Thompson, Werenski tied at 3M
Michael Thompson and Richy Werenski maintained their momentum at the 3M Open. Tony Finau, fresh off a caddie change, put himself in prime position right behind the leaders at the halfway point of the second-year tournament. Thompson and Werenski topped the leaderboard at 12 under, Finau and Talor Gooch climbed within a stroke and stars Brooks Koepka and Tommy Fleetwood struggled again Friday at the TPC Twin Cities. In warmer and windier conditions on the quiet, spectator-free course, the scores crept up after Werenski led the first-round pack with an 8-under 63. The 24-year-old, who's winless on the PGA Tour, followed up with a 67. Thompson caught him with a 66. Finau began the week with longtime swing coach Boyd Summerhays on his bag, having decided to move on from Greg Bodine after faltering in the final round of the Memorial and finishing eighth. Koepka, at the other end of the board, was on the who's-who list of players to miss the cut. The four-time major champion shot a 71 to finish at 1 under, pulling a birdie putt attempt wide right on the 18th that would have extended his stay in Minnesota. Fleetwood, playing in his first event since the virus outbreak shut down the sport more than four months ago, posted a 72 to finish at 1 over.
Paratore leads British Masters
Renato Paratore birdied the last hole to shoot 5-under 66 and retain his one-stroke lead on Friday after three rounds at the British Masters in Newcastle, England, where the Italian golfer has yet to drop a shot all week. On a day of low scoring that included a round of 61 by Sam Horsfield containing three eagles, Paratore maintained his consistency to add to bogey-free rounds of 65 and 66 over the first two days. He was 16-under par overall at Close House Golf Club. Justin Harding of South Africa shot 66 and was the closest challenger to the 270th-ranked Paratore heading into the final round of an event that marks the full return of the European Tour following its four-month suspension because of the coronavirus pandemic. Rasmus Hojgaard of Denmark was a stroke further back after also shooting 66.
Trio coming back to Mizzou
Missouri basketball players Xavier Pinson, Mitchell Smith (Van Buren) and Jeremiah Tilmon Jr. withdrew from the NBA Draft Friday and will return to the Tigers for the upcoming season. Pinson started 31 games as a sophomore last season, averaging 11.1 points while shooting 40 percent from the field. Smith will be a fifth-year senior after the 6-foot-10 senior average 5.1 points and 4.9 rebounds. Tilmon also will be a senior has has averaged 8.9 points and 4.9 boards over 81 games in his career. Coach Cuonzo Martin's roster will have 11 players that are juniors or seniors, the most in the SEC and third-most among all Power-5 programs. They will have just one true freshman on the roster this season. Missouri went 15-16 last season, its second consecutive losing season among Martin's three seasons in Columbia.
Tennessee women pick up transfer
The Tennessee Lady Vols have signed Jordan Walker from Western Michigan as the second graduate transfer this year for Coach Kellie Harper. Tennessee confirmed the signing Friday. The 5-8 guard led Western Michigan in scoring last season, and Walker will have two seasons of eligibility after graduating in three years with a political science degree. Walker averaged 16 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.1 steals last season. She has started 54 of 64 games in her career, scoring in double figures in 38 of those games. Harper also signed Keyen Green as a graduate transfer in April.
NFL offers opt-out guidelines
The NFL has offered opt-out guidelines to players who do not want to participate in the upcoming season due to the coronavirus, two people with knowledge of the offer told The Associated Press on Friday. Players who decide they want to opt out have until Aug. 3 to do so, and they will receive a stipend from the owners, the people said on condition of anonymity because the offer has not been made public. The amount of the stipend has not been made available. The players' union negotiators have agreed to the plan, with the NFLPA executive committee voting unanimously in favor. But the 32 team player representatives must vote on it, one person said. Should the plan be approved, it would eliminate one major obstacle to a full opening of training camps next week. Already, the sides have agreed to cancel all preseason games, as well as to a reduction in the number of roster spots in training camp from 90 to 80. The league also offered an extended acclimation period of 18 days for players, given that the coronavirus caused the cancellation of all offseason on-field activities at team facilities.
Vikings give coach extension
The Minnesota Vikings signed Coach Mike Zimmer to a three-year contract extension through the 2023 season, finalizing a key piece of business Friday before the beginning of training camp. Zimmer has a 57-38-1 record over six years, the third-best winning percentage (.599) of the nine head coaches the franchise has had over 59 seasons. The 64-year-old Zimmer trails Bud Grant (.621) and Dennis Green (.610) on the team list, and he's seventh in winning percentage among active NFL head coaches with a minimum of 50 games. The new deal, which was agreed upon earlier in the week, was hardly a surprise for an organization that has prided itself on stability since owners Zygi Wilf and Mark Wilf took over in 2005. Zimmer also had his contract extended at the commencement of training camp in 2016.
Hill captures Kansas Trucks race
Austin Hill dominated the longest green-flag run all the way to the checkered flag to win the opening race of the first NASCAR Truck Series doubleheader at Kansas Speedway on Friday night. Brett Moffitt won the opening stage before finishing second, nearly three seconds behind the winner. Grant Enfinger was third, reigning series champ Matt Crafton came across fourth and Derek Kraus finished fifth. Kraus was skipping his high school graduation in Wisconsin to run this weekend. Hill had been in the top 10 in all but one race this season but had yet to reach victory lane -- his best finish had been second at Pocono and Atlanta. But after winning Stage 2 at Kansas Speedway and briefly jockeying around the lead, Hill cruised away over the final 30 laps in his No. 16 Toyota for his fifth career Truck Series win.
F1 staying out of Americas
Formula One is expanding in Europe and will not be reaching the Americas, where the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of races in Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the United States on Friday. F1 still hopes to complete 15-18 races by mid-December. Vietnam will reportedly host its inaugural race in Hanoi and the season is still planning on ending in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi. After selling out last year, the United States GP ticket sales were rocketing. But calling off the race at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas in late October became increasingly inevitable. "This isn't about sports or economics of a business. This is about health and a pandemic and a global crisis," COTA chairman Bobby Epstein told The Associated Press by phone. "We're not unique. We're heavily reliant on international events." The Austin track is under contract through 2021. Epstein wouldn't comment on contract negotiations for a new deal, nor would he say if this year's cancellation would cause F1 to extend his current deal by one year.