WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Great round puts Stricker in fourth at PGA Championship
LOUISVILLE - Steve Stricker of Madison shot up the leader-board by mid-day at the PGA Championship. He was tied for fourth-place during the noon hour, at three-under par for today's second round after 13 holes at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville. That put Stricker at minus-five for the tournament, two strokes behind first-place Rory McIlroy at that point.
Stricker began the day tied for 20th. Jerry Kelly of Madison was three-over-par at the halfway point of his second round, and he was one-under for the tourney -- one stroke ahead of the projected cut line at that juncture. Hudson club pro Dave Tentis was at seven-over for his round with four holes left in his tournament. He was at plus-15 at that point. Neenah club pro Ryan Helminen was scheduled to begin his second round at 2:20 this afternoon. He shot a two-over 73 yesterday, and was tied for 83rd at mid-day.
The Los Angeles Dodgers' newest acquisition will pitch tonight against the Brewers in Milwaukee. Right-hander Roberto Hernandez will make his debut in Dodger Blue, after being traded from Philadelphia. Hernandez is 6-8 with a 3.87 ERA. He's coming off his best start of the season for the Phillies last Friday night against Washington, when he gave up an unearned run in eight innings. Meanwhile, Brewers' starter Kyle Lohse hopes to turn things around this evening. The veteran right-hander is just 2-4 in his last six decisions, and has dropped back-to-back starts. Lohse gave up nine runs in a season-low four innings last weekend at Saint Louis. That dropped his record to 11-6 on the year, with a 3.40 ERA. The Brewers are facing the Dodgers for the first time this season. They'll see their ex-teammate Zack Greinke tomorrow against Mike Fiers. LA leads the National League West by three-and-a-half games. Milwaukee's Central Division lead remains just a game over Saint Louis, one-and-a-half over Pittsburgh, and four over Cincinnati.
If 90 victories are enough to win the National League Central, the Milwaukee Brewers would have to go 27-20 the rest of the way to reach that mark. That means the Brewers would have to win almost two of every three games -- something they haven't done lately. Milwaukee has only won two series since the start of July -- a three-game sweep of Cincinnati ending July 23rd, and two-of-three victories this week over San Francisco. Manager Ron Roenicke says it's important to win series -- but the team's been stale in its movement lately, so they've concentrated on winning one game at a time. The Crew is 11 games above .500, as it gets ready to host the team with the National League's best record, the Los Angeles Dodgers for three games starting tonight. LA is 66-50, with a three-and-a-half game over second-place San Francisco in the NL West. The Brewers are still clinging to a one-game edge over second-place Saint Louis, and one-and-a-half over Pittsburgh in the NL Central. Right-hander Kyle Lohse starts for Milwaukee tonight against Dodgers' right-hander Roberto Hernandez.
Brewers' catcher Jonathan Lucroy will receive his team's Heart-and-Hustle Award tonight, in a ceremony before Milwaukee's home game against the LA Dodgers. It was announced recently that Lucroy is the Brewers' nominee for the national winner, which will be announced November 18th. The award goes to a player that shows a passion for baseball while embodying the game's values, tradition, and spirit. Former and current players and fans will vote for the national winner.
The final weekend of the Northwoods League regular season begins tonight. The Lakeshore Chinooks have clinched the South Division title for both halves, so the team that finishes second after Sunday will face the Chinooks in next week's playoffs. The Wisconsin Woodchucks of Wausau have a half-game lead over expansion Kenosha for the remaining South playoff spot. Both teams won last night. Wisconsin will play at Duluth again tonight, while Kenosha is at Green Bay again. Eau Claire has been eliminated from the North Division title, at four games behind Waterloo. Willmar won the first half North crown, and it's still waiting to find out who they'll face in the post-season. Mankato is one-and-a-half back for the North title, along with Willmar. Duluth is two-and-a-half out. Eau Claire hosts Willmar tonight. Madison is at Battle Creek. La Crosse plays at Kalamazoo. And Wisconsin Rapids entertains Lakeshore.
The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will go for their third Midwest League victory in two days, when they play the Chiefs tonight in Peoria, Illinois. The Timber Rattlers played two frames of a suspended game last evening, in which they beat Peoria 2-1 in eleven. Wisconsin then won its scheduled contest 6-1. The Beloit Snappers are at Quad Cities again, on the heels of a 4-1 Snappers' victory. Wisconsin remains in playoff contention, in a three-way tie for the Western Division lead with Cedar Rapids and Kane County. All three are 27-19 for the second half. Kane County already has a playoff spot after winning the first half crown. Wisconsin and Cedar Rapids are tied for the two remaining West post-season slots by four games over Peoria and Quad Cities. Beloit continues to play out the string at 16-29, ten-and-a-half off the pace.
Brett Favre says nobody recognized him when he returned to Wisconsin about two years ago. He said he went hunting then with a couple friends near Clintonville in Waupaca County. On WTMJ Radio in Milwaukee today, Favre talked about his life after Green Bay -- where he'll get his No. 4 retired next year during an induction ceremony into the Packers' Hall of Fame. Favre said it's unfortunate how things ended for him in Green Bay in 2008 when he retired, unretired, and was then traded to the New York Jets after the Packers were set to go with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. He went on to play two more years for the Vikings in Minnesota. Favre said he's proud of his 16 years as Green Bay's quarterback, and his fans knew he played as hard as he could.
NASCAR's top drivers will compete on the road course at Watkins Glen New York this weekend. Matt Kenseth of Cambridge will try to improve on his fourth-place point standing, when races in the Cheez-It-355 on Sunday. Qualifying takes place Saturday. Paul Menard of Eau Claire is still out of the season-ending Chase hunt at the moment, as he's 16th in the season point totals. He's entered for the Glen, along with Beloit-born Danica Patrick. The Nationwide Series is also at Watkins Glen for tomorrow's Zippo-200. Kenseth and Menard both have non-points' cars in that event. The Camping World Truck Series is off until next weekend.
A record 5,700 athletes will compete in Milwaukee tomorrow and Sunday at a national triathlon. The annual USA Triathlon Age Group Championships will take place along Milwaukee's lakefront. The Milwaukee Art Museum and Discovery World will be at the center of the activity. The Olympic Distance national event takes place tomorrow. It includes a 1500-meter swim, a 40-kilometer bike ride, and a 10-kilometer running course. The Sprint national meet is on Sunday with a 750-meter swim, and 20-K bike race, and a 5-K run. Chrissie Wellington, a four-time Ironman world champion, is expected to be there. About 500 of the athletes are planning to be in both events. They'll compete for spots in next year's ITU World Championships.