Thursday State Sports Briefs: Stricker off to bad start at PGA ChampionshipsWisconsin Sports
-- Madison golfer Steve Stricker got off to a bad start today at the PGA Championship in South Carolina.
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. - Madison golfer Steve Stricker got off to a bad start today at the PGA Championship in South Carolina.
Stricker shot a two-over-par 74 in his opening round at the Ocean Course on Kiawah Island. That tied him for 96th place as of early this afternoon. Stricker had two bogeys and a double-bogey on his front nine – and he then settled down to shoot one-under on his back nine. By early afternoon, Stricker was nine shots behind first-place Joost Luiten, who was at seven-under after 15 holes. And Pewaukee native Mark Wilson was just starting his first round in the season’s final major.
The Packers have a lot of injury problems going into tonight’s exhibition opener at San Diego – and the group that appears to be hit the hardest is the tight ends. Third-year pro Tom Crabtree is the only tight end to take part in all 11 practices so far at Packer Training Camp. Starter Jermichael Finley, and back-ups D.J. Williams and Ryan Taylor have missed some time. And tight ends Andrew Quarless and Eric Lair are out indefinitely. Crabtree has only caught 10 regular season passes in his first two years, but he did make a key scoring catch in a playoff game at Philadelphia as a rookie. He has also proven to be reliable pass-blocker, and has not missed a game. The Packers kept five tight ends last year and four in 2010 – but Crabtree says he’s not playing the numbers game to figure out whether he’ll make the team this year. He says that all he can do is his best and quote, “If it works, it works.” In the meantime, Crabtree says he looks forward to blocking players other than his teammates. He says the last two weeks have felt like two months. The Packers and Chargers are on ESPN tonight with an early start time for Southern California – 7 p.m. here in Wisconsin.
Might not see Charles Woodson tonight when the Green Bay Packers play their pre-season opener at San Diego. As Woodson has been approaching his mid-30’s, the Packers have been using him more sparingly in the pre-season to keep him fresh when the games begin to count. Woodson, a 14-year NFL veteran, is being moved from corner to safety this year in the Packers’ base defense. And he insists he does not need extra snaps in the exhibition season, because he’s been in the safety spot in one-form-or-another on occasion since 2008. Defensive coordinator Dom Capers says he likes what he’s seen from Woodson at training camp so far. Capers also says Woodson knows how much preparation he needs, and he would not dress on Game-Day if he didn’t know his assignments inside-and-out. Capers added that Woodson would not play very much against the Chargers tonight – if he plays at all.
Stevens Point native Lauren Sesselmann will take home an Olympic bronze medal, after her Canadian team won the third-place women’s soccer match today, 1-0 over France. Diana Matheson scored the only goal in the third minute of injury time, the 93rd and final minute. Sesselmann played the entire game on defense. She committed a foul in the second half, and was fouled herself on one of the final plays. Sesselmann was raised in Stevens Point before moving to Green Bay, where she starred at Notre Dame High School before going to Canada. The U.S. was scheduled to face Japan this afternoon for the gold medal. Sesselmann and the Canadians were planning to travel 100 miles from Coventry, where they played, to Wembley Stadium in London to pick up their bronzes.
All but one of the Milwaukee Brewers are off today. Starter Shaun Marcum will make a rehab start for the Class-“A” Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, when they host Cedar Rapids tonight near Appleton. It will be Marcum’s first game action since June 14th, when he suffered tightness in his right throwing elbow. Manager Ron Roenicke expects the 30-year-old Marcum to throw about 45-to-50 pitches tonight. And he’s scheduled for a second rehab start next Wednesday, when the Timber Rattlers take on the cross-state Beloit Snappers. Marcum hopes to return to the Milwaukee rotation after that. Manager Ron Roenicke says it’s not certain yet. Marcum’s recovery has gone a lot slower than expected. At first, Roenicke thought he would only miss a start or two. But it took several weeks for Marcum to even throw from a mound. He’s 5-3 this season with a 3.93 ERA in 13 starts. Marcum won three consecutive starts in late May and early June. And his current contract runs out at the end of this season. As for the rest of the Brewers, they’ll open a series in Houston tomorrow night after completing a three-game home sweep on Cincinnati yesterday.
In the Class-“A” Midwest League, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will have a big name on the mound when they host Cedar Rapids tonight. Milwaukee Brewers’ right-hander Shaun Marcum will make the first of two scheduled rehab starts, as he gets over tightness in his right throwing elbow. He’s expected to throw 45-to-50 pitches for the Timber Rattlers, who will host Cedar Rapids after the Kernels trounced them 15-1 last night. The Beloit Snappers are at again at Quad Cities, on the heels of a 4-1 victory. Also tonight, Peoria plays at Burlington. Clinton hosts Kane County. Fort Wayne is at home against West Michigan. Dayton is at Lansing. Lake County hosts Great Lakes. And South Bend plays at Bowling Green. Clinton still leads the Western Division by four games over Burlington. Fort Wayne and Bowling Green are now co-leaders in the East by two games over Lansing and Lake County.
