SLOAN MISSES CUT IN ILLINOIS WOMEN'S OPEN: Sammi Sloan, of Lansing, missed the cut for the final round of the Illinois Women’s Open by a stroke Thursday.
Her second straight 77 earned the Illinois graduate a total of 10-over-par 154, just above the cut line for today’s final round.
Sloan was the best finisher among area players, followed by Illinois junior Michelle Mayer (86 for 167), Washington-St. Louis freshman Bree Veazey (92 for 179) and Loyola graduate Rachel Mayer (90 for 181). T.F. South’s Maggie Sloan opened with a double-bogey, tripled the third hole and withdrew. – Tim Cronin
VALPO MEN EARN THIRD CONSECUTIVE GCAA HONOR: Valparaiso's men's team has earned all-academic honors by the Golf Coaches Association of America for the third consecutive season.
The Crusaders (3.61) were just one of 10 programs with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.5 or higher.
PARK OPENS WITH 69 AT WOMEN'S BRITISH OPEN: Inbee Park wasn't just chasing history at St. Andrews. She was sprinting toward it.
All it took were three loose tee shots, a pair of three-putts and one double bogey on the back nine Thursday in the Women's British Open to remind her that winning an unprecedented four straight majors in one year is not going to be easy.
Park ran off six birdies in 10 holes to race to the top of the leaderboard, only to stumble coming back in for a 3-under 69 that left her three shots out of the lead.
Morgan Pressel, one spot out of making the Solheim Cup team this week, caught a break with the weather in the afternoon and made seven birdies in a round of 66.
IRISH 11TH IN PRESEASON POLL: Alabama is No. 1 in the USA Today preseason coaches' poll.
The Crimson Tide was an overwhelming choice, receiving 58 of 62 first-place votes. Ohio State was second and received three first-place votes. Oregon is No. 3, Stanford is 4, Georgia is five and No. 6 Texas A&M received the other first-place vote.
Half the top 10 is from the Southeastern Conference, which has won the last seven national championships, including three in the last four years by Alabama.
South Carolina is No. 7 and Florida is No. 10. No. 8 Clemson and No. 9 Louisville round out the top 10. No. 12 LSU gives the SEC six teams in the top 25.
Notre Dame, which lost the BCS title game 42-14 to Alabama last season, is No. 11.
ROSE EXPECTED TO BE READY FOR PRESEASON OPENER: Former NBA MVP Derrick Rose could suit up for the first time in more than a year when the Bulls visit the Pacers for the preseason opener Oct. 5.
The preseason schedule released Thursday also has the Bulls playing Washington in Rio de Janeiro on Oct. 12 and hosting Detroit on Oct. 16. The regular-season schedule comes out Tuesday.
Rose is expected to be ready after sitting out last season while recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
BLACKHAWKS PRESEASON HOME GAME TICKETS ON SALE MONDAY: Tickets for Blackhawks preseason home games go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday.
The preseason home slate begins with a 7 p.m. Sept. 17 game against Detroit. For details, go to www.chicagoblackhawks.com, or call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000.
NCAA TAKING FLEXIBLE APPROACH TO TOURNEY GAMES: The NCAA tournament selection committee will have more flexibility next year.
One change announced Thursday eliminates the prohibition of placing more than two teams from the same conference into a regional bracket unless nine or more teams from that conference were chosen. The new policy allows teams that met once during the season to play as early as the third round. Teams that play twice during the season could not meet until the regional semifinals, and teams that played three times cannot meet until the regional final.
Around the horn
Tina Charles had 22 points and 12 rebounds as the Connecticut Sun rallied from 16 points down and then held on to beat the Fever 70-64 on Thursday. Shavonte Zellous had 20 points, and Jessica Breland added 17 points and seven rebounds for Indiana (8-10). The Fever had only eight players in uniform, with All-Star Tamika Catchings (personal reasons) among those missing. ... Webb Simpson shot a 6-under 64 in his first competitive round at Firestone Country Club to take a one-stroke lead in the Bridgestone Invitational.