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Dahmen, Straka share lead at Innisbrook

(AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

PALM HARBOR, Fla. (AP) The PGA Tour event that doesn't have Tiger Woods this year instead has the Leaping Cougar.

That's a childhood nickname for Joel Dahmen, who took advantage of gentle, morning conditions Thursday on a tough Copperhead course for a 5-under 66 and a share of the lead with Austrian-born Sepp Straka in the Valspar Championship.

The tournament, trying to have a little fun during Spring Break in Florida, allowed players to put whatever name they wanted on the back of their caddie's bib. Dahmen, a cancer survivor who keeps golf and life in perspective, went with the name he was given as a boy in Washington state when he was part of a scouts group.

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Choi 1 stroke back in return at Founders

PHOENIX (AP) Na Yeon Choi feared the worst Thursday in her return from a back injury. She ended up high on the Founders Cup leaderboard.

Choi shot a 7-under 65 at Desert Ridge in her first tournament round in 11 months, leaving her a stroke behind first-round leader Celine Boutier in the event that honors the 13 women who founded the LPGA Tour. Read More...

Fraser, Elvira share Maybank lead

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) Former champion Marcus Fraser and Nacho Elvira turned in 7-under-par 65s for the joint lead of the Maybank Championship after the opening round on Thursday.

A shot behind were Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand, Angelo Que of the Philippines, and Matthias Schwab of Austria. Thomas Pieters of Belgium was two shots behind on 67 after he eagled the par-5 first hole. Read More...

Ex-President Bush has ace at Nelson site

DALLAS (AP) Former President George W. Bush has made a hole-in-one at a Dallas course that will soon host his institute's Warrior Open honoring wounded U.S. military personnel.

A photo posted Wednesday on Bush's Instagram account shows the beaming 43rd U.S. president holding a golf ball on the par-3 12th green of Trinity Forest Golf Club. Read More...

Els names asst. Presidents Cup captains

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) International team captain Ernie Els has named K.J. Choi, Trevor Immelman and Mike Weir as his final three assistants for this year's Presidents Cup.

Els had already named Geoff Ogilvy as one of his assistant captains for the event at Royal Melbourne from Dec. 9-15. Read More...

McIlroy blocks out noise, hits stride

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) Rory McIlroy managed to block out all the noise, all the distractions, and this was long before he even reached the pivotal three-hole finish at the TPC Sawgrass to win The Players Championship.

McIlroy, more than any other player, has been looked upon as golf's next big thing in the decade since age and injuries began to slow Tiger Woods. Read More...

Furyk closes strong in hometown event

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) Jim Furyk was one of the last ones in the field at The Players Championship.

He was the last one with a shot to beat Rory McIlroy. Read More...

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