There’s a battle brewing for second place in the Northwoods League’s South Division. Madison and La Crosse are both 20-and-11 for the second half, five games behind the Wisconsin Woodchucks. The ‘Chucks clinched the South title on Monday, but were trounced by La Crosse the last two nights. Wisconsin lost 18-2 last evening, and they’ll try to salvage a win over the Loggers tonight in La Crosse. The Woodchucks only had four second-half losses at the start of the week, and they’re still a dominant 25-and-6. Madison will close out its series at Lakeshore, after the Chinooks topped Madison 5-4 in 12 innings last night. The Eau Claire Express will host Green Bay, on the heels of a 7-2 Express victory. Wisconsin Rapids is at Battle Creek again, after a 7-0 Rapids shutout last night. Meanwhile, the race is tightening in the North Division with just four nights left in the regular season. Willmar has a half-game lead over Saint Cloud, one game over Alexandria, two-and-a-half over Duluth, and four over Thunder Bay. Willmar hosts Mankato tonight. Saint Cloud entertains Waterloo. Duluth is at Thunder Bay. And Alexandria hosts Rochester.
University of Wisconsin defensive line coach Charlie Partridge says he’s encouraged by what he’s seen from junior end David Gilbert. The Badgers started their preseason camp on Monday, but they’re not practicing in pads until tomorrow. Still, Partridge says Gilbert has come back nicely from a broken right foot suffered at practice last September. It knocked him out for the rest of the season, just as the Badgers were about to play their Big Ten opener. Gilbert tried coming back for the Rose Bowl, but he broke the same foot again – and he missed all of this spring’s practices. Unlike last time, Gilbert rehabilitated the foot instead of having surgery. And Partridge says Gilbert has been showing a nice burst of speed off the line, with no pain after practice. The coach says Gilbert has a few rusty spots – but he’s working them out.
Top-ranked UW-Whitewater is the coaches’ pre-season favorite to win its eighth straight WIAC football championship. The league’s poll results were announced this morning. The Warhawks, who’ve won the last three national titles in the NCAA’s Division III, were the unanimous choice of the league’s coaches. Whitewater has the nation’s longest winning streak of any NCAA division at 45 games, and it’s the country’s fourth-longest streak of all-time. Six starters return on offense for the Warhawks – but not running back and player-of-the-year Levell Coppage. Whitewater also have seven starters back on defense. UW-Oshkosh is picked to finish second, Platteville third, and Eau Claire fourth.
Marian University of Fond du Lac has given the interim men’s golf coach the job permanently. Duane Woeshnick will also coach the women’s golf squad as well as the men. Former coach Bill Peters will stay on as an assistant for both programs, while continuing to be the head coach of the Marian women’s basketball team. Woeshnick will also stay on as a high school girls’ hockey coach for the Fond du Lac-Waupun team.
Two Wisconsin teams are playing their first games today in the American Legion’s national baseball regionals. Green Bay was taking on Terre Haute Indiana this morning, in the first game of the Great Lakes Regional in Midland Michigan. And the Madison Impact team was scheduled to face Pickerington of Ohio this afternoon. Madison Impact won the State Legion’s Triple-“A” title last weekend, defeating Ash Port 12-2. The eight-team Midland Regional continues through Monday in a double-elimination format. Eight regional champions will advance to the American Legion World Series in Shelby, North Carolina August 17th-through-21st. Holmen won the state’s Double-“A” Legion baseball title on Tuesday. Wisconsin Dells was the Class-“A” winner. Sheboygan won the 17-and-under Junior Legion crown. And Genoa City Alexander took home the 16-and-under junior title.
Former Marquette University guard Dwayne Wade is in London, cheering on the U.S men’s basketball team as it marches on for a gold medal. Wade had arthro.scopic knee surgery a month ago, but he’s not walking with a limp. And while he wishes he could be playing, Wade says Team USA is in great hands with the younger players who have been filling in. Wade was America’s leading scorer in 2008 when it won the gold. He also has a bronze medal from the 2004 Games, and he has won two NBA titles with the Miami Heat. Wade, an eight-time NBA All-Star, says he expects to be fully ready for the Heat’s training camp in October. Meanwhile, the U.S. romped in the fourth quarter last night to beat Australia in the quarter-finals, 119-86. The Americans will play Argentina next in the semi-finals tomorrow. Milwaukee Bucks’ forward Carlos Delfino scored 16 points for his native Argentina yesterday, as it eliminated Brazil 82-77. Today in London, Stevens Point native Lauren Sesselmann will play for a bronze medal, as her Canadian women’s soccer team goes against France in the third-place game.