GOLF

Brian Bickford was named the new executive director of the Maine State Golf Association.

Bickford replaces longtime executive director Nancy Storey, who retired in January after a 21-year career.

Bickford has been the director of golf and head golf professional at Val Halla Golf Course in Cumberland since 2006, has served on the board of the New England Professional Golfers’ Association (NEPGA) and has been the Greely High golf coach.

Bickford was elected to the Maine Golf Hall of Fame in 2016, and was recognized by his PGA peers as the NEPGA Maine Chapter Golf Professional of the Year in 2013 and again in 2018.

PGA: Andres Romero shot a 6-under 66 in windy conditions to take the first-round lead at the Puerto Rico Open at Rio Grande, Puerto Rico.

Austria’s Sepp Straka was a stroke back in the event that was canceled last year because of Hurricane Maria.

LPGA: Eun-Hee Ji of South Korea led the LPGA Thailand by two shots after opening with a 9-under-par 63 at Chonburi, Thailand.

Minjee Lee of Australia, Danielle Kang of the United States and Jenny Shin of South Korea each had a 65.

MEXICO CHAMPIONSHIP: Rory McIlroy nearly made a hole-in-one on the same short par 4 that Tiger Woods hit his first competitive shot in Mexico out-of-bounds.

McIlroy kept right on rolling to an 8-under 63 for a one-shot lead at Mexico City.

Woods opened with a double bogey and salvaged his round with an even-par 71.

Justin Thomas, who lost in a playoff last year to Phil Mickelson, and Matt Kuchar were at 66.

Woods is skipping the Honda Classic next week as he tries to figure out a busy Florida schedule leading to the Masters.

HOCKEY

ECHL: The Maine Mariners added a pair of forwards, claiming Ryan Siiro off waivers from the Fort Wayne Komets and signing Charles-Eric Legare to an amateur tryout agreement.

FOOTBALL

NFL: The New Orleans Saints released veteran safety Kurt Coleman after only one season.

The Cincinnati Bengals completed their lengthy search for a defensive coordinator by hiring Lou Anarumo, who was the New York Giants’ defensive backs coach last season.

The Chicago Bears released tight end Dion Sims.

OBIT

MEDIA: Longtime Boston Globe baseball writer Nick Cafardo died while covering spring training after collapsing on the sidewalk outside the Red Sox clubhouse at Fort Myers, Florida. He was 62.

The newspaper said Cafardo appeared to have an embolism. The team’s medical staff responded quickly but was unable to revive him.

TENNIS

DUBAI CHAMPIONSHIPS: Unseeded Belinda Bencic rallied to beat second-ranked Simona Halep 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 to reach the semifinals.

Second-seeded Petra Kvitova won the last eight games to oust Viktoria Kuzmova 6-4, 6-0. She will face Su-wei Hsieh, who came from 5-1 down in the final set to beat fourth-seeded Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 1-6, 7-5.

In the final quarterfinal, two-time defending champion Elina Svitolina defeated Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2, 6-3.