GOLF

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (AP)The Old Course was never faster. The pace of play was never slower.

The celebrated start Thursday of the 150th British Open gave way to Cameron Young making his debut with an 8-under 64 for a two-shot lead over Rory McIlroy, and Tiger Woods making what could be his last competitive appearance at St. Andrews a short one.

Woods began his round by hitting out of a divot into the Swilcan Burn for a double bogey. He ended it by taking three putts through the Valley of Sin for a par and a 78, his second-worst score in his Open career.

Woods will try to avoid leaving early from St. Andrews for the second straight time.

Despite slow play that extended some late afternoon rounds to over six hours, good scores were available, and 54 players broke par, 26 of them with rounds in the 60s.

NBA

PHOENIX (AP) – Deandre Ayton finally has his new deal from the Phoenix Suns, who simply weren’t willing to let him get away for nothing.

A person with knowledge of the situation said the Suns quickly decided to match a $133 million, four-year offer sheet that Ayton agreed to Thursday with the Indiana Pacers. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Suns had not publicly announced the decision.

The Athletic first reported Phoenix matching the offer. ESPN first reported that Ayton had agreed with the Pacers.

The move means the Suns – at least for now – keep their nucleus of Ayton and the All-Star backcourt of Devin Booker and Chris Paul. The trio pushed Phoenix to the NBA Finals in 2021 and a franchise-record 64 wins during the most recent regular season.

The No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft, Ayton was eligible to get an extension from Phoenix last summer.

– By AP Sports Writers Michael Marot and David Brandt.

WNBA

KHIMKI, Russia (AP) – Brittney Griner’s drug possession trial resumed Thursday with the head of the Russian club she plays for in the offseason and a teammate from that squad testifying in support of her character and what the WNBA star has meant for women’s basketball in the country.

Griner, who pleaded guilty last week, did not testify as expected at the third day of the trial. She has been detained in Russia since February, and the U.S. government is under pressure at home to do more to secure her freedom. Her guilty plea could be an effort to expedite the court proceedings so any negotiations about a prisoner exchange could move forward.

Griner was arrested at the Russian capital’s Sheremetyevo Airport when customs officials said they found vape canisters with cannabis oil in her luggage. She acknowledged in court that she possessed the canisters, but said she had no criminal intent and said their presence in her luggage was due to hasty packing. She is facing up to 10 years in prison.

In Russia’s judicial system, admitting guilt doesn’t automatically end a trial.

MLB

NEW YORK (AP) – The matchups are set for baseball’s Home Run Derby.

Philadelphia Phillies slugger Kyle Schwarber will be the top seed next Monday at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles thanks to his 28 home runs through Wednesday – most among the eight players in the field.

Schwarber will face eighth-seeded Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round.

New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso, trying to become the first player to win three times in a row, is the No. 2 seed and will take on Atlanta outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr., the seventh seed.

Third-seeded Corey Seager of the Texas Rangers, added to the American League roster Thursday as an injury replacement for the All-Star Game next Tuesday, will square off against 21-year-old Seattle rookie Julio Rodriguez, the No. 6 seed. No. 4 seed Juan Soto from the Washington Nationals opposes fifth-seeded Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Guardians.

SOCCER

MONTERREY, Mexico (AP) – Emily Sonnett, Mallory Pugh and Ashley Sanchez all scored to send the U.S. national team to the final of the CONCACAF W Championships with a 3-0 semifinal victory over Costa Rica on Thursday night.

Costa Rica and the United States both finished among the top four teams in the group stage to qualify for the 2023 Women’s World Cup. The winner of the W Championship additionally earns one of the region’s spots in the Olympics.

The U.S. team extended its shutout streak in World Cup or Olympic qualifying matches to 32 games.

TRACK AND FIELD

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) – Track and field officials awarded the 2025 world championships to Tokyo on Thursday, bringing runners, jumpers and throwers back to the home of last year’s Olympics, where they competed in front of mostly empty stands.

The World Athletics Council awarded the championships in a bidding contest that also included Nairobi, Kenya; Silesia, Poland; and Singapore.

Japan spent more than $1.4 billion to build the stadium for the Olympics, which were postponed by one year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, then held last summer under restrictions that prevented fans from attending.

COURTS

The federal government sued the Chicago Cubs on Thursday and accused the team of failing to make Wrigley Field accessible to those with disabilities when the century-old ballpark was modernized in a half-billion dollar project that added luxury seating, bathrooms and restaurants.

The lawsuit filed by U.S. Attorney John Lausch Jr. says the team’s 1060 Project ”has had a significant adverse impact on individuals with disabilities and their ability to access Wrigley Field.” It asks for compensatory damages and civil penalties and demands that the team fix the problems to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

According to the lawsuit, the renovations that began in 2014 and were projected to cost more than $550 million removed the best wheelchair seating in the stadium, failed to include it in new premium clubs and stuck it in the last row of the bleachers, where it is blocked by drink rails or fans standing up to cheer.

NEW YORK (AP) – Freddie Freeman’s former agent and his company sued a radio host for libel on Thursday, alleging Doug Gottlieb falsely claimed Casey Close never informed the first baseman of the Atlanta Braves’ last contract offer.

Close and Excel Sports Management filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, alleging defamation by libel. They accused Gottlieb of ”false, disparaging and derogatory” comments in a tweet they claimed was made ”in a grossly irresponsible manner without due consideration for the standards of information gathering and dissemination ordinarily followed by responsible parties.”

The 58-year-old Close is a principal of Excel and one of three managing partners. He has represented several hundred baseball players, including Hall of Famer Derek Jeter.

Gottlieb, 46, is affiliated with Fox Sports, the Pac-12 Network and CBS Sports, according to the suit.

TORONTO (AP) – Hockey Canada made a series of announcements on Thursday in an open letter to Canadians, including the reopening of a third-party investigation into an alleged sexual assault involving members of the country’s 2018 world junior team.

The national federation said participation in the investigation by the players in question is mandatory, adding anyone who declines will be banned from all of the federation’s activities and programs effective immediately. It previously said it ”strongly encouraged” players take part in the investigation into the alleged incident, which occurred at a Hockey Canada function in London, Ontario.

Hockey Canada CEO Scott Smith, who took on the role July 1 and has held various jobs at the federation since 1995, testified on last month that ”12 or 13? of the 19 players from the team were interviewed before the original and incomplete investigation concluded in September 2020.

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