RBC HERITAGE: Shane Lowry was convinced his game was on the rise, despite his poor scoring. He finally showed that Thursday in the RBC Heritage, shooting a 6-under 65 to take a one-shot lead at Hilton Head, South Carolina.

Trey Mullinax, Daniel Berger, Luke List, Ryan Moore and Ryan Palmer were tied for second. Top-ranked Dustin Johnson, coming off a second-place tie at Masters last week, rallied with two birdies in his final seven holes for a 68, leaving him three shots back.

Lowry had not broken 70 in a stroke-play event since a 67  in early February on his way to missing the cut. The Irishman missed three more cuts in the past five weeks, including going 78-73 to end his Masters after two rounds.

LPGA: Nelly Korda recorded nine birdies in a bogey-free 63 late Wednesday night at Kapolei, Hawaii, for a one-shot lead after the opening round of the Lotte Championship.

Eun-Hee Ji birdied six of the final eight holes for an 8-under 64, and defending champion Brooke Henderson and Hyejin Choi, playing on a sponsor exemption, are two shots back.


WNBA: Reigning WNBA MVP Breanna Stewart has undergone surgery to repair her ruptured right Achilles tendon.

The Seattle Storm said Stewart had surgery Thursday morning in Los Angeles and is expected to be fully recovered for the start of the 2020 WNBA season.

Stewart suffered the injury while playing for Russian club Dynamo Kursk on Sunday in the EuroLeague Women championship game in Hungary.


LASIX BAN: All three hosts of the Triple Crown were among several major tracks that agreed Thursday to phase out the use of a common anti-bleeding medication starting next year, sparked by the deaths of 23 horses in three months at Santa Anita.

Starting in 2020, 2-year-old horses won’t be allowed to be treated with the drug Lasix within 24 hours of racing. Lasix, formally known as furosemide, is a diuretic given to horses on race days to prevent pulmonary bleeding.

In 2021, the ban would extend to all horses running in any stakes races at tracks in the newly announced coalition. That’s the year the Triple Crown would be run for the first time under the new medication rules. Churchill Downs, Pimlico and Belmont are host to the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont.

Lasix has not been linked to any horse deaths, but critics of the sport have cited its use in calling for the end of race-day medication. Outside North America, most countries ban race-day medication.


EUROPA LEAGUE: Chelsea scored three early goals before surviving a second-half scare to advance to the semifinals of the Europa League on Thursday with a 4-3 home win over Slavia Prague, and Arsenal beat Napoli 1-0 to make the last four for the second straight year.

In the other second-legged quarterfinal games, Valencia won 5-1 on aggregate after defeating Villarreal 2-0, and Eintracht Frankfurt overturned a two-goal deficit from the first leg. The German team went through on away goals following a 2-0 home victory over Benfica and 4-4 overall.

U.S. MEN: American soccer players are objecting to the decision by the U.S. Soccer Federation to have them play Venezuela at Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium, claiming the playing surface is dangerous.

The U.S. National Soccer Team Players Association said the June 9 match will be played on a temporary grass field on top of the venue’s artificial turf.

ENGLAND: FIFA is backing a 24-hour social media boycott by professional players in England in a protest against racial abuse and revealed plans for a new global campaign to eradicate discrimination in soccer.

Following a series of high-profile cases in recent weeks, the Professional Footballers’ Association has gathered support from Premier League stars to stay off Twitter, Facebook and Instagram from 9 a.m. Friday until 9 a.m. Saturday as they push for a crackdown on racist messages.


LAWSUIT FILED: A world champion swimmer and former University of Texas athlete is suing a Dallas-based health company claiming that its multivitamins led to her suspension from international competition.

Madisyn Cox sued Cooper Concepts on Monday in state court. She says the vitamins caused a failed drug test and a suspension handed down by the international swimming governing body.

Last year, FINA suspended Cox after she tested positive for the stimulant trimetazidine. Cox was forced to miss several major events. Her lawsuit says Cox fought the suspension and eventually had a lab conduct testing. It found the banned substance in the Cooper vitamins she’d been taking.

The company says it was “saddened and disappointed” for Cox and “immediately removed” the vitamins from its product line last year upon learning of the issue.


MONTE CARLO MASTERS: Defending champion Rafael Nadal and top-ranked Novak Djokovic eased into the  quarterfinals on Thursday at Monaco, remaining on course to meet in the final of the clay-court tournament they’ve long dominated.

The two rivals, who share 32 Grand Slam titles, could meet for a 54th time. They have won every tournament here since 2005 except for 2014. Nadal has won it a record 11 times overall, but Djokovic ended his 46-match winning streak in the 2013 edition and added another title two years later.

– Staff and news service report