Leishman finishes strong to win at Bay Hill

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Marc Leishman kept shifting his eyes toward the glare coming from the silver Arnold Palmer Invitational trophy at his side. Beyond the shiny prize, between two images of Palmer, was a black banner with six words that defined how Palmer approached the game.

“You must play boldly to win.”

Leishman followed that script Sunday to a one-shot victory at Bay Hill.

He didn’t flinch over three key par putts over the last four holes. And even after his most disappointing shot down the stretch, a 9-iron on the par-5 16th hole that settled 50 feet away from the flag, the 33-year-old Australian knocked it in for an eagle that allowed him to jump past Rory McIlroy, Kevin Kisner and Charley Hoffman into the lead alone. He never gave back, and no one could catch him.

The timing couldn’t have been better for Leishman, except at the end.

“It’s sad not to have him up there walking off the 18th green, to be that first guy to walk off and not be greeted by Arnold Palmer,” Leishman said. “But he’s left such a great legacy, and I’m sure he will be proud of how everything has gone this week.”

The occasion was no less joyous. Leishman’s final act was a 45-yard pitch from short of the 18th green that ran out to 3 feet, a putt that looked a lot closer when he saw the replay on television. He calmly knocked that in for a 3-under 69.

PRO TENNIS

