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Bjorn leads rain-interrupted Singapore Open

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Bjorn leads rain-interrupted Singapore Open

SINGAPORE (AP) Thomas Bjorn shot a 5-under 66 to take the lead of the Singapore Open after rain interrupted the first round Thursday.

The Dane holed six birdies to take a one-stroke lead over Simon Khan of England, Chinnarat Phadungsil of Thailand and Pablo Martin of Spain.

Top-ranked Rory McIlroy was at even par after eight holes when play was halted for the day due to rain and the threat of lightning.

Half the field -78 golfers - was still on the course when play was stopped. They'll resume Friday morning.

McIlroy, who had girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki by his side on the course, can emulate Luke Donald's 2011 feat of capturing both European and U.S. PGA Tour money titles in the same season with a strong result in Singapore.

The other big names in the field struggled. Three-time champion Adam Scott had three bogeys to go with three birdies to shoot a 71, while Phil Mickelson had a double-bogey and two bogeys on the back nine to hit a 73, one stroke better than Padraig Harrington could manage.

Bjorn said he adjusted quickly to the muggy conditions and the newly redesigned Serapong Course at Sentosa Golf Club, which players like Mickelson and Scott have deemed extremely challenging.

``I came here and saw the golf course and it's set up to be tricky this year,'' Bjorn said. ``It's not the longest golf course in the world, so if you can keep it in the fairway you can produce a score, and I did that very well today. That's only round one, so we'll work from here.''

The 41-year-old Dane is coming off a resurgent 2011 season in which he won three tournaments and finished fourth at the British Open at Royal St. George's - the scene of one of the biggest disappointments of his career.

At the 2003 British Open, Bjorn was leading by three strokes with four holes to play when his game completely unraveled. He needed three shots to get out of a bunker on the 16th hole and eventually ceded the Claret Jug to Ben Curtis.

So far this year, he's been unable to build on last season's strong results. His best finish is a share of second place at the Wales Open in June. Since then, he's only recorded two top-10 finishes on the European Tour.

Another player hoping for a boost in Singapore is Khan. He came out of nowhere to win the BMW PGA Championship in 2010 as the 471st-ranked player in the world, earning a playing exemption on the European Tour through 2015.

The 40-year-old Englishman has found limited success since and his previously improved ranking has slipped to No. 443. He pulled out of the second stage of the PGA Qualifying School this week to compete in Singapore.

``I would love to play out there (on the PGA Tour) one day. I just feel like my form really in Europe hasn't been as good as I would have liked it to have been,'' Khan said. ``For me, (with) a 7-year-old daughter at school, it gets a little bit more difficult. That was a consideration.''

Paul Casey of England had a share of fifth with South Korea's Y.E. Yang and Thailand's Kwanchai Tannin after rounds of 68.

Casey, currently in 83rd place in the European Tour money list, is making a late push to make the top 60 to qualify for the Dubai World Championship. He's finishing the year strongly, with a fifth-place result at the Perth International and a sixth-place finish at the BMW Masters in Shanghai last month.

Edoardo Molinari hit a hole-in-one on the 17th in shooting a 70 - two days after making a rare albatross on the par-5 fourth in a practice round.

``It was funny. It does not happen very often to hole two shots like that, but at least today it counted for something,'' the Italian said.

His brother, Francesco Molinari, was 3 over after nine holes when play was halted. Former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen was 2 over after eight, and John Daly was 1 over after six.

The field at the $6 million tournament has been slightly weakened this year with only four of the world's top-20 golfers playing: McIlroy (1), Scott (6), Oosthuizen (10) and Mickelson (13).

Former Hoya Marcus Derrickson signs a two-way contract with Golden State Warriors

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Former Hoya Marcus Derrickson signs a two-way contract with Golden State Warriors

Leaving the Georgetown Hoyas a season early is initially paying off for Marcus Derrickson. 

Less than a month before what would have been his senior season at Georgetown, the 6-7 forward has signed a two-way contract with the Golden State Warriors. 

Derrickson nabbed the second two-way position on the Warriors after an outstanding Summer League translated to a solid preseason.

Fitting right into the Warriors deep-ball oriented scheme, Derrickson was 6-16 from three point range during the five-game preseason. He's a versatile stretch-four that continues to develop and improve on his outside game. 

By signing a two-way contract, the former All-Big East Second teamer will have a chance to get called up to the two-time defending NBA champions at any point this season for up to 45 days. The remaining time will be with the Warriors' G-league affiliate the Santa Cruz Warriors

This arrangement will earn Derrickson a contract of $75,000 and a prorated amount for however much time he is practicing/ playing with Golden State. 

If he is called up to the NBA for more than the allotted 45 days, then the Warriors are obligated to give him a minimum rookie contract. 

Derrickson continues to prove himself as the list of aspiring players dwindles. As each contract begins to near its end, the Warriors time after time offer another opportunity.

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Trading Jodie Meeks gives Washington Wizards much-needed salary cap relief

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Trading Jodie Meeks gives Washington Wizards much-needed salary cap relief

With a luxury tax bill of approximately $19 million on the way, the Washington Wizards gave themselves some salary relief on Monday by trading veteran guard Jodie Meeks to the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Wizards attached a future second round pick and cash to the deal and in exchange received a future second round pick of their own, NBC Sports Washington has confirmed. ESPN first reported the news.

Though Meeks, 31, was due to make $3.45 million this season, his departure saves the Wizards about $7 million because of projected tax penalties. That's a lot of savings in a deal that got rid of a player who had become expendable.

Meeks had fallen out of favor with the Wizards for a variety of reasons. He was due to serve a 19-game suspension to begin the season due to performance-enhancing drugs. The ban was announced the day before their first round playoff series against the Raptors was set to begin in April.

Meeks also underperformed last season in the first year of his contract with the Wizards and requested a trade in February. This summer, Meeks exercised his player option to remain with the team.

The Wizards were not likely to count on Meeks much at all this season because they traded for Austin Rivers in June to add depth at the shooting guard position. Meeks' role was made clear by the fact he did not appear in any of the Wizards' four preseason games against NBA opponents.

Meeks' tenure in Washington was a significant disappointment. The Wizards signed him last summer in hopes he could shore up the shooting guard spot on their bench. 

Though he stayed healthy for the first time in years, he never earned the trust of his coaching staff. The Wizards opted to rely more heavily on starter Bradley Beal, who logged the fourth-most minutes of any NBA player last season.

Now, they are moving on.

Meeks leaving the organization should have little effect on the Wizards, though it does leave them with a hole on their roster that needs to be filled. They currently have 13 players, one below the league minimum. The Wizards now have 14 days to add a 14th player.

They could sign a free agent, convert one of their players on two-way contracts (Devin Robinson and Jordan McRae) or make a trade. The Meeks deal gives them a $3.45 million trade exception.

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