Spieth, McIlroy start well at Match Play tourney

Masters champion Jordan Spieth had to play good golf for an easy time Wednesday in the Match Play Championship. Rory McIlroy made only one birdie and had an even easier time against Jason Dufner.

Unlike last year, it only meant that they were off to a good start in a tournament that won’t have any clarity until players start packing their bags.

Spieth made six birdies, including a 7-iron to 4 feet on the par-3 13th for some breathing room, and closed out Mikko Ilonen on the 16th hole at TPC Harding Park. McIlroy made birdie on the opening hole and let Dufner do the rest, which was not much at all. The former PGA champion made five bogeys and lost on the 14th hole.

As usual, plenty of big names lost early.

Defending champion Jason Day struggled off the tee and lost to Charley Hoffman. Justin Rose lost to Mark Leishman. Henrik Stenson and Jimmy Walker lost in extra holes. Matt Kuchar lost when Ben Martin made a hole-in-one on the 17th hole and they matched pars on the 18th.

Instead of going home, they have some hope.

The format this year is 16 four-man groups in round-robin play, with the winner of each group advancing to the round of 16 on the weekend.

 Tiger Woods added the Greenbrier Classic in West Virginia to his summer schedule. The tournament starts July 2.

• Calvin Peete, who taught himself how to play golf at 24 and became the most successful black player on the PGA Tour before the arrival of Tiger Woods, died in Atlanta, the PGA Tour said. He was 71.

The tour did not have a cause of death.


BOYS’ LACROSSE: Drew Hale had four goals and two assists to pace Berwick Academy in an 18-3 victory over Bancroft at South Berwick.

Jake Gross and Sam Zimmerman each scored twice for the Bulldogs.


FOOTBALL: Alabama cornerback Cyrus Jones was arrested on domestic violence charges for allegedly damaging a woman’s cellphone and threatening her.


NFL: Kansas prosecutors declined to bring felony charges against Cowboys running back Joseph Randle following a domestic disturbance at a hotel in Wichita, saying they concluded after reviewing the extensive police investigation that there is a lack of evidence to support them.

 Fox will broadcast its NFL pregame show from the deck of the Battleship Missouri Memorial the day before the 74th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attacks on Dec. 6.


NASCAR: Danica Patrick is losing GoDaddy as her primary car sponsor.

The internet domain giant has decided to pull its NASCAR sponsorship of Patrick’s No. 10 Chevrolet, which is fielded by Stewart-Haas Racing.


ISTANBUL OPEN: Top-seeded Roger Federer gave a demonstration of his service skills as he beat Jarkko Nieminen 6-2, 7-5 to reach the quarterfinals.


MLS: Major League Soccer suspended Chicago Fire midfielder Matt Watson, Sporting Kansas City midfielder Servando Carrasco and Real Salt Lake midfielder John Stertzer for one game each and fined them undisclosed amounts.

– From staff and news services