Johnson takes first-round lead in World Challenge

Zach Johnson birdied four of the par 5s and shot a 5-under 67 to take a one-shot lead Thursday over Matt Kuchar in the World Challenge at Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Only five players in the elite 18-man field managed to break par at Sherwood Country Club. One of them was tournament host Tiger Woods, who had a new driver in the bag and missed only two fairways.

EUROPEAN TOUR: English golfer Simon Dyson was given a suspended two-month ban from the European Tour and fined $49,000 after his rules violation at the BMW Masters in Shanghai in October.

Dyson was found guilty of using his ball to press down a spike mark in direct line of his short par putt.

LPGA: Stacy Lewis shot a 7-under 65 for a one-stroke lead during the suspended second round of the Dubai Ladies Masters at Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

EUROPEAN TOUR: Luke Donald’s rapid start at the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City, South Africa, was halted by lightning, leaving the former top-ranked Englishman ahead by two shots through 11 holes.


FOOTBALL: Cony High quarterback Ben Lucas has been named the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year in football.

Lucas, a record-setting passer, led the Rams of Augusta to the Class B state football championship with a 30-23 win over Kennebunk last month. Lucas threw three touchdowns and passed for 347 yards in rallying Cony.

Lucas finished the season with 41 touchdown passes and 3,357 yards. His 89 touchdown passes for his career is a Maine schoolboy record as is his 7,575 passing yards.

Lucas is the first Cony player to be named Gatorade Player of the Year in football.


WORLD CUP: Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany had the fastest downhill training run a Lake Louise, Alberta, a session Olympic champion Lindsey Vonn skipped ahead of Friday’s race.

Lotte Smiseth Sejersted of Norway was second fastest, followed by Anna Fenninger of Austria. Julia Ford and Jacqueline Wiles were the top Americans on Thursday, tying for ninth.

Meanwhile, Vonn declared herself ready to race on Friday – her first race in 10 months as she pushes to get ready for the Sochi Olympics.


NASCAR: Dale Earnhardt Jr. set a record with his 11th consecutive win as NASCAR’s most popular driver – breaking a tie with 16-time winner Bill Elliott.

Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Danica Patrick comprised the top five.


MLS: Vancouver forward Camilo Sanvezzo earned the 2013 Goal of the Year for his flying scissor-kick volley on Oct. 6 against Portland.

Camilo led the league in scoring with 25 goals.

Also, Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando won his second consecutive Save of the Year award.

– From staff and news services

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