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Golf Capsules

Golf Capsules

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) It was hot, humid and his putts were lipping out. Tiger Woods felt as if he'd been run over halfway through his first round in Malaysia since winning the 1999 World Cup on the same course.

The 14-time major winner rallied, making five birdies on the back nine Thursday for a 5-under 66 that left him three strokes behind leader Troy Matteson in the CIMB Classic. Matteson had eight birdies in his 63 to take a one-stroke lead over fellow Americans Jeff Overton, Brian Harman and Robert Garrigus.

Woods, in the last pairing with Australia's Marcus Fraser, birdied Nos. 3 and 5, but missed two short par putts at the eighth and ninth and seemed frustrated, frequently wiping his face and neck with a white towel and glaring after the balls that didn't drop in the cup.

He rallied with birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 and added three more on Nos. 15-17.

Woods is competing for the first time in Malaysia since teaming with Mark O'Meara to win the 1999 World Cup at The Mines. Woods also won the individual title.

The tournament will become a full-fledged PGA Tour event next year when the tour begins its new season in October after the FedEx Cup.

A lightning and thunderstorm started dumping rain on the course less than an hour after play ended and, with the forecast for more rain on Friday, organizers decided to move tee times ahead by 40 minutes in the second round.

BMW MASTERS

SHANGHAI (AP) - Wales' Jamie Donaldson shot a course-record 10-under 62 to take a four-stroke lead after the first round in the European Tour's BMW Masters.

Donaldson broke the record of 63 set last year by South Korea's Noh Seung-yul on The Masters Course at Lake Malaren Golf Club. Donaldson had only 24 putts.

Sweden's Peter Hanson and Italy's Francesco Molinari were tied for second at 66s.

Top-ranked Rory McIlroy, the defending champion, had a 67 and blamed a headache on the air pollution over China's financial capital. Fellow Northern Ireland player Michael Hoey and Europe Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal also shot 67.

LPGA TAIWAN CHAMPIONSHIP

YANG MEI, Taiwan (AP) - South Korea's Inbee Park shot a 7-under 65 to take a two-stroke lead over local favorite and top-ranked Yani Tseng after the first round of the LPGA Taiwan Championship.

Park, the tour money leader who won the Evian Masters in July in France and the LPGA Malaysia two weeks ago in Kuala Lumpur, had seven birdies at Sunrise Golf and Country Club.

Defending champion Tseng had six birdies and a bogey.

Americans Nicole Castrale and Danielle Kang were three strokes back at 68 and along with South Korea's Hee Young Park and Thailand's Pornanong Phatlum.

Suzann Pettersen, the winner Sunday in South Korea, had a 69.

Michelle Wie opened with a 71.

WEB.COM TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP

McKINNEY, Texas (AP) - Tag Ridings, Justin Bolli, Cliff Kresge, Michael Putnam, Brad Fritsch and Justin Hicks shared the first-round lead in the Web.com Tour Championship, shooting 6-under 65 in windy conditions.

The top 60 on the money list qualified for the season-ending event at TPC Craig Ranch, and the final top 25 will earn 2013 PGA Tour cards. At 11th on the money list, Hicks is the only one of the six leaders to have wrapped up a tour card. Fritsch, from Canada, is 21st, Putnam 30th, Kresge 38th, Bolli 44th and Ridings 51st.

Luke Guthrie and Philip Pettitt Jr. were a stroke back. Guthrie, the former Illinois player who has two victories since turning pro after the NCAA tournament, is second on the money list, and Pettitt is 36th.

The winner will receive $180,000 from the $1 million purse.

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Burakovsky is back in for Game 6

Burakovsky is back in for Game 6

Coach Barry Trotz indicated that Andre Burakovsky’s benching wouldn’t last long.

And it didn’t.

The 23-year-old winger will return to the lineup on Monday night as the Caps look to stave off elimination in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final.

During the morning skate, Burakovsky skated on the third line with Lars Eller and Brett Connolly—a trio that’s enjoyed some success in the past.

It’s been a difficult postseason for Burakovsky, who has not recorded a point in six games. He missed 10 contests after suffering a hand injury in Game 2 of the first round that required minor surgery.

What he found out upon returning was this: coming back from injury in the regular season is hard...and it’s exponentially tougher in the playoffs.

“It’s definitely tough to jump in in the semifinal,” he said. “When you’re out, you just want to get in and help the team and do what you’re good at—score goals and produce.”

