E.V. briefs: Avant leads Arizona Open - East Valley Tribune: Sports

E.V. briefs: Avant leads Arizona Open

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Posted: Thursday, June 11, 2009 10:16 pm | Updated: 2:48 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Greg Avant of Chandler shot a 7-under 65 to grab the first-round lead at the 65th Arizona Open, presented by the Southwest Section PGA at Desert Mountain's Apache Course in Scottsdale on Thursday.

Avant, the 2000 Southwest Section PGA Player of the Year and owner/operator of Lone Tree Golf Club in Chandler, carded eight birdies.

Amateur Michael Wog II, 27, of Scottsdale, winner of the 2009 Arizona Publinks Championship, is a stroke back at 66, along with Scottsdale's Mike Ferris and Shawn Lasher of Phoenix, an assistant golf professional at Dove Valley Ranch.

Ferris, the defending champion, had seven birdies. The 25-year-old Desert Mountain employee said a 20-foot par putt on the par-4 10th, his first hole of the day, got him going. "After that, I made pretty much everything," Ferris said. "There were a lot of 10- to 20-footers. I like these (bentgrass) greens."

Casey Borque, 32, the head golf professional at Moon Valley Country Club, Neil Johnson of Scottsdale and Josh Wilkes of Tucson trail Avant by two.

Borque will be paired with Ferris again on Friday.

"I was just trying to ride his coattails," Borque said. "We had never met before today, but when you're making birdies, it's real easy to get along."

Past champions Julien Trudeau (2007) of Tempe and Paul Nolen (1984) of Marana each shot a 68, as did Rodney Hamblin of Scottsdale.

The second longest-running professional event behind the PGA Tour's FBR Open in Scottsdale, the 2009 Arizona Open offers a $50,000 purse.

The second round is scheduled for Friday. The field will be cut to the low 60 plus ties after 36 holes.

ASU BASEBALL

Junior right-handed pitcher Mike Leake and junior outfielder Jason Kipnis have been named first-team All-Americans by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers of America.

In addition, junior catcher Carlos Ramirez was a third-team selection.

Leake is 16-1 with a 1.36 ERA and 150 strikeouts on the season, earning Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year for the second straight year. He has 40 career wins at ASU, tying him with College Baseball Hall of Famer Eddie Bane for the third most in school history.

Kipnis, the Pac-10 Player of the Year, leads the team with a .385 batting average, 85 hits, 48 walks and 26 stolen bases, and he ranks second with 16 home runs and 71 RBIs.

Ramirez is hitting .349 and he leads the team with 18 home runs and 72 RBIs.

CARDINALS

The Cardinals have signed their two seventh-round draft picks to three-year contracts.

Terms of the contracts for running back Larod Stephens-Howling and guard Trevor Canfield weren't disclosed.

Stephens-Howling was backup to starter LeSean McCoy at Pittsburgh last season and stands just 5-foot-7 but weighs 180 pounds. Canfield started all 14 games for Big East champion Cincinnati last year and is 6-5 and 264 pounds.

The Cardinals have signed three of their draft picks. The first was offensive lineman Herman Johnson, a fifth-round pick out of LSU.

COYOTES

The issue of how much Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie should pay the NHL to move the Phoenix Coyotes to Hamilton, Ontario, will not be the subject of another hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Judge Redfield T. Baum said Thursday that he will deal with the fee issue as part of his ruling resulting from a 6½-hour relocation hearing held Tuesday.

Baum made the comment during a brief hearing Thursday requested by the Salt River Project utility for assurances that it would be paid for future electric service to the franchise.

GOLF

For the third year in a row, former Phoenix Xavier golfer Amanda Blumenherst has received the Nancy Lopez Award as the nation's top female amateur golfer.

The Scottsdale native was a three-time national player of the year at Duke University before graduating recently, and is the reigning U.S. Women's Amateur champion.

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