Around the Nation (Jan. 11): Rookies rule at the Sony Open

Associated Press Published:

Associated Press

GOLF

Rookies rule field at Hawaii's Sony Open

HONOLULU -- Two days into his PGA Tour career, Russell Henley was on his way to breaking a record.

Henley had another 7-under 63 on Friday in the Sony Open and wound up with a two-shot lead over fellow rookie Scott Langley among early starters in the second round. He was at 14-under 126, which breaks by two shots the 36-hole record at this tournament.

In the first full-field event of the season, the two rookies are leading the way.

Langley finished with three straight birdies for a 66, a solid effort after opening with a 62. Depending on afternoon play, they would play together a third straight day, this time as the final group. They first were linked as low amateurs in the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

Former Kent State standout Ben Curtis is far off the lead after firing a first-round 74 (4-over).

AUTO RACING

Earnhardt Jr. starts big wreck at Daytona test

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. started a 12-car accident at Daytona International Speedway that essentially shut down a three-day test session.

NASCAR's most popular driver tapped Marcus Ambrose as they drove across the back straightaway, lifting him "like a forklift" and turning him into the wall. Ambrose's car bounced back across the track and collected a host of others.

Two of Earnhardt's Hendrick Motorsports teammates, Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne, also were involved. So were defending Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski, new teammate Joey Logano, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Jamie McMurray, Martin Truex Jr., Aric Almirola and Regan Smith.

Kahne's car sustained significant damage.

The wreck caused several teams to pack up and leave Daytona, and ended the pack racing that NASCAR wanted to see to evaluate its redesigned cars.

TELEVISION

Hannah Storm to return to ESPN after accident

NEW YORK -- Hannah Storm is ready to return to ESPN's "SportsCenter" more than a month after suffering serious burns in a propane grill accident.

Storm plans to work Sunday morning's show from the ESPN set in Bristol, Conn.

Storm last appeared on "SportsCenter" on Dec. 10, a day before she sustained first- and second-degree burns to her face, hands, chest and neck outside her home. She's been on the air once since then, co-hosting ABC's telecast of the Rose Parade on Jan. 1.

The flash flames burned off Storm's eyebrows and eyelashes and roughly half her hair, melting some skin on her nose and hands and also singeing her corneas. Her corneas are expected to repair themselves.

Storm hopes to work Monday, depending on her strength, and then add a day or two the next week. She is scheduled for daytime "SportsCenter" coverage in New Orleans the week before the Super Bowl.

FOOTBALL

It's official: Shafer takes over at Syracuse

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Scott Shafer, who is a Baldwin Wallace graduate, was introduced Friday as the new coach at Syracuse, and he emotionally vowed to continue what Doug Marrone started four years ago.

Marrone, who was named coach of the Buffalo Bills Monday, preached discipline, accountability, character, and integrity, in rejuvenating a team that went 10-37 under his predecessor, Greg Robinson, and transformed it into a two-time bowl winner.

Syracuse finished 2012 at 8-5 after beating West Virginia 38-14 in the Pinstripe Bowl and earned a share of the Big East regular-season title with a 5-2 conference mark, its best since Paul Pasqualoni's 2001 team went 6-1.

Shafer tabbed Chuck Bullough as Syracuse's defensive coordinator but still has to find an offensive coordinator. Nathaniel Hackett left to join Marrone's staff in the same role.

Bama's Lacy, Milliner, Fluker enter NFL Draft

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama tailback Eddie Lacy, cornerback Dee Milliner and right tackle D.J. Fluker are entering the NFL Draft.

Lacy and Milliner announced their plans to skip their senior seasons Friday at a news conference. Coach Nick Saban says Fluker couldn't be there but made the same decision.

Milliner is considered a potentially early first-round pick. He had two interceptions and 22 pass deflections.

Lacy was MVP of the national championship game after rushing for 140 yards and scoring two touchdowns.

The 6-foot-6, 335-pound Fluker started 35 games for the Tide and was a second-team Associated Press All-American.

Fluker and Lacy are regarded as likely early round selections.

BASKETBALL

Wizards' Wall cleared to make debut tonight

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards say point guard John Wall has received "full medical clearance" and will make his season debut tonight against the Atlanta Hawks.

Wall completed his third straight day of practice with no setbacks Friday. He said he's feeling no discomfort in his knee.

The former No. 1 overall pick has been sidelined since being diagnosed with a stress injury to his left kneecap in September.

Coach Randy Wittman said he'll have to keep an eye on Wall's conditioning during the next few games. Wall said he's still "getting his legs."

Without Wall, the Wizards are 5-28 -- the worst record in the NBA.

BASEBALL

Milton Bradley charged with domestic abuse

LOS ANGELES -- Former Los Angeles Dodgers and Seattle Mariners outfielder Milton Bradley has been charged with abusing his estranged wife and faces up to 13 years in jail if convicted.

Los Angeles city prosecutors charged Bradley on Thursday with 13 misdemeanor counts, including assault with a deadly weapon.

Prosecutors contend he threatened and assaulted his wife at least five times in 2011 and last year. Bradley remains free pending a scheduled Jan. 24 arraignment.

Bradley's attorney, Harland Braun, says his client denies the charges and contends that his wife made up the allegations.

The couple, who have two children, are separated and in the middle of a contentious divorce.

Bradley played 11 years with several teams. He's been a free agent since the Seattle Mariners released him in 2011.

Blue Jays sign catcher, Blanco, 41, to contract

TORONTO -- The Toronto Blue Jays and catcher Henry Blanco have agreed to terms on a one-year, $750,000 non-guaranteed contract.

The team announced the deal Friday.

The 41-year-old Blanco played in 21 games for Arizona last season, batting .188 with one home run and seven RBI, before torn ligament in his left thumb ended his season in August.

In 15 major league seasons, Blanco has hit .227 with 69 home runs and 284 RBI with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Colorado Rockies, Milwaukee Brewers, Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres, New York Mets and Diamondbacks.

Left-hander Tommy Hottovy has been designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.

ICE HOCKEY

Niedermayer joins Ducks' coaching staff

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Former Anaheim Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer will be an assistant coach to Bruce Boudreau this season.

The Ducks announced the appointment Friday.

Niedermayer spent the final five seasons of his 18-year career in Anaheim, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the NHL's playoff MVP while leading the Ducks to their only Stanley Cup championship in 2007.

The offense-minded defenseman retired in June 2010 at just 36 years old. He spent the last two years as a consultant to the Ducks' hockey operations department.

Niedermayer was a six-time All-Star who won the Norris Trophy in 2004 while playing for New Jersey. He won three Stanley Cup titles with the Devils in 1995, 2000 and 2003.

Niedermayer joins Ducks assistant coaches Bob Woods and Brad Lauer.

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