Kokrak takes lead at Riviera; Spiethmisses the cut

LOS ANGELES — Jason Kokrak sensed something special was about to happen, and he could point to his name atop the leader board Friday in the Northern Trust Open.

For so many others, Friday was something out of the ordinary.

Jordan Spieth, the world's No. 1 player, made eight birdies and missed the cut by five shots. Charl Schwartzel made a double bogey and a triple bogey — the latter when a shot hit him in the hand — and still shot 68 to remain in contention. Padraig Harrington realized during the round he was wearing someone else's right shoe. Brendon de Jonge was penalized four shots because he left a wedge in his bag that had been damaged the day before.

Kokrak made birdies on all the par 5s at Riviera on his way to a 7-under 64 to build a oneshot lead over Chez Reavie (67) going into the weekend. Kokrak has never won on the PGA Tour, though power can go a long way on this course under these conditions, and he has plenty of it.

"It's been a struggle to learn how to play this golf course," said Kokrak, who has not finished in the top 30 in his four previous tries. "It's old school. It's very hard. But it's right there in front of you. If I can hit the driver a little bit straighter and keep it in the fairway, it's a huge advantage for me."

He was at 10-under 132.

There was plenty of power around the top of the leader board.

Dustin Johnson (66) and Bubba Watson (68) were in the group at 8-under 134. Johnson has been the runner-up at Riviera each of the last two years, while Watson won the Northern Trust Open two years ago with a 64-64 weekend. Rory McIlroy (69) and Adam Scott (68) were four shots behind.

McIlroy had a few careless three-putt bogeys, but he atoned for that with a majestic 3-wood up the hill from 285 yards to 20 feet for a two-putt birdie on the par-5 17th.

Spieth was a long shot to make the cut after opening with a 79, but he at least made it interesting with four straight birdies around the turn. That ended with a bogey, and he left California in good spirits. "We'll be fine," he said.


U.S. earns Olympic berth, beats Trinidad and Tobago

HOUSTON — Alex Morgan scored three goals, and the United States secured a spot in the Olympics this summer with a 5-0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament.

The World Cup champions, ranked No. 1 world, will seek their fourth straight Olympic gold medal and fifth overall.

There were two Olympic berths up for grabs in the North and Central America and Caribbean region. Canada secured the other spot in Brazil with a 3-1 semifinal victory over Costa Rica in the earlier match Friday at BBVA Compass Stadium.

It is the third straight trip to the Olympics for the 11th-ranked Canadians, who will face the United States on Sunday in the tournament's final match.

Canada's Christine Sinclair scored twice, giving her 162 career goals.

Sinclair leads all players with 18 career goals in the qualifying tournament.


Huskers rally for win over Wolfpack in challenge

RALEIGH, N.C. — Shut out through the first six innings, the Nebraska softball team sent 10 batters to the plate and scored six runs in seventh Friday to rally for a 6-1 victory over North Carolina State in the opening game of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

The 6-0 Huskers have trailed after five innings in three of their first six victories. Twice the Huskers have rallied to win when trailing after six innings, something they didn't accomplish once in 2015.

North Carolina State (3-3) scored an unearned run in the bottom of the fourth inning before NU's two-out rally in the top of the seventh.

Gina Metzler began the Husker rally with a sharp single up the middle. Kiki Stokes doubled to put runners at second and third before Laura Barrow tied the game with an RBI fielder's choice.

MJ Knighten, who finished the game 3 for 4, then gave Nebraska the lead with an RBI single to left field. Senior shortstop Alicia Armstrong followed that with a three-run home run to left field before Metzler made her second plate appearance of the inning with an RBI single.

Cassie McClure retired the side in order in the bottom of the seventh to earn the win and improve to 3-0 with 3.1 innings of scoreless, no-hit relief that included five strikeouts. McClure has not allowed a run in 15.1 innings of work through the first six games.

Nebraska will play two games Saturday, with the first against Louisville at 11 a.m. before a rematch with the Wolfpack at 4 p.m.

Rally against Sooners falls short as Creighton splits

LAS CRUCES, N.M. — The Creighton softball team split a pair of games Friday at the Troy Cox Classic, beating Campbell 15-3 in five innings before falling to No. 14 Oklahoma 11-4.

Against Campbell, the Bluejays (2-5) blew the game open with eight runs in the second inning — all with two outs. Aujanae McCoy started the rally with a two-run double as nine consecutive batters reached base.

Bry Flanagan added a tworun triple in the third inning as Creighton scored seven more runs. Sydnee Eck earned the win after allowing three hits and three runs in three innings, striking out five while walking two.

Oklahoma jumped out to a 7-0 lead after three innings before the Bluejays got back in the game with a four-run fourth. Flanagan drove in the first run with a double, and McCoy, Kelsey Allender and Blake Ringle followed with RBI singles.

But Sooners reliever Jayden Chestnut held Creighton scoreless over the next two innings, and OU tacked on two runs in both the fifth and sixth innings to ice the game.

Creighton will continue play at the tournament with a pair of games Saturday, facing Campbell again at 10 a.m. before playing Western Michigan at noon.


Nadal into Rio semifinals without hitting a shot

RIO DE JANEIRO — Rafael Nadal advanced to the semifinals of the Rio Open on Friday without hitting a shot.

The top seed moved on after his quarterfinal opponent, Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine, withdrew before the clay-court match with a shoulder injury.

Tournament organizers said Dolgopolov hurt his shoulder in a doubles match on Thursday.

Nadal's semifinal opponent will be Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay, who defeated Federico Delbonis of Argentina 6-4, 7-6 (4).

No. 5 Dominic Thiem upset No. 2 David Ferrer 6-3, 6-2. The 22-year-old Austrian won the Buenos Aires title last week — beating Nadal in the semifinals — and is the youngest player in the ATP's top 20 rankings.

Thiem will face Guido Pella of Argentina in the semis. Pella defeated Daniel Gimeno-Traver of Spain 5-7, 6-1, 7-5, but Thiem will be a strong favorite to reach the final.

Compiled from press services and local reports.

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