GOLF

Sam Burns shot a 5-under 66 and tied the 36-hole record at the Genesis Invitational in Los Angeles as he built a five-shot lead going into the weekend.

Burns was at 12-under 130, matching the record last set in 2004 by Mike Weir and Shigeki Maruyama.

Dustin Johnson, the world’s top-ranked player, led a group at 7-under 135.

Joaquin Niemann finished with eight pars for his round of 68 and was five shots behind. He and Johnson were joined by Tyler McCumber and Jason Kokrak, who each shot 68 in the morning.

Rory McIlroy made only one birdie in his round of 76 and missed the cut, as did Justin Thomas and Bryson DeChambeau.

SKIING

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: Mathieu Faivre of France took advantage of his teammate’s trouble on the final run of the giant slalom to take home a title at the skiing world championships on Friday in Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italy.

France’s Mathieu Faivre shows his gold medal from the men’s giant slalom at the skiing world championships Friday in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. Marco Tacca/Associated Press

Alexis Pinturault, the last starter in the final run after holding a big first-leg lead, skied out after seven gates, losing a perfect chance to finally win gold in the discipline at a major event after four bronze medals from Olympics and previous worlds.

“I am kind of sad for Alexis, of course. It would have been amazing to be both on the podium,” Faivre said. “It was not so easy to enjoy it. But for sure I am really proud of it. I am really proud of my team, of my mindset.”

Faivre’s reaction to his teammate’s circumstances was quite different from three years ago. He was sent home from the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics by the French team for an apparent lack of team spirit. Faivre didn’t seem happy about Pinturault winning a medal and was quoted as saying, “I’m here to race for myself only.”

Luca de Aliprandini took silver for home nation Italy’s first medal in the men’s events. Marco Schwarz, the winner of Monday’s combined event, earned bronze for Austria’s 300th worlds medal overall.

Faivre buried his face in his hands once Pinturault faltered, and De Aliprandini hugged him.

“I am good friends with Mathieu,” the Italian said. “We are good colleagues, grew up together racing in the European Cup at the same time.”

BASKETBALL

AMERICUP QUALIFYING: Isaiah Thomas scored 19 points in his first competitive game in more than a year, helping the U.S. to a 93-77 victory over the Bahamas in a FIBA AmeriCup qualifying game in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Thomas, 32, is a two-time NBA All-Star who scored 28.9 points per game for the Boston Celtics in the 2016-17 season. But he suffered a hip injury late in that season and has never regained that form in limited opportunities. He decided to play for the Americans partly as a showcase in hopes of earning his way back into the NBA, where he most recently played for Washington last February.

The U.S. has already clinched a berth in the AmeriCup tournament to be played in 2022, but brought a strong roster that features eight players who have NBA regular-season experience. Along with Thomas, another noteworthy name is seven-time All-Star Joe Johnson, who finished with 11 points, nine rebounds and six assists.

FOOTBALL

NFL: Buffalo starting linebacker Matt Milano will explore free agency next month because of the team’s salary-cap constraints, a person with direct knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press.

Milano has been a starter since his rookie season in 2017, and his decision is based on the Bills not being in position to match the offers he is expecting to receive once the NFL’s signing period opens on March 17.

• The Carolina Panthers are releasing veteran safety Tre Boston, defensive end Stephen Weatherly and punter Michael Palardy in a salary-cap, cost-cutting move, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the moves have not been announced.

The moves will free up about $11.5 million in cap space for the Panthers, who are in the market for a quarterback and want to either re-sign or use the franchise tag on offensive tackle Taylor Moton.

The decision to release Boston comes after he signed a three-year, $18 million contract last offseason that included $8 million in guaranteed money.

Boston started all 16 games last season for the Panthers and had 95 tackles, two fumble recoveries, one interception and one sack.

OLYMPICS

RUSSIAN COMPETITORS: With Russia’s name banned from the next two Olympics, the country’s team and athletes will be officially branded as “ROC,” the International Olympic Committee said.

The team name – an acronym for Russian Olympic Committee – has been agreed on by the IOC and the World Anti-Doping Agency, which has accused the country of running a state-backed doping program.

Russia’s team name, flag and national anthem were banned from this year’s Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The CAS ruling imposed two years of sanctions on Russian sports for tampering with a testing database in Moscow while the laboratory was under state control.

The agreement of calling the team ROC avoids using the word “neutral,” which WADA insisted must counter-balance any reference to the word “Russia” on uniforms or equipment.

Russian competitors were known as “Olympic Athletes from Russia” at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The Russian team flag in Tokyo and Beijing will be the ROC symbol — an Olympic flame in the white, blue and red stripes of the national flag above the five Olympic rings.

SOCCER

WORLD CUP QUALIFYING: The Asian Football Confederation announced that the majority of the region’s 2022 World Cup qualifying matches in March will be postponed to May and June – with a few exceptions that include Japan, Australia and Saudi Arabia.

“Taking into consideration the existing travel and quarantine restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic across the continent, the AFC and FIFA have jointly agreed to postpone the majority of the upcoming Asian qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022,” the AFC said in a statement.

There are four games that will go ahead. On March 25, Saudi Arabia will host Yemen in Riyadh while Tajikistan and Mongolia will also play. Five days later, Mongolia will travel to Tokyo to take on Japan and Australia heads to Nepal.

No second-round qualification matches have been played since November 2019 because of multiple postponements due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. The race is now on to finish that second round, with most of the 40 teams involved having four games remaining before the current deadline of June 15.

 


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