Top-ranked Jon Rahm closed with an eagle on the tougher South Course at Torrey Pines for a 6-under 66 on Wednesday, trailing leader Billy Horschel by three strokes after the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open. Horschel shot a bogey-free 9-under 63 on the North Course and led Michael Thompson by one stroke. Of the 30 players who shot 67 or better, 26 played the North. Rahm’s was the best score on the South by one over Luke List, Peter Malnati, and Cameron Tringale. The players switch courses Thursday and play the final two rounds on the South. Taking advantage of the North’s shorter distances and more forgiving rough, Horschel made five birdies on the front nine, highlighted by a 25-foot putt on the par-4 second hole. The 35-year-old from Florida is seeking his first non-match play victory on the PGA Tour since April 2018. “I told my caddie, ‘Let’s just go out there, no expectations, and just enjoy,’” Horschel said. “And I think we did a really good job of that. My game is in a really good spot.”
Providence names Steven Napolillo as next athletic director
Providence has named Steven Napolillo its next athletic director, the school’s president, the Rev. Kenneth R. Sicard, announced Wednesday. Napolillo succeeds Bob Driscoll, who announced last week that he would retire after serving as the Friars’ AD for 21 years. A 1998 graduate of Providence, Napolillo began his career there in 2004 as its assistant director of athletic relations. He has served as its senior associate athletic director assistant/vice president for external relations since 2014. He will begin his new position on July 1. Napolillo has worked in several areas of athletics during his time at Providence. That includes playing a role in coaching searches that resulted in the hiring of men’s ice hockey coach Nate Leaman, men’s basketball coach Ed Cooley, women’s soccer coach Sam Lopes, and women’s ice hockey coach Matt Kelly.
Chris Mack out as Louisville hoops coach, Mike Pegues named interim
Chris Mack is out as Louisville men’s basketball coach after he and the school agreed to part ways. Assistant Mike Pegues has been named interim coach for the remainder of the Cardinals’ season. The agreement was announced ollowing a special joint meeting of the school’s Board of Trustees and the University of Louisville Athletic Association board. Interim athletic director Josh Heird said that Mack will be paid $4.8 million between this fiscal year and the next three fiscal years. Mack leaves after going 6-8 since returning Dec. 1 from a six-game suspension by the school for failing to follow university guidelines in his handling of an extortion attempt by fired Cardinals assistant coach Dino Gaudio last spring. Pegues guided the Cardinals to a 5-1 start while Mack sidelined and now will try to lift the team out of a slump that includes five losses in its last six games. “This was our best path moving forward,” Heird said after the nearly two-hour meeting adding that it was mutually agreed to.
Premier League says four COVID-19 cases need for a postponement
Premier League clubs must have a minimum of four positive coronavirus cases within their playing squad before requesting a postponement, according to new guidelines taking effect next month. Previously, teams had to show they did not have 13 senior players plus a goalkeeper available before asking for a game to be postponed. That also took into account factors such as injuries and players being on international duty. There have been 22 postponements since the start of December, with some of them provoking fury as clubs appeared to be exploiting the rules to get games called off. The league said it was continuing to adapt its guidance “in response to the wider public health situation.” “The league’s postponement rules and guidance are designed to protect the wellbeing of players and staff,” the Premier League said, “while maintaining the sporting integrity of the competition and the quality of squads playing league matches.” The guidance will come into effect after the game between Burnley and Watford on Feb. 5.
Mavericks’ Porzingis fined $15k
Dallas Mavericks center Kristaps Porzingis has been fined $15,000 for kicking the game ball into the spectator stands, the NBA announced. The incident, for which Porzingis received a technical foul and was ejected, occurred in the fourth quarter of the Mavericks’ 130-92 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday. After fumbling a pass inside, Porzingis kicked the ball into the stands and was promptly tossed.
Bulls’ Jones could miss 6-8 weeks with broken finger
The banged-up Chicago Bulls lost another player to a long-term injury when forward Derrick Jones Jr. broke his right index finger while working out at the team’s training facility. Jones, sidelined with a bone bruise since getting hurt Jan. 12 against Brooklyn, is expected back in six to eight weeks. His finger was placed in a splint and he “could potentially return earlier with a protective splint,” the Bulls said in a news release. The 6-foot-5 Jones is averaging 6.3 points and 3.4 rebounds in 17.2 minutes per game, shooting 58.2 percent from the field. He has played in 31 games during his first season with the Bulls, making eight starts. Chicago, one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, has been beset by injuries lately to guards Lonzo Ball (left knee surgery) and Alex Caruso (right wrist surgery).
Flames fire record 62 shots on goal in rout of Blue Jackets
Matthew Tkachuk scored twice and the Calgary Flames fired a team-record 62 shots on goal in trouncing the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-0. Jacob Markstrom made 23 saves for his 13th career shutout, sending the Blue Jackets to their third straight loss and fourth in a row at home. Calgary bombarded Columbus goalie Elvis Merzlikins, who stopped 56 shots. Andrew Mangiapane, Mikael Backlund, Elias Lindholm and Erik Gudbranson added goals for the Flames, who have won three of four. Johnny Gaudreau had three assists.
Penguins sign veteran F Jeff Carter to 2-year extension
Jeff Carter still has plenty of hockey in front of him. The veteran Pittsburgh Penguins forward agreed to a two-year contract extension with the team that runs through the 2023-24 season. The deal carries an average annual value of $3.125 million. The 37-year-old Carter, a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Los Angeles Kings, has flourished since arriving at the trade deadline last spring. He scored nine goals in 14 games following his acquisition and doesn’t appear to be slowing down in his 17th season. Carter is one of seven active players with 400 career goals. He has 12 goals and 14 assists in 36 games this season for the Penguins, who have won 17 of 19 to move into second place in the heated Metropolitan Division at the season’s midway point. The two-time All-Star indicated recently he planned to play through the end of his old deal, which expired at the end of this season ... The Buffalo Sabres’ injury-depleted goalie ranks were thinned further after the NHL issued Aaron Dell a three-game suspension for body-checking Ottawa forward Drake Batherson into the end boards. In determining the length of the suspension, the NHL took into account that Batherson broke his left ankle after being shoved by Dell late in the first period of Ottawa’s 5-0 win on Tuesday night.