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Golf Capsules

Golf Capsules

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) Graeme McDowell has done a lot right this year, except for win. He now has one last chance to fix that.

McDowell, back at the course that has provided two big moments for his career, opened with three straight birdies Friday and finished strong for a 6-under 66 to take a three-shot lead in the World Challenge.

Bo Van Pelt had to save bogey on the last hole for a 68, leaving him tied for second with Keegan Bradley and Jim Furyk, who each had a 69. Tournament host and defending champion Tiger Woods was tied for the lead at one point on the back nine but had to settle for a 69. He was four shots behind.

McDowell hasn't won since this tournament in 2010.

NEDBANK GOLF CHALLENGE

SUN CITY, South Africa (AP) - Scotland's Paul Lawrie shot a 3-under 69 in the Nedbank Golf Challenge to take a one-stroke lead over Germany's Martin Kaymer in the 12-man event.

Lawrie had a 4-under 140 total at Gary Player Country Club. Kaymer, Lawrie's Ryder Cup teammate, shot 69.

South Africans Louis Oosthuizen (72) and Charl Schwartzel (71) were three strokes back along with Italy's Francesco Molinari (71) and American Bill Haas (73).

England's Lee Westwood, the two-time defending champion, was even par after a 73.

PGA TOUR QUALIFYING TOURNAMENT

LA QUINTA, Calif. (AP) - South Korea's Meen Whee Kim shot a 5-under 67 on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course to maintain a one-stroke lead after the third round of the PGA Tour qualifying tournament.

The 20-year-old Kim had an 18-under 131 total in the six-round event. The final top 25 and ties will receive 2013 PGA Tour cards and the next 50 and ties will earn Web.com Tour cards.

Sweden's Robert Karlsson was second after a 65. The 11-time European Tour winner also played the Nicklaus course.

LPGA TOUR QUALIFYING TOURNAMENT

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Thailand's Moriya Jutanugarn shot a 3-under 69 to open a six-stroke lead after the third round of the LPGA Tour qualifying tournament.

The 18-year-old Jutanugarn had a 13-under total at LPGA International. The final top 20 in the five-round event will earn full tour status.

Ayako Uehara was second, also after a 69. Two-time tour winner Christina Kim, tied for third entering the round, had a 75 to drop into a tie for 13th at 2 under.

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With Burakovsky out, is Chandler Stephenson the next man up?

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USA TODAY Sports

With Burakovsky out, is Chandler Stephenson the next man up?

With Andre Burakovsky out for the remainder of the first round at least, someone will have to replace him in the top six. Originally, it looked like Jakub Vrana was the man for the job. Based on Game 4, however, it now looks like Chandler Stephenson is the "next man up" for the Caps.

While Vrana may have top-six skill and a high ceiling, it was Stephenson who stepped into the second-line role on Thursday playing alongside Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie. Stephenson finished with two shots on goal in 17:28 of ice time. Vrana, meanwhile, played for only 6:40.

On Friday, Barry Trotz praised Stephenson's hockey IQ for allowing him to adjust to the top-six in a complementary role.

"[Stephenson's] an intelligent player," Trotz said. "He played with [Backstrom] a lot [Thursday]. If you talk with the real top-end guys, he has the ability to think like a top-end guy in terms of play with them. He’s a very intelligent player. He skates extremely well. He’s got some strength to his game. He can complement people. I think his ability to play those different roles and his hockey IQ when you play with those skill guys, he plays more of a give-and-go game than an individual game. When you play with those high skill guys, you’re able to compliment them very well."

Stephenson has spent the majority of the season on the fourth line. He was drafted as a natural center, but has played primarily wing since coming to the NHL. The ability to play both positions gives Stephenson more versatility than most forwards which Trotz credits for helping him see the game so well.

"The great thing about Chandler is he’s played multiple positions over the years. I think it’s allowed him to play a fourth-line role and with high-skill guys. At center-ice, you distribute the puck a little more.  He’s turning into a well-rounded player for us."

On the surface, having Stephenson on the fourth line over Vrana makes little sense. Vrana is highly skilled and has great speed, but he is also prone to giving up turnovers and his production can be inconsistent. Trotz has clearly put a premium on responsible play this postseason which gives Stephenson the edge.

But Game 4 was only one game. If you are going to get top-six minutes, Stephenson will be expected to produce offensively as well. Despite the limited ice time he has gotten, Vrana has shown he can have a major impact on games. In Game 1, he set up the team's only 5-on-5 goal and drew a penalty. In Game 3, he drew two penalties in less than two minutes, giving Washington a two-man advantage.

Stephenson had a fantastic game in Game 4 when he was given the chance to play in the top-six. The next step will be finding a way to have a bigger impact on the game.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 21, five days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington

Should the Redskins pursue Dez Bryant? This topic was one like a meteor, very hot for a short period of time before it quickly faded out. It started to heat up as soon as the Cowboys cut Dez (about a month too late) and when it was reported that he wanted to play against Dallas twice a year it really picked up steam. But then people started to actually think and figured out that signing Bryant didn’t make much sense for the Redskins. Add to that the reports that the Redskins had no interest and would not look into signing Dez in the future and the Redskins fans quickly lost enthusiasm for the topic.

Seven-round Redskins mock draft—I think that most Redskins fans would be happy with this mock. Well, I’ll say some Redskins fans, most is a pretty strong word in this case. 

Is the draft pool deep enough for the Redskins to trade back? There is plenty of talk about the Redskins trading down in the first round to recoup the third-round pick they gave up in the Alex Smith trade. But they need to be careful. Many consider the draft to be top heavy and they may lose their chance to pick up an impact player if they trade back too far. The question then becomes one of quality vs. quantity. 

Three questions as offseason workouts get underway—There will be plenty more questions that we can ask about this team. But we don’t really know what to ask before the draft, particularly when it comes to the defensive line and running back. One the personnel settle into place we will know what we don’t know. 

Tweet of the week

On Chris Cooley’s thought that the Redskins might try to trade back and get Da’Ron Payne in the draft and the use the assets obtained to move up to get Derrius Guice. 

This is related to the questions about trading back. On paper it looks like a good idea, assuming the Redskins want Payne. We’re pretty sure they would like to have Guice but we haven’t heard as much about the Alabama defensive lineman. 

I had many reply that Guice won’t be there in the second round. It’s possible, perhaps even likely, but you just don’t know. There was zero chance that Jonathan Allen would be there at No. 17 last year, right? 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS.

Timeline  

Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 31
—Training camp starts (7/26) 96
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 141

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