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James Hahn, Roberto Castro lead Humana Challenge

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James Hahn, Roberto Castro lead Humana Challenge

LA QUINTA, Calif. (AP) James Hahn's family moved to Oakland from South Korea when he was 2, and he started playing golf two years later at his father's driving range.

``Just a `Tin Cup' kind of guy,'' Hahn said. ``Just a driving range rat.''

On Friday, in only his third big-league tournament, the 31-year-old PGA Tour rookie found himself tied for the Humana Challenge lead for the second straight day.

``I'm just soaking it in, having a good time,'' Hahn said. ``Any time that I play a good round, it feels good and makes me cherish the momentum a little bit more, because I know they're few and far between.''

He had a brief, combative college career at the University of California - ``Let's just say extracurricular activities got in the way.'' - and took a long, slow path to the PGA Tour. He won twice on the Canadian Tour in 2009 and spent the last three years on the Web.com Tour, winning an event last season and finishing fifth on the money list to earn a PGA Tour card.

``I just worked harder than everybody else,'' said Hahn, coming off a tie for 67th last week in Hawaii at the Sony Open. ``I wasn't doing anything right really the first couple years, but eventually I figured it out. Just going through trial and error is pretty much how I learned to play professionally. And to this day, I still go on YouTube for swing tips.''

He put together a highlight reel of his own Friday on the par-5 fifth hole at La Quinta Country Club, blasting a dead-straight drive, and hitting his second shot so pure that it went a little farther than he wanted. Undaunted, he turned to his trusty 54-degree wedge and holed a 30-foot, bump-and-run chip for eagle - part of a late birdie-eagle-birdie run.

``It was a long-drive stat hole, so I kind of came out of my shoes a little bit,'' Hahn said about his 310-yard poke on the tree-lined hole.

That left him 220 yards, and he figured a smooth 3-iron was his best play

``I didn't want to really overpower a 4-iron,'' Hahn said. ``I had a lot of adrenaline.''

He made perfect contact.

``Just hit it too good,'' Hahn said. ``Hit the center of the green, landed it 220, rolled to the back. ... I could have hit it with a 6-iron and probably hit it within 2 feet.''

It didn't matter when the chip rolled in.

``I read the break perfectly, broke about 2 feet straight down the hill,'' Hahn said.

Hahn finished with a 5-under 67 to match Roberto Castro at 14 under after another day of perfect conditions in the Coachella Valley. Castro shot a 67 on PGA West's Arnold Palmer Private Course after they began the round tied for the lead with Jason Kokrak at 63.

Castro had the lead alone at 16 under, but bogeyed two of his last three holes - three-putting the par-4 ninth.

``A couple slipped away there at the end, but yesterday I made a 50-footer on the last,'' Castro said. ``Today, I felt like I hit a good putt and three-putted. So, that's stuff over 72 holes that's going to even out.''

Castro is in his second season on the tour. The 27-year-old former Georgia Tech player missed the cut last week in Hawaii in his first start of the year.

``I learned a lot last year,'' Castro said. ``One of the best things that happened to me was making a lot of the cuts early in the year. I didn't have any big finishes, but I got to play four days and I got to learn pretty quickly. I got to play with some good players and watch what they do.''

Darron Stiles, Scott Stallings and Richard H. Lee were 13 under, all shooting 65. Stiles and Stallings played at La Quinta, and Lee was on the Palmer course. Kokrak had a 69 on the Nicklaus course to drop into a tie for sixth at 12 under.

Phil Mickelson shot a 67 on the Nicklaus course after opening with a 72 at La Quinta. The tournament winner in 2002 and 2004, he was nine strokes behind the leaders and two strokes off the projected cut Saturday.

``The last two holes were the first time that I actually hit solid shots and my rhythm felt good and I made good wings,'' Mickelson said. ``I've been quick from the top. My rhythm has been off and I've hit a bunch of squirrelly shots. I made a lot of rusty mistakes.''

The tournament is his first since tying for second in early November at the HSBC Champions in China, the only event he played after the Ryder Cup. He plans to play five or six straight events, a run that will end at Riviera or the Match Play Championship.

``I really want to build some momentum here on the West Coast,'' Mickelson said.

Russell Henley, the Sony Open winner Sunday in his first start as a PGA Tour member, had a 69 at the Palmer course to reach 11 under. He shot a 64 on Thursday at the Nicklaus course, and is 35 under in his first six rounds this year.

