Spieth wins amid strong winds at Match Play

Soren Kjeldsen and Alex Noren won their groups in the Dell Technologies Match Play, one round before group play is even done at Austin, Texas.

Thursday was as wild as it gets in this tournament, especially with wind ripping so hard through the edge of Hill Country that Phil Mickelson chipped into the water and still halved the hole.

Brandt Snedeker, showing class in the midst of such exasperating conditions, conceded a 7-foot putt when Andy Sullivan’s ball rolled up toward the hole and the wind blew it back.

Jordan Spieth beat Japan’s Yuta Ikeda 4-and-2 a day after losing his first-round match by the same score to Japan’s Hideto Tanihara.

Thursday’s victory, coupled with the draw between Tanihara and Ryan Moore, leaves Spieth needing to beat Moore on Friday and for Tanihara to draw or lose to Ikeda if Spieth is to move on to Saturday’s knockout rounds.

PGA: Five days after getting married, Trey Mullinax ran off nine birdies and saved par with a 15-foot putt on his last hole for a 9-under 63 to lead at Rio Grande, Puerto Rico.

Mullinax had a one-shot lead over D.A. Points among the early starters at Coco Beach Golf and Country Club.

Mullinax got married Saturday in Birmingham, Alabama, to Abi Essman, whom he has dated since high school.

LPGA: Cristie Kerr and Mo Martin each shot a 6-under 66 to take the early lead at the Kia Classic at Carlsbad, California.

Kerr, the 2015 Kia winner, closed with birdie-birdie. Her only bogey was on the par-4 No. 2, when a 2-foot putt lipped out.

Martin grew up in Pasadena and played at UCLA.


U.S. WOMEN: USA Hockey is beginning to reach out to potential replacement players in case the women’s national team boycotts the upcoming world championships over an ongoing wage dispute.

The organization said in a statement sent to The Associated Press on Thursday night that it’s still prioritizing having the original team on the ice.

Players are looking for a four-year contract that includes payment outside the six-month Olympic period.

The sides met for 10-plus hours in person Monday in an effort to resolve a dispute over wages. The players said USA Hockey made a “disappointing” counter proposal.


MIAMI OPEN: Frances Tiafoe, a 19-year-old from Maryland, set up a second-round meeting against 18-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer at the hard-court tournament by beating Konstantin Kravchuk 7-5, 5-7, 6-1.

In other first-round action, Horacio Zeballos came back to beat Gastao Elias 6-7 (2), 6-2, 7-5 and earn a matchup against Stan Wawrinka, who lost to Federer in the final at Indian Wells, California, on Sunday.


TOUR OF CATALONIA: Tejay van Garderen of the U.S. successfully defended his lead in a fourth stage cut short by 37 miles because of a snowstorm in northeastern Spain.

Nacer Bouhanni of France won the 84-mile stage after outsprinting Davide Cimolai of Italy in the final meters. Cimolai beat Bouhanni to win Monday’s opening stage in a photo finish.


WORLD CUP: Marcello Lippi earned his biggest win since taking over as coach of China, a 1-0 decision over South Korea in a qualifier at Seoul, South Korea. Lippi, who led his native Italy to the World Cup title in 2006, was hired by China in October.

– News service report