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Matteson leads by 1 in Malaysia; Woods 3 back

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Matteson leads by 1 in Malaysia; Woods 3 back

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) Tiger Woods birdied five holes on the back nine in his first trip back to Malaysia since winning the 1999 World Cup to end the day three strokes behind first-round leader Troy Matteson at the CIMB Classic on Thursday.

Matteson made eight birdies in a bogey-free 8-under 63 for a one-stroke lead over fellow Americans Jeff Overton, Brian Harman and Robert Garrigus.

Woods was 2 under early, but slipped to even par after nine holes after par putts lipped out on the eighth and ninth.

The 14-time major winner started his comeback with a birdie putt over an incline from 20 feet on the 10th, the first of his five birdies on the back nine as he finished with a 66 on the 6,197-yard Mines Resort and Golf Club course.

With the temperature hitting 93 degrees and high humidity, Woods appeared frustrated at times as he narrowly missed putts for birdies - including one from 10 feet on the 18th as storm clouds swirled overhead - on top of the two short putts he missed for par. But he didn't blame the conditions.

``What is frustrating is turning at even par and I'm eight back,'' he said. ``I feel like I just got run over there. Wind is picking up a bit and it's going to get more difficult.

``Three or four under par was my number on the back nine - if I could shoot that, I'm still right in the ballgame. I happened to get one more, which was a bonus.''

Woods knew he could have shot a score that would have put him higher than tied for seventh, but he was generally happy with his game.

``I really started hitting the ball quite well at the end of the front nine. I happened to miss two short putts,'' he said. ``Realistically it could have been seven or eight (under). But even at the turn, and still post five (under), it was a nice little comeback.

``It's going to take 20-plus this week to win the tournament, so I've got to be aggressive and we've got to go get it.''

Matteson had birdies on Nos. 2, 3, 6 and 11 and finished with four straight, closing his round by holing his third shot from the greenside bunker on the par-4 18th.

``The pin is really tricky on 18. I knew I'd be doing good if I could leave myself seven or eight feet for par, and it bounced and slam-dunked in the hole,'' Matteson said. ``That's the first time all year the ball has managed to hit the pin and stay in the hole.''

Matteson placed second at the John Deere Classic in July and had three top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour in 2012 but is yet to win a title. The co-sanctioned $6.1 million CIMB Classic doesn't count for points on the tour this year, but will be added to the schedule in 2013, making it a good title to win.

Defending CIMB champion Bo Van Pelt, 1 under after an opening 70, was coming off a win last week at the Perth International, which was jointly sanctioned by the European and Australasian tours. Jason Dufner, who was second to Van Pelt last week, was 3 under and in a share of 16th.

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Trotz's future in Washington remains unsettled on eve Stanley Cup Final

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USA TODAY Sports

Trotz's future in Washington remains unsettled on eve Stanley Cup Final

Caps Coach Barry Trotz doesn’t have a contract beyond the Stanley Cup Final, and any potential talks about an extension will wait until the trophy is awarded, GM Brian MacLellan said Friday.

“No,” MacLellan said, asked if a decision on Trotz’s future had been made. “We’re going to address everything after the playoffs are over.”

Trotz’s four-year contract expires at season’s end.

It’s rare for a head coach to enter a season while in the final year of his deal. But that’s how the Caps decided to handle Trotz’s situation last offseason after another strong regular season performance ended with yet another second round playoff exit at the hands of the Penguins.

It was a suboptimal situation for Trotz, a 55-year-old who ranks fifth all-time in regular season victories but, until this year, had never led any team beyond the conference semifinals.

Despite his lame duck status, all Trotz did was produce his best coaching performance to date. 

Consider:

  • While visiting his son in Russia last summer, Trotz visited Alex Ovechkin in Moscow to discuss the changes he’d like to see the Caps’ captain make to his training and his game.
  • When the Caps reconvened for training camp in September, it was clear there were still some hurt feelings in the locker room. So Trotz and his assistants backed off, allowing some necessary healing to occur.
  • When the team suffered back-to-back blowout losses in Nashville and Colorado back in November, Trotz initiated a tell-it-like-it-is team meeting that many players have pointed to as the turning point of the regular season, which ended with the team’s third straight Metropolitan title.
  • Trotz also got his highly-skilled lineup to buy into a more structured, detailed style of play late in the campaign, a transformation that prompted MacLellan to call this playoff run the most defensively responsible of Trotz’s tenure.
  • In each of the two previous conference semifinals, Washington was defeated by Pittsburgh and, as a result, the Penguins had become a physical and a mental hurdle for the Caps. Earlier this month, Trotz helped direct Ovechkin and Co. past the two-time Cup champions.

Although MacLellan wouldn’t say much about Trotz’s contract, he did say that he’s noticed a big change in Trotz’s day-to-day approach to his job, a change possibly prompted by the coach’s free agent status.

“I think his demeanor has changed a little bit,” MacLellan said. “He seems a little lighter, a little looser, a little less pressure. Maybe a little more freedom about how he goes about things. He’s more relaxed, I guess would be the way to describe him.”

MacLellan also acknowledged the job Trotz’s has done this season, beginning with his delicate handling of the dressing room to start the year.

“I think he’s done a good job managing it,” MacLellan said. “To come in this year with so many questions—from my point of view, the lineup questions weren’t that big of a deal—but just the emotional state of our coming into to start the year [and] how to handle that. I think he’s done an outstanding job.”

Indeed, Trotz’s situation remains unclear on the eve of the Final. But we do know this much: He’s having one of the best contract years in NHL coaching history.

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Small Virginia town changes name to Capitalsville ahead of Stanley Cup Final

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FB/The Town of Lovettsville

Small Virginia town changes name to Capitalsville ahead of Stanley Cup Final

Welcome to Capitalsville, Va., population: #ALLCAPS

Hoping to become the Washington Capitals' Stanley Cup headquarters, the small Northern Virginia town of Lovettsville has renamed itself to Capitalsville, Va.

Caps superfan and Mayor of Lovettsville, Bob Zoldos, had a lightbulb moment while watching Game 7 in a local bar and restaurant, Velocity Wings. Overcome with emotion from the win, he decided to take his idea to the town council meeting Thursday and Capitalsville was born after a unanimous vote to "unleash the fury."

This is not the first time name changes have occurred ahead of a big game. Ahead of the Caps' first-round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Blue Jacket Brewery located in downtown D.C. changed its Twitter handle to "Grujacket Brewery" in support of goaltender Philipp Grubauer.

The name change from Lovettsville to Capitalsville is temporary, with the plan to keep the new name through the end of the Stanley Cup Final. However, Zoldos hopes the sign brings in other Caps superfans from across the DMV to take in a piece of history 20 years in the making. 

Here's to hoping Capitalsville brings the city some luck heading into Game 1 on Memorial Day.

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