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POSTED November 15, 2012 9:47 p.m.

GOLF

SCOTT STALLINGS LEADS PEBBLE BEACH INVITATIONAL: PEBBLE BEACH  (AP) — Scott Stallings shot an 8-under 64 on Thursday at Del Monte to take a two-stroke lead over William McGirt and Kirk Triplett in the Pebble Beach Invitational.

Stallings, the True South Classic winner in July for his second PGA Tour title, made eight birdie putts inside 10 feet in the unofficial event that features PGA, LPGA, Champions and Web.com tour players.

PETTERSEN TIED FOR LEAD IN LPGA FINALE: NAPLES, Fla. (AP) — Suzann Pettersen wasn't the least bit worried that it took her eight months into the LPGA Tour season before she finally won, saying on the eve of the season-ending Titleholders that "it takes some time to get this machine going."

The engine was purring Thursday at TwinEagles, where Pettersen birdied two of her last three holes for a 6-under 66. That gave her a share of the lead with So Yeon Ryu, who already has clinched rookie of the year, and Sun Young Yoo.

HOCKEY

HOPE FADING FOR DEAL TO SAVE NHL SEASON: TORONTO (AP) — Negotiations had already hit a wall in the ongoing hockey labor fight, and now the NHL has suggested the sides take an official two-week break before getting back to the bargaining table.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman floated the idea of a break to players' association executive director Donald Fehr. The union hasn't responded to the league yet, but the players maintained their position on Thursday night that they are ready and willing to meet at any time, and the only way to reach a deal to end the long lockout is to keep talking and negotiating.

AUTO RACING

SADLER CHASING STENHOUSE AGAIN IN NATIONWIDE: HOMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) — Elliott Sadler has come up with one way to possibly close the gap on points leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr. heading into the Nationwide Series finale.

"We might throw a banana peel under his trailer before the race starts and see if that will help him out a little bit," Sadler joked Thursday.

It might be the only way to keep Stenhouse from repeating as series champion.

The Roush Fenway Racing driver takes a 20-point lead into the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway — a significant, yet surmountable, advantage.

Sadler, who drives for Richard Childress Racing, has himself to blame for the deficit.

The two title contenders began last week's race at Phoenix tied for the championship and likely would have arrived at Homestead locked in a tight battle. But as Stenhouse tried to chase down Joey Logano and Brian Vickers for the lead with two laps left, Sadler imploded behind them.

VETTEL-ALONSO DUEL ROLLS ONTO NEW TRACK IN US: AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Formula One season comes down to this: Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel leads Ferrari's Fernando Alonso by 10 points with two races left, the first on a track neither has driven before.

The first U.S. Grand Prix since 2007 will be run Sunday on the new $400 million Circuit of the Americas built a few miles outside of Austin. With so few points separating Vettel and Alonso from winning a third world title for either driver, learning every nuance in elevation, the straightaways and the 20 turns in practice and qualifying could make the difference.

"If you do everything perfectly, you will have a chance," Alonso said Thursday. "If you make a mistake, you will lose the chance."

If the title chase isn't decided Sunday, it will head to the season finale next week in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

KESELOWSKI PLANS TO KEEP PHONE OUT OF RACE CAR:  HOMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) — Brad Keselowski is leaving his cellphone behind.

Keselowski plans to ditch his phone during NASCAR's Sprint Cup finale Sunday. His decision comes days after NASCAR fined him $25,000 for having the phone in his race car. It was discovered because he tweeted during a red flag at Phoenix International Raceway.

The punishment confused many who wondered why Keselowski was penalized for Sunday's tweets when he was celebrated by NASCAR for doing the same thing during the season opener.

BASKETBALL

ON CRUTCHES, MIKE D'ANTONI TAKES OVER THE LAKERS: EL SEGUNDO  (AP) — Mike D'Antoni circled the court 2 feet at a time, moving smoothly on crutches while his Los Angeles Lakers went through drills orchestrated by his assistant coach and brother, Dan.

Although D'Antoni's surgically replaced knee is slowing him down a bit, he couldn't wait any longer to get the Lakers rolling.

D'Antoni formally took over the Lakers on Thursday, four days after the slow-starting club hired him to replace Mike Brown. The former Knicks and Suns coach is still on crutches and pain medication after surgery earlier this month, but thinks he'll soon be back to normal while he attempts to transform the Lakers into his vision of an up-tempo, high-scoring team.

SWIMMING

AGNEL SETS WORLD SHORT COURSE WORLD RECORD: ANGERS, France (AP) — Two-time Olympic gold medalist Yannick Agnel has set a short course world record in the 400-meter freestyle at the French swimming championships.

The Frenchman finished in 3 minutes, 32.25 seconds at the nationals in Angers on Thursday, beating German swimmer Paul Biedermann's previous mark of 3:32.77, which was set in 2009 with a high-tech bodysuit.

The 20-year-old Agnel won the Olympic gold medal in the 200 freestyle and the 4x100 freestyle relay in London, as well as silver in the 4x200 freestyle relay.

Agnel shaved a massive 7.66 seconds off his previous best mark of 3:39.91 from 2010.

 

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