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The Baltimore Sun

Just like old times: Woods wins in return

golf

Eight months later, Tiger Woods looked as if he had never been away. Woods made a triumphant return to golf yesterday in the Accenture Match Play Championship in Marana, Ariz., with a start that showed golf what it had been missing in the 253 days since he limped his way to an epic U.S. Open title. Just past high noon in the desert, Woods fired an 8-iron 5 feet from the pin for birdie. Then came a gentle fist pump when his approach to the par-5 second settled 4 feet from the cup for eagle. He closed out Brendan Jones of Australia with a 3-foot par on the 16th hole for a 3-and-2 victory. "I told Stevie I felt like we haven't been away," Woods said, referring to caddie Steve Williams. "It was business as usual." But this was no ordinary day. Before thousands of fans who scurried through the high desert, eager to see every shot from the world's No. 1 player, Woods never showed any indication that he had reconstructive surgery on his left knee a week after winning the U.S. Open. "It held up," he said. "It felt good." Woods won the first two holes before some rust settled in. He made three bogeys over his next five holes and was leading 1-up until he birdied the par-5 eighth with a 6-foot putt. Jones never got any closer. Woods seized control of the match when Jones couldn't save par behind the green on the par-3 12th, and then Woods struck another familiar pose by raising his putter above his head as his 20-foot eagle putt dropped on the 13th. Stewart Cink won his match against Richard Sterne, one of six that required overtime. Phil Mickelson was 4-up on Angel Cabrera with five holes to play until the Argentine caught him, but Lefty birdied the 19th hole. Sergio Garcia, the No. 2 seed, lost to Charl Schwartzel on the 18th hole, and third seed Padraig Harrington lost to Pat Perez on the 18th hole.

Ballesteros: : Seve Ballesteros' second round of chemotherapy went "very well" and he is due to start a third session shortly, Ballesteros, 51, said on his Web site.

Phelps is dropped from 2 speaking dates

swimming

Michael Phelps has been dropped as the keynote speaker at two events in Canada next week, with the promoter citing the Olympic champion swimmer's "widely publicized alleged use of marijuana." Power Within Inc. of Toronto, which organizes motivational speaking events, canceled Phelps' appearances at events in Calgary, Alberta, and Vancouver, British Columbia, Toronto's Globe and Mail reported. Power Within initially stood by the swimmer but has now booked actor Martin Sheen as its keynote speaker for the Calgary event. The Vancouver event will feature Mehmet Oz, a regular on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

'The Sun' wins four top-10 writing awards

media

The Baltimore Sun sports staff won four top-10 writing awards and one honorable mention award for its Sunday sports section in the 2008 Associated Press Sports Editors contest. Jeff Barker's series of stories on a youth football coach who had a criminal background that went undetected and Candus Thomson's story on Kimmie Meissner's growth spurt and changing figure and how that affected her figure skating placed in the Explanatory category. The Sun's eight-part series on the 50th anniversary of The Greatest Game Ever Played was a top-10 winner in the Projects category. The series was written by Mike Klingaman, Rick Maese, Bill Ordine, Kevin Van Valkenburg and Childs Walker. Van Valkenburg's pre-Olympic profile of Phelps finished in the Features category. The Sun's Sunday section placed as one of the top 20 sections in the nation. The Sun competes in the over-250,000 circulation category that includes the nation's largest newspapers. Judging was conducted by 70 sports editors who met in Las Vegas for the annual judging and winter meetings.

UM's Levick named AD at Georgia State

et cetera

Georgia State named Maryland administrator Cheryl Levick as its new athletic director. Levick is a former AD at Saint Louis and Santa Clara. Since 2007, she served as executive senior athletic director at Maryland, overseeing daily management of 27 varsity teams, a 180-member staff and an annual budget of $51 million. She also led a fundraising campaign to sell suite leases for the basketball arena.

NHL: : Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur will return tonight against the Avalanche, his first game since undergoing elbow surgery almost four months ago. Brodeur has 544 career wins, seven shy of Patrick Roy's NHL record. ... Penguins captain Sidney Crosby cut short his participation in an optional morning practice because of a sore groin and was to sit out last night's game against the Islanders. Crosby's status is day-to-day.

Tennis: : Protected by two bodyguards as he walked onto the court, Andy Ram became the first Israeli to play in the United Arab Emirates. He lost a doubles match a week after Israel's Shahar Peer was denied a visa for the women's tournament. Ram and partner Kevin Ullyett of Zimbabwe fell, 6-3, 2-6, 10-8, to Marat Safin of Russia and Spain's David Ferrer in a first-round match. No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 2 Andy Murray, meanwhile, led the top six seeds into the quarterfinals of the $2.23 million Dubai Tennis Championships.

Horse racing: : Bob Baffert and two champion horses he trained are among the 11 finalists for election to the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame. The other finalists are the Baffert-trained Point Given and Silverbulletday; jockeys Eddie Maple, Randy Romero and Alex Solis; trainer Robert Wheeler; and Open Mind, Sky Beauty, Best Pal and Tiznow. Next month, the hall's voting panel will select one name in each of four categories: contemporary female horses, contemporary male horses, jockeys and trainers. The candidate with the highest number of votes in each category will be inducted. Those inducted will be announced in late April. Induction ceremonies are Aug. 14 at the Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

College football: : Defensive tackle Arthur Jones, Syracuse's best defensive player, will undergo chest surgery next week after suffering a torn left pectoralis while lifting weights Monday. Last season as a junior, Jones recorded 60 tackles, including 13 for losses.

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