Bertsch's 62 leads the 90-hole Hope
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Shane Bertsch hopped out of his RV and excelled on a course he hadn't seen in more than 10 years, opening with a 10-under 62 yesterday at the Hope Classic in La Quinta, Calif., for a two-stroke lead over Alex Prugh and Jeff Quinney.
Bertsch was the last player to register for the five-day, four-course tournament after a comically difficult travel path from Hawai'i to the Palm Springs area, yet he still posted the best round of his PGA Tour career.
Bertsch had 10 birdies without a bogey even while helping line up putts for his pro-am playing partners under intermittent rain and wind.
"I was just comfortable," Bertsch said. "I always like these formats, because I help the guys out, and it keeps me maybe not so focused on myself until it's time to hit, and then I just go and hit."
Quinney, Bertsch and the 25-year-old Prugh all played the Nicklaus Private course.
Reliever Brandon League, a Saint Louis alum from Hawai'i, and the Mariners agreed last night to a $1,087,500 one-year contract that avoids arbitration, on the eve of Seattle's expected completion of a $78 million, five-year deal for ace Felix Hernandez.
The team expects Hernandez to complete a physical today that will finalize his new contract.
LATECH HAS COACH
Louisiana Tech hired Arizona offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes yesterday to replace Derek Dooley as head coach.
Dykes has coached in college for 15 years and has been with Arizona since 2007, serving as both offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He has never been a college head coach.
Last Friday, Dooley left Tech after three seasons to replace Lane Kiffin at Tennessee.
MIXED MARTIAL ARTS
LESNAR IN TRAINING
Brock Lesnar is ready to resume training to defend his UFC heavyweight title after a serious intestinal problem derailed his career and endangered his life.
Lesnar hasn't been in the octagon since UFC 100 last July, when he beat Frank Mir. He struggled through several months of pain and confusion with an illness eventually diagnosed as diverticulitis.
UFC president Dana White expects Lesnar to return this summer, likely fighting the winner of Mir's March 27 bout against Shane Carwin in Newark, N.J.
Dan Fitzgerald, the coach who built Gonzaga into a national basketball power but resigned before the school began its current run of NCAA tournaments, has died at the age of 67.
Fitzgerald collapsed Tuesday evening in a restaurant in the suburb of Airway Heights. He was pronounced dead at Deaconness Medical Center in Spokane, according to a nursing supervisor at the hospital.
The cause of death was not immediately released.
AND WHAT'S MORE ...
Outfielder Andre Ethier has agreed to a $15.25 million, two-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. ... Left-hander Doug Davis and Milwaukee are close to finishing a $5.25 million, one-year contract.