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Sports News Briefs
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SAINTS' VILMA SUES ROGER GOODELL FOR DEFAMATION: NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Suspended Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma filed a defamation lawsuit Thursday against NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, claiming the league's top executive made false statements that tarnished Vilma's reputation and hindered his ability to earn a living playing football.

The suit in U.S. District Court in New Orleans claims Goodell, "relied on, at best, hearsay, circumstantial evidence and lies" in making comments about Vilma while discussing the NFL's bounty investigation of the New Orleans Saints.

Goodell has said Vilma was a leader of the team's bounty program that put up thousands of dollars for hits which took out opposing teams' star players from 2009-11, including $10,000 each on then-Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner and then-Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre during the playoffs in 2010.


SNEDEKER OF US WINS OPENER USING REPLACEMENT CLUBS: CASARES, Spain (AP) — Three days after his flight to Spain needed an emergency landing because a passenger suffered a heart attack, American Brandt Snedeker used borrowed irons and a putter from the pro shop to win his opener Thursday at the World Match Play Championship.

Because his luggage got lost, Snedeker also used a driver lent to him by Australian rival John Senden. Starting out with just 10 clubs in a replacement bag, Snedeker managed to beat Danish Ryder Cup veteran Thomas Bjorn 5 and 4.

Ian Poulter of England started his title defense by beating Senden 3 and 2, enhancing his status as one of the favorites this week. Justin Rose battered Robert Rock 7 and 6 in an all-English contest. Martin Kaymer, at No 9 the highest-ranked player in the field, lost 3 and 2 to Rafael Cabrero-Bello.

'11 NELSON RUNNER-UP PALMER LEADS WITH OPENING 64: IRVING, Texas (AP) — Ryan Palmer has been thinking about redemption at the Byron Nelson Championship, and a chance at home to hold up that trophy.

The 2011 Nelson runner-up is off to a good start.

Palmer, who lives in Colleyville not far from the TPC Four Seasons, opened with a 6-under 64 on Thursday to take a one-stroke lead over Marc Leishman and Alex Cejka.

Last year, Palmer birdied the 72nd hole to force a playoff against Keegan Bradley. Palmer then hit his approach into the greenside water to hand Bradley his first tour title.

SYBASE CHAMPION PETTERSEN LOSES IN 1ST ROUND: GLADSTONE, N.J. (AP) — Defending champion Suzann Pettersen didn't last long at the Sybase Match Play Championship, and neither did three well-known Americans.

The third-ranked Pettersen was eliminated 3 and 1 by relative unknown Jodi Ewart of England on Thursday in the first round of the LPGA Tour event, while Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome and Michelle Wie lost to some equally obscure fellow Americans.

Creamer, the No. 8 seed, was beaten 2 and 1 by Jennifer Johnson, the No. 57 seed. No. 9 seed Lincicome was ousted 2 and 1 by No. 56 Ryann O'Toole. The 20th-seeded Wie was knocked out by No. 45 Mina Harigae, 3 and 2.


5 HORSES WITH CHANCE VS. DERBY CHAMP IN PREAKNESS: All eyes will be on Kentucky Derby winner I'll Have Another when an 11-horse field lines up for the $1 million Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on Saturday. A victory, and I'll Have Another will have a chance to become the first Triple Crown champion in 34 years if he goes on to win the Belmont Stakes next month in New York. But a whole bunch of 3-year-olds are out to spoil the party. Some are taking another shot after losing in the Derby, and others, known as "new shooters," skipped the Derby, have fresh legs and are looking to pull an upset.

Five horses have a shot to defeat the Derby winner in the second leg of the Triple Crown.


PETRAGLIA FIRST TO WIN PBA TITLES IN 6 DECADES: KETTERING, Ohio (AP) — Hall of Famer Johnny Petraglia became the first player in Professional Bowlers Association history to win a national or senior tour title in six decades, beating Ron Mohr 220-204 on Thursday night in the PBA Senior Dayton Classic.

The 65-year-old Petraglia, from Jackson, N.J., ended a three-year victory drought with his eighth career senior tour title. He won the first of his 14 PBA national tour titles in 1966 in Fort Smith, Ark., at the age of 19. Dick Weber also has won PBA titles in six decades, but his mark includes a PBA regional title.