DIVOTS: The Palmer course had the highest scoring average the first two days at 69.596. La Quinta was next at 69.529, and the Nicklaus course the lowest at 67.923. ... Mike Weir, the 2003 champion, followed his opening 67 at La Quinta with a 75 at the Nicklaus course to drop into a tie for 130th in the 156-man field at 2 under. The Canadian has missed 16 consecutive cuts and finished only one tournament - a tie for 70th in the AT&T National in July 2011 - in his last 28 events. The top 70 and ties after the third round will play Sunday at the Palmer course.

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Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman loses bet, rocks Ovechkin jersey

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USA Today Sports

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman loses bet, rocks Ovechkin jersey

Nearly two weeks have passed since the Washington Capitals defeated the Vegas Golden Knights to raise their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

With one team being a first-year expansion project that turned out beautifully and the other a franchise that had not appeared in a Stanley Cup Final since 1998, there was obviously a lot on the line.

Those away from the ice had 'a lot' on the line, too.

Prior to the start of the series, each city's mayor agreed on a bet that would force the losing team's member to wear an opposing jersey at the conclusion of the Cup.

Well, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman followed through on her end of the bargain.

Here is proof of her wearing the jersey of a man who led what was arguably the greatest post-championship celebration in sports history.

 

The Capitals announced Wednesday that the team's home opener and Stanley Cup banner unveiling will be played on October 3 against the Boston Bruins.

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American League All-Star Game Roster Projection: AL will be loaded once again

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American League All-Star Game Roster Projection: AL will be loaded once again

The 2018 Major League All-Star Game is less than a month away. Fan votes are well underway and early frontrunners are close to locking their position in the Midsummer Classic.

Yesterday, we projected how the National League roster will play out. Today it is time to look at the American League roster projection.

For five straight seasons, the AL has had the upper hand in the MLB All-Star Game. In 2018, it does not appear that will change as the American League roster will be loaded from top to bottom.

As a reminder, here is how the process shakes out, first with the fan vote, players’ ballots, and the MLB Commissioner’s Office:

  • Fan vote: nine position players in AL (DH)/ eight in NL; plus final vote for each league
  • Player’s ballots: next 17 players in AL/ 16 players in NL; (five starting pitchers, three relievers must be chosen)
  • MLB Commissioner’s Office: five AL players (four pitchers, one position player) and seven NL players (four pitchers, three position players)

One player from each team must make the initial roster (before injury withdraws, etc.). Below is how it looks the American League roster will play out, considering the latest fan vote returns:

American League All-Star Roster Projection:

C – Wilson Ramos, Rays (Fan Vote), Gary Sánchez, Yankees (Player Ballot)
1B – José Abreu, White Sox (Fan Vote), Joey Gallo, Rangers (Player Ballot)
2B – Jose Altuve, Astros (Fan Vote), Jed Lowrie, Athletics (Player Ballot)
3B – José Ramírez, Indians (Fan Vote), Yangervis Solarte, Blue Jays (Player Ballot), Mike Moustakas, Royals (Commissioner’s Office)
SS – Manny Machado, Orioles (Fan Vote), Jean Segura, Mariners (Player Ballot),
OF – Mookie Betts, Red Sox (Fan Vote), Mike Trout, Angels (Fan Vote), Aaron Judge, Yankees (Fan Vote), Michael Brantley, Indians (Player Ballot), Eddie Rosario, Twins (Player Ballot), Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees (Player Ballot),
DH – J.D. Martinez, Red Sox (Fan Vote), Shohei Ohtani, Angels (Player Ballot)

SP – Justin Verlander, Astros (Player Ballot), Luis Severino, Yankees (Player Ballot), Corey Kluber, Indians (Player Ballot), Chris Sale, Red Sox (Player Ballot), Gerrit Cole, Astros (Player Ballot), Blake Snell, Tampa Bay (Commissioner’s Office)

RP – Edwin Díaz, Mariners (Player Ballot), Craig Kimbrel, Red Sox (Player Ballot), Aroldis Chapman, Yankees (Player Ballot), Joe Jiménez, Tigers (Commissioner’s Office), Delin Betances, Yankees (Commissioner’s Office), Chris Devenski, Astros (Commissioner’s Office)

Manager: Jeff Luhnow, Astros

Based on this projection, the New York Yankees will have the most representatives with six. The Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox will both have four.

Ensuring no snubs, there will be five players selected for the final fan vote to get one more All-Star into the game for a total of 32 for the American League. As you can see, no matter how the AL roster plays out, it will be a dominant team once again as they look for six straight All-Star wins.

Four of those five wins were inside a National League stadium and that will not change as the Washington Nationals will host this season.

MORE ALL-STAR NEWS: