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Off the wire

by Compiled from Democrat-Gazette press services | August 7, 2021 at 2:29 a.m.

BASEBALL

A's outfielder suspended

Oakland Athletics center fielder Ramon Laureano was suspended for 80 games without pay by the commissioner's office Friday after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. The commissioner's office said Laureano tested positive for Nandrolone in violation of Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The suspension is effective immediately. "I would never knowingly ingest any banned substance and put the game that I've loved all my life at risk. When I found out that I tested positive for Nandrolone, I was shocked," Laureano said in a statement released by the players' union. The penalty came down just more than four hours before the A's were to begin a weekend series at home against the Texas Rangers. The 27-year-old Laureano, from the Dominican Republic, is hitting .246 with 14 home runs and 39 RBI in 88 games this season.

GOLF

Heck advances in Amateur

NCAA champion Rachel Heck of Stanford advanced to the U.S. Women's Amateur semifinals Friday, beating Kan Bunnabodee of Thailand 3 and 2 at Westchester Country Club in Harrison, N.Y. Heck took a 2-up lead with a par win on the par-4 15th and finished off Bunnabodee with a birdie win on the par-3 16th. Bunnabodee plays at Purdue. Heck, from Memphis, will face Jensen Castle of West Columbia, S.C., the University of Kentucky player who beat Emily Mahar of Australia 6 and 5. In the other semifinal, Valentina Rossi of Argentina will face Hou Yu-chiang of Taiwan. Rossi plays at Michigan State, and Hou at Arizona.

Bai fires 62 at Korn Ferry

Bobby Bai took over the lead at the Korn Ferry Tour's Utah Championship with a 9-under 62 at the Oakridge Country Club in Farmington, Utah. Bai's round gives him a 13-under 129 at the halfway point of the tournament and a one stroke lead over Peter Uihlein, who fired his second consecutive 65 for a two-day total of 12-under 130. Former University of Arkansas golfer Nicolas Echavarria shot a 3-under 68 on Friday and is at 8-under 134. Tag Ridings (Razorbacks) turned in a 70 for the second day in a row and missed the cut.

Course record for Dane

Danish golfer Lucas Bjerregaard birdied six holes in a row as he claimed the halfway lead in the Hero Open on Friday. Bjerregaard's back nine scoring burst at Fairmont St Andrews added a course-record 10-under-par 62 to his opening 67 for a total of 15 under, two shots clear of overnight leader Calum Hill. Hill, who has not dropped a shot in 36 holes, added a 68 to his opening 63 to reach 13 under. Bjerregaard defeated Tiger Woods in the Match Play in 2019 and was ranked inside the world's top 50 for much of that season, but began this week ranked 960th after a slump in form which saw him miss 15 cuts in 18 events last year.

Grillo leads in California

Emiliano Grillo had an early eagle in a 17-point round in smoky conditions Friday to take the second-round lead in the Barracuda Championship in Truckee, Calif., the only PGA Tour event that uses the modified Stableford scoring system. Players receive eight points for an albatross, five for eagle, two for birdie and zero for par. A point is subtracted for a bogey, and three points are taken away for a double bogey or worse. Grillo, the 28-year-old Argentine player who won the 2016 Frys.com Open for his lone PGA Tour title, had a 29-point total on Tahoe Mountain Club's Old Greenwood Course.

COLLEGE ATHLETICS

Sankey signs SEC extension

The SEC extended the contract of Commissioner Greg Sankey, whose league is set to grab even more prominence and wealth with the addition of Oklahoma and Texas. The league's presidents and chancellors approved the extension for the 57-year-old Sankey, who became the SEC's eighth commissioner in 2015. His previous deal was through 2023. The league didn't disclose financial terms. The SEC managed to hold a 10-game conference-only season in 2020 amid the covid-19 pandemic. Sankey also completed a 10-year agreement giving ABC and ESPN exclusive broadcast rights to top SEC football and basketball events starting in the 2024-25 academic year. It's a deal set to become even richer when Oklahoma and Texas become the 15th and 16th members.

FOOTBALL

Bills reach deal with QB

Bills quarterback Josh Allen overcame questions about his accuracy and small-school pedigree to become the NFL's second-highest paid player Friday. Allen signed a six-year contract that locks him up through the 2028 season, and has a potential worth of $258 million, of which an NFL-record $150 million of the deal is guaranteed. The total value and annual average of the deal ranks second in the NFL behind only Kansas City Chiefs starter Patrick Mahomes, who signed a 10-year, $450 million contract last year.

TENNIS

First-timer advances

Jenson Brooksby wasn't even supposed to play in the Citi Open at all. Now the kid's in the final four of his first ATP 500 event. Brooksby beat 11th-seeded John Millman of Australia 6-1, 6-2 in just 67 minutes on Friday at the hard-court tournament, making the 20-year-old from Sacramento, Calif., the lowest-ranked semifinalist in Washington since John Isner in 2007. Brooksby started the year outside the top 300, began the week at No. 130 after reaching the final on grass at Newport, R.I., last month, and now is primed to break into the top 100. He has not dropped a set through four victories -- three against seeded opponents, including No. 2 Felix Auger-Aliassime and No. 16 Frances Tiafoe, and another against two-time Grand Slam runner-up Kevin Anderson. Next up is another seeded, and even younger, opponent: No. 5 Jannik Sinner, a 19-year-old from Italy who defeated Steve Johnson of the U.S. 6-4, 6-2.

BASKETBALL

Curry finalizes contract

Stephen Curry finalized his $215 million, four-year contract extension Friday as the Golden State Warriors began building the roster around the longtime face of the franchise at the start of free agency. This marks the second $200 million-plus contract of Curry's decorated career that includes three championships. He will earn $48 million for the 2022-23 season, then $51.9 million in 2023-24, $55.7 million in 2024-25 and $59.6 million in the final year of the deal. Earlier in the day, Golden State signed free agent forward Nemanja Bjelica to a one-year contract that will pay him the league minimum and added free agent forward Otto Porter Jr., also on a veteran minimum contract for next season worth $2,389,641.

Cavs, Allen ink 5-year deal

The Cleveland Cavaliers signed Jarrett Allen to a five-year, $100 million contract on Friday, securing the 23-year-old center as one of their foundational players. Allen, who came over from Brooklyn in a midseason deal, was a restricted free agent before coming to terms with Cleveland earlier this week. Allen posted career highs in points (12.8) and rebounds (10.0) in 63 games -- 45 starts -- for the Nets and Cavs last season. He finished among the league leaders in field-goal percentage and blocks.

HORSE RACING

Asmussen ties record

Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen tied the North American record for victories by a trainer Friday when Shanghai Dream won the sixth race at Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky. Asmussen equaled the mark of 9,445 set by the late Dale Baird during his 46-year career that ended when he was killed in a car crash in 2007 at age 72. Asmussen has a good chance of breaking the record today, when he has 14 horses entered in 13 races at Saratoga, New Jersey's Monmouth Park, Louisiana Downs and Ellis Park. The 55-year-old trainer took out his license in 1986 and won his first race that year at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico.

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