round of the Byron Nelson Classic in May.

Raptors agree to terms with Mark Jackson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Free agent point guard Mark Jackson has agreed to a four-year, $14 million contract with the Toronto Raptors, a newspaper reported Thursday.

The team denied a deal was done, but Jackson, in an interview with The Indianapolis Star, confirmed he had come to terms with the Raptors.

''They stepped up to the plate. That's what it boiled down to. It was a no-brainer,'' Jackson told The Star.

The deal was to be announced at a news conference Friday, according to The Fan 590, an all-sports station in Toronto that is the Raptors' official broadcaster.

Jackson also told the Toronto Sun that being pursued by Raptors GM Glen Grunwald and new head coach Lenny Wilkens were important factors in his decision to go to Toronto.

''It was talking to both of them,'' Jackson said. ''They made me feel really appreciated. They gave me the sense of being wanted, and it was really good to feel that again.''

Henman upsets defending champion Sampras

MASON, Ohio -- Britain's Tim Henman beat Pete Sampras for the first time in his career Thursday night to advance to the quarterfinals of the Tennis Masters Series-Cincinnati.

Henman, the No. 15 seed, won 6-3, 6-4.

''Tim was playing great,'' Sampras said. ''He was serving great and making unbelievable passing shots. He just outplayed me in just about every area.''

Sampras, the defending champion and No.2 seed, had been 6-0 against Henman.

''It's very satisfying,'' Henman said of the breakthrough. ''It's been a long time coming.''

Sampras appeared to struggle throughout the match, at one point calling for a trainer and an aspirin. But he refused to make excuses and said there was no physical problem.

''There's always a little pain. Today, I think it was in the head,'' Sampras said.

AmericaOne sells boats to Oracle

The America's Cup no longer is a rich man's game. It's a contest for the super rich.

With four billionaires lined up to participate, skipper Paul Cayard decided to sell the best U.S. entry in this year's competition when he realized he couldn't raise enough money to be competitive.

So he announced Thursday that he sold AmericaOne, loser in the Cup semifinals in New Zealand last February, and another yacht, to Larry Ellison, chief executive officer of software giant Oracle, based in the San Francisco area. No price was disclosed, although Cayard said, ''it's a fair deal for both sides.''

But not entirely satisfying.

''It's tough,'' said Cayard, who has participated in five America's Cup campaigns. ''AmericaOne is our child, in a sense. But one also has to be realistic.''

After months of fund-raising efforts and analysis, he decided the most he was likely to come up with was about $30 million. During that period, he was contacted by Ellison's representatives.

Cayard concluded that there were likely to be four $80 million campaigns for the Cup that will be defended by New Zealand in Auckland in 2002-03.

''Beating one guy who had $80 million might be possible,'' he said in a conference call, ''but with four of them, the odds were severely diminished.''

Cayard said he wants to remain active in the Cup but doesn't know what role, if any, he'll have with Ellison.

''Some days I wake up and say, 'It's a lot of hard work to be the best skipper in the world and I want to spend more time with my kids and my family,''' he said. ''Other days I wake up and lift more weights than I ever lifted and say, 'I'm only 41 years old. I can still do it.'''

Five American syndicates were among 11 challengers to face defending champion New Zealand this year. They were whittled down to Prada of Italy and America One, representing the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco.

Cayard's boat led their best-of-nine series 4-3, then Prada won the last two races. It was the first time since Cup competition began in 1851 that the United States didn't reach the finals.

Prada got there, but was whitewashed 5-0 by New Zealand.

Patrizio Bertelli, head of the Prada syndicate, is expected to mount one of the big-bucks campaigns next time. So is Ellison.

Swiss billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli has lured away skipper Russell Coutts, tactician Brad Butterworth and others from New Zealand's team that won 10 straight finals races dating to a sweep of Dennis Conner off San Diego in 1995.

Telecommunications executive Craig McCaw reportedly is behind a Seattle syndicate that has hired Laurie Davidson, a principal designer of Team New Zealand's winning boats in 1995 and 2000.

The New York Yacht Club may not have billionaire backing but is teaming up with four-time Cup winner Dennis Conner to launch another challenge.

Cayard insisted throughout the last competition that the American effort was diluted with five syndicates. He said he expects three to compete next time for the right to face New Zealand in the finals.

''We did not put our best foot forward last time,'' he said. ''If you don't have the wherewithal that Ellison and McCaw have, I find it unlikely that they will go very far.

''I really feel that we have worked toward the better American solution in our decision to take reality into account and not be bullheaded about staying on our course.''

Ellison ''did some sailing in the '70s,'' said Bill Erkelens, project manager for Sayonara, Ellison's maxiboat. ''His sailing career really has flourished in the last five years.''

Ellison won the storm-tossed Sydney-to-Hobart race off Australia for the second time in December 1998 aboard Sayonara. The race was marred by the deaths of six sailors.

Now he's prepared to enter the most prestigious sailing arena, joining such wealthy America's Cup competitors of the first four decades of the 1900s as Cornelius Vanderbilt, Sir Thomas Lipton and Sir T.O.M. Sopwith.

''In those days, they were industrialists'' who participated, Cayard said. ''Nowadays, you have the kings of high tech who have the capability to play this game.''

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