Headlines from around the world in sports
Action Express takes win in Rolex 24 at Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Joao Barbosa held off Max Angelelli on a restart with 8:23 remaining of a 24-hour race to give Action Express Racing its second win in four years at the prestigious Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Barbosa had driven the No. 5 Corvette to a 13.1-second lead yesterday when a full-course caution with 21 minutes remaining put the victory in jeopardy. The field was bunched and allowed Angelelli one final chance to give Wayne Taylor Racing the win.
But Barbosa easily pulled away to get the win for teammates Christian Fittipaldi and Sebastian Bourdais.
Wayne Taylor Racing finished second for the second consecutive year. Action Express’s second car finished third and Chevrolet swept the podium with three Corvette teams left standing at the end of the twice-around-the-clock endurance race.
Korda wins Bahamas LPGA Classic
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas – Jessica Korda won the season-opening Bahamas LPGA Classic yesterday for her second tour title, holing a 6-foot birdie putt on the final hole to beat Stacy Lewis by a stroke.
The 20-year-old Korda closed with a 7-under 66 for a 19-under 273 total on Atlantis Resort’s Ocean Club course. Lewis parred the final four holes – two of them par 5s – for a 66.
Korda tied Lewis for the lead with a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-3 17th, then got up and down for birdie on the par-5 18th. Korda’s 4-iron approach on 18 scampered through the green to the fringe just short of the grandstand. With an official and a TV announcer holding up cords that would have interfered with her stroke, she putted to set up the winning birdie.
Korda also won the 2012 Women’s Australian Open.
Free agent RHP Garza, Brewers reach 4-year deal
MILWAUKEE – Free agent pitcher Matt Garza signed a four-year contract with Milwaukee yesterday, strengthening the top of the rotation and boosting the Brewers’ hopes following a disappointing season.
The Brewers made the announcement, saying the contract included a vesting option for the 2018 season. Earlier in the afternoon, team owner Mark Attanasio was on stage during a question-and-answer session at a fan event and said a deal was in place.
A person familiar with the negotiations, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the contract, told the Associated Press the four-year deal was worth $50 million with an extra $1 million per year in reachable performance bonuses for a starter.
The 30-year-old righty went 10-6 with a 3.82 ERA last season for the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers. He missed most of the first two months while recovering from an injury that affected his side and back.
Former Florida St. QB Coker signs with Alabama
Former Florida State quarterback Jake Coker is transferring to Alabama.
Alabama Coach Nick Saban announced yesterday that Coker has signed with the Crimson Tide. Saban says Coker “is not only an outstanding football player, but he is also a fine young man who we feel will be a great fit with our program at Alabama.”
Coker is on target to graduate in May and would be eligible to play for the Tide in 2014.
He backed up Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston last season and will be given the opportunity to replace departed Heisman finalist AJ McCarron at Alabama.
Coker says he “was impressed with everything on my visit to Tuscaloosa” this weekend.
Italy to rest top players vs. U.S. in Fed Cup
ROME – Defending champion Italy will rest its top players when it faces the United States in Cleveland next month in the first round of the Fed Cup.
The Italian tennis federation said in a statement that Sara Errani, Roberta Vinci, Flavia Pennetta and Francesca Schiavone asked to skip the Feb. 8-9 matches.
Instead, Italy captain Corrado Barazzutti will likely rely on Camila Giorgi, Karin Knapp, Nastassja Burnett and Alice Matteucci. Says Barazzutti: “We decided to accept the request of our veterans.”
The top players cited a travel schedule that over 16 days would have taken them from the Australian Open to a tournament in Paris, then Cleveland, then to another tournament in Qatar.
Errani and Vinci won the Australian Open doubles title Friday.
The team will be announced Wednesday.
Defago, Pinturault win World Cup races in Austria
KITZBUEHEL, Austria – Alexis Pinturault of France won a World Cup super-combined event yesterday for his sixth career victory.
Pinturault posted the fastest time in the concluding slalom run to finish in an aggregate time of 2 minutes, 2.79 seconds. Ted Ligety of the United States was 0.44 back in second, and defending overall champion Marcel Hirscher of Austria was third, 1.47 behind.
Bode Miller, who led the competition after the opening super-G portion, posted the third-fastest time in slalom but was disqualified for straddling a gate.
Overall leader Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway also failed to finish the slalom run.
Earlier yesterday, Didier Defago of Switzerland edged Miller by 0.05 seconds to win the super-G, which also counted as a separate race.
Defago, who specializes in speed racing, skipped the slalom.
Gut wins windy super-G, regains form for Sochi
CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, Italy – Lara Gut won a windy super-G yesterday in the final World Cup speed race before the Sochi Olympics.
For her fifth victory of the season – but first since Lake Louise, Alberta, in early December – the Swiss skier clocked 1 minute, 27.81 seconds down the Olympia delle Tofane course.
Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein finished second, 0.12 seconds behind, for her third consecutive podium result this week, and Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany was third, 0.61 back, to maintain her lead in the overall World Cup standings.
Gut leads the super-G ranks.
The women’s circuit moves to Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, for a giant slalom and slalom next weekend – the final event before the Sochi Games open Feb. 7.
Frenzel wins season’s seventh World Cup event
OBERSTDORF, Germany – Defending overall champion Eric Frenzel of Germany won the last Nordic combined World Cup event before Sochi for his seventh win of the season yesterday.
Frenzel was third after the ski jumping and then beat Norway’s Jan Schmid by half a second in a sprint to win the 10-kilometer cross-country race in 27 minutes, 32.2 seconds.
Schmid, who had been sixth after the jump, finished ahead of Japan’s Akito Watabe, who was 4.6 seconds off the pace in third.
Olympic champion Jason Lamy Chappuis of France was 1:27.7 behind in 16th.
Frenzel further extended his lead in the overall standings. The German has 853 points, followed by Watabe on 501 and Haavard Klemetsen of Norway with 487. Lamy Chappuis is fourth with 459 points.
Humphries edges Meyers for World Cup bobsled title
KONIGSSEE, Germany – Canada’s Kaillie Humphries edged Elana Meyers of the United States by the slimmest of margins yesterday for the overall women’s World Cup bobsled title, while Fabienne Meyer of Switzerland won the last race of the season.
Humphries finished with 1,629 points, one more than Meyers. If Humphries – the Olympic champion and now a two-time overall World Cup winner – was 0.03 seconds slower yesterday, Meyers would have won the title.
Meyer and Tanja Mayer had a two-run time of 1 minute, 44.01 seconds. Meyers and Aja Evans had a stellar second run to climb six spots and finish second, just ahead of Humphries and Heather Moyse.
Jazmine Fenlator and Lolo Jones of the U.S. were eighth, two spots ahead of teammates Jamie Greubel and Lauryn Williams. Greubel finished third in the season standings.
In the four-man race later yesterday, Steven Holcomb of the U.S. drove to his fourth win of the year.
The defending Olympic four-man champion and his team of Curt Tomasevicz, Steve Langton and Chris Fogt finished two runs in 1:38.54, edging the Swiss sled driven by Beat Hefti by a mere 0.09 seconds.
Lyndon Rush of Canada drove to the bronze-medal spot.
Damjan leads Slovenian sweep in Japan
SAPPORO, Japan – Jernej Damjan won a ski jump World Cup event yesterday, leading a sweep of the podium for Slovenia.
Damjan had jumps of 138 and 134 meters for a total of 255 points to claim his first World Cup title of the season.
Peter Prevc, who leads the overall World Cup standings, was second with 254.4 points after jumps of 124 and 137.5 meters. Robert Kranjec was third after jumps of 126 and 137 earned him 253.3 points.
Prevc widened his lead in the overall World Cup standings and now has 812 points, 91 points ahead of Kamil Stoch of Poland, who did not make the trip to Japan.
Andover’s Chris Lamb didn’t qualify for the second jump, flying 103 meters for 67.6 points and 62nd place on his first jump.
Buccaneers executive Hickey hired as Dolphins GM
MIAMI – Tampa Bay Buccaneers executive Dennis Hickey has been hired as general manager of the Miami Dolphins, ending an arduous search that lasted nearly three weeks.
Hickey has been with the Buccaneers for 18 seasons, including the past three as director of player personnel. He was their director of college scouting for six years.
The hiring yesterday came after the Dolphins were rebuffed by several candidates. New England Patriots executive Nick Caserio was offered the position Saturday but turned down the Dolphins, according to multiple reports. Cleveland Browns assistant general manager Ray Farmer withdrew from consideration Thursday.
Several other candidates turned down chances to interview as a replacement for Jeff Ireland, who left after six seasons.