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WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Stricker third at BMW Classic

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LAKE FOREST, Ill. - Steve Stricker of Madison was tied for third place early this afternoon at the BMW Championship north of Chicago.   It’s the third of four tournaments in the Fed-Ex Cup playoff series. 

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Stricker was at three-under-par after 12 holes of his first round.  He came in at No. 8 in the point standings, and is guaranteed a spot in the Top-30 for the final playoff tournament, the Tour Championship next weekend in Atlanta.  Meanwhile, the senior PGA Champions Tour is off this weekend.  They’ll play next week in Hawaii.

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Green Bay Packers’ tight end Jermichael Finley and guard Josh Sitton returned to practice today, after both sat out yesterday with injuries.  Sitton had back pains the day before last Sunday’s loss at San Francisco.  Finley injured a toe during the game.  Coach Mike McCarthy has not finalized the status of either player for Sunday’s regular season home opener against Washington.  The only player who did not practice today was corner Casey Hayward, who’s been out with a hamstring injury suffered at Training Camp.  There are reports that Hayward may not return until after the Packers’ bye week.  They have an early bye this year, on September 29th. 

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The Milwaukee Brewers will try to end the Saint Louis Cardinals' five-game winning streak tonight, when the teams close out their three-game set at Busch Stadium.  The Redbirds are 85-60 as they get closer to clinching the National League Central Division title.  They're a game ahead of second-place Pittsburgh -- and the Cards have won their last four contests by a combined score of 23-5.  The Brewers are battling to stay out of last place in the NL Central.  At 62-82, the Crew has a half-game lead over the fifth-place Chicago Cubs.  Cardinals' catcher Yadier Molina missed last night's game due to a family situation.  His brother, hitting coach Bengie Molina, was also away for that reason.  Brewers' outfielder Khris Davis missed his fifth straight game with an inflamed left wrist.  Manager Ron Roenicke said he was encouraged when Davis swung better at batting practice yesterday.  He'll do the same today -- and if all goes well, Davis could return to the lineup tonight for the Crew.   The Crew has lost eight of its last 11 games overall -- and they're now 3-12 against the Redbirds this season.  And things may not get better tonight when Joe Kelly takes the mound.  The Cardinals' right-hander has a personal eight-game winning streak -- and he's won his last five starts, after giving up one run in six innings against Pittsburgh last weekend.  Kelly is 8-0 since joining the rotation in early July.  He's 8-3 overall with an ERA of just under 2.34.  The Brewers will send young right-hander Tyler Thornburg to the hill.  He'll make his first start in 10 days, after giving up two runs in six innings in a loss to Pittsburgh on Labor Day.  Thornburg is 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA.  In four starts this year, he's 0-1 with a stingy ERA of 1.13.  The Cardinals will try to preserve their lead in the National League Central, where they have a one-game edge over second-place Pittsburgh.  Milwaukee remains a half-game ahead of the last-place Chicago Cubs in the division.

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Former Milwaukee Bucks’ forward Gustavo Ayon has been named the MVP of the Tournament of the Americas in Venezuela.  Ayon had 20 points and 16 rebounds for his native Mexico, in a 91-89 victory over Puerto Rico in the tournament’s title contest.  Ayon was traded to Milwaukee in February from Orlando, in the deal that brought J.J. Redick to the Bucks.  After he played in the NBA Summer League in July, the Bucks decided not to exercise a one-and-a-half million dollar option to keep Ayon.  He later signed with Atlanta.  His native Mexico qualified earlier for the Basketball World Cup to be played next year in Spain.  The U.S. qualified last summer, by winning the gold medal at the London Olympics.

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Packers' safety Jerron McMillian vows to get better on Sunday, when Green Bay hosts Washington.  Starting safety Morgan Burnett sat out last week's loss at San Francisco with a bad hamstring -- and that left McMillian and fellow second-year pro M.D. Jennings to cover the middle.  Pro-Football-Focus.com said McMillian missed four tackles, and both he and Jennings gave up a touchdown.  It was clear that the Packers badly missed Burnett -- and it's not certain that he'll be available for Sunday's contest against the 'Skins.  Burnett practiced on a limited basis yesterday, and coach Mike McCarthy says he won't know until the end of the week if Burnett can play.  It's possible that rookie Chris Banjo can get some playing time on Sunday.  Banjo says he hasn't been told about that possibility yet -- but he vows to be ready if it happens.  McMillian says he has to avoid missed tackles by getting stronger at the point of attack, so it doesn't result in big plays like it did against the 49'ers.

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Mike Holmgren, who led the Packers to a Super Bowl title in the 1990's, is one of 16 first-time modern-era candidates for the Pro Football Hall-of-Fame.  Holmgren coached seven seasons in Green Bay with two Super Bowl appearances.  He coached under general manager Ron Wolf, who is nominated for the Hall as a contributor.  Holmgren also coached 10 years in Seattle, when the Seahawks played in a Super Bowl.  The initial list of possible inductees includes 89 players, 21 contributors, and 16 coaches.  Safety Leroy Butler and receiver Sterling Sharpe, whose Green Bay careers were cut short by injuries, are among the nominees.  Jon Gruden, an assistant under Holmgren before winning a Super Bowl with Tampa Bay is also nominated -- and so is Packers' linebackers' coach Kevin Greene for his days as a player with San Diego.  Four other players who spent a season with Green Bay are also on the list -- Mark Clayton, Steve McMichael, Eric Metcalf, and Sean Landeta.  The Hall-of-Fame selection committee will reduce the list to 25 semi-finalists in November, and then to 15 in early January.  The inductees will be announced February first, the day before the Super Bowl.

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The University of Wisconsin women's soccer team is now 4-1-1 on the young season.  That's after the Badgers beat Horizon League team Loyola 5-1 yesterday in Chicago.  Rose Lavelle scored twice for Wisconsin, which had nine shots-on-goal among 17 total shots.   Loyola dropped to 1-3-2. Elsewhere, the UW-Green Bay women played to a scoreless tie at DePaul.  The Phoenix defense held DePaul to just one shot on goal.  Green Bay is now 2-2-3 on the year.

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