“What I realized is that it’s not that easy,” he added. “I really thought I could jump in and just play like I did before I got injured. 

But obviously it didn’t work out as well I thought it would.”  

Burakovsky also said that he’s planning to work with a sports psychologist this summer in an effort to maintain an even keel when things aren’t going as well as he would like. It’s a problem that he said he’s struggled with since his childhood.

Asked what he hopes to see from Burakovsky in Game 6, Coach Barry Trotz kept it simple: offense.

The Caps have scored just two goals in each of the last three games, with Evgeny Kuznetsov contributing 50-percent of that total.

“He’s a guy that’s given us some good offense all through his time here,” Trotz said of Burakovsky. “We think that he can add some of that.”

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5 keys for the Caps to win Game 6 and force a decisive Game 7 against the Lightning

5 keys for the Caps to win Game 6 and force a decisive Game 7 against the Lightning

The more you look at Monday's Game 6 between the Washington Capitals and the Tampa Bay Lightning, the more you realize this game is the most important game of Alex Ovechkin's career.

This is the first time Ovechkin and Co. have made it to the conference finals and it is the first time this postseason in which the Caps face elimination.

Here are the keys for the Caps to staving off elimination and forcing a Game 7:

1. Get off to a better start

It took Tampa Bay just 19 seconds to score in Game 5 and the score was 3-0 nothing before the Capitals really began to show any signs of life. They cannot allow the Lightning to jump all over them in the same way and take the crowd out of the game early.

With the game being in Washington, the Caps will have the crowd on their side. Use it.

The Caps have been at their best this series playing the trap, holding their own blue line and countering against Tampa Bay's aggressive defensemen leading to odd-man breaks. That's a hard gameplan to run if you're playing from behind. Scoring first would go a long way for Washington.

2. Stay out of the penalty box

Washington has given up six power play goals to Tampa Bay on just 15 opportunities in this series. That means the Lightning's power play is producing at a blistering rate of 40-percent. That's an insanely good power play rate and that may be putting it mildly.

So far, the penalty kill has had no answer for how to shut down a Tampa Bay unit that features Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov setting up for one-timers and being quarterbacked by Victor Hedman. That's a formidable cast.

If you can't beat it, then there's only one solution: Stay out of the box.

Despite everything that went wrong in Game 5, the one thing the Caps did right was not give up many penalties. They took only one on the night and even that one was avoidable as Brett Connolly got caught holding Brayden Point trying to get around him to get the puck.

3. Win the top line matchup

The Lightning have found success matching their fourth line against Ovechkin. Of his six points this series, only two of them (one goal, one assist) have come at 5-on-5. That's not good enough.

It's gut check time. The Caps need their best players to be at their best and that means Ovechkin has to win the matchup against Chris Kunitz, Cedric Paquette and Ryan Callahan. In Game 5, Tampa Bay's fourth line actually outscored Ovechkin's line in 5-on-5 play 2-0.

Washington will not win this game if the fourth line outscores Ovechkin's line. It's just that simple.

4. Take advantage of the power play opportunities

The Caps scored at least one power play goal in Game 1 and Game 2, both wins. They have not scored any since and have lost all three games since. They scored on three of seven opportunities in the first two games and zero of seven opportunities in the last three.

Not a coincidence.

Granted, they did not draw any penalties in Game 5, but it seems unlikely the Lightning will stay out of the box for another sixty minutes. At some point, they will take a penalty and when they do, Washington must take advantage.

5. Win the goalie matchup

Not much attention has been paid to Braden Holtby in this series. The Caps are not facing elimination because they have been getting bad goaltending, but when the Lightning needed Andrei Vasilevskiy to steal them a win and up his game to get them back into the series, he responded.

Vasilevskiy has been brilliant the last three games as he has turned aside 100 of the 106 shots he has faced for a .943 save percentage. For the series, Holtby has a save percentage of only .883.

Again, Washington is not down 3-2 in the series because of goaltending. Holtby has faced far fewer shots than Vasilevskiy and has been just about the only thing that has worked against Tampa Bay's lethal power play.

But as one of the team's top players, the Caps need Holtby to step up the way Vasilevskiy has. Game 6 will be about winning by any means necessary. If that means they need a hat trick from Ovechkin so be it. If that means they need Holtby to steal it for them, so be it.

Holtby has to be just as good as Vasilevskiy in Game 6, if not better, for Washington to come out on top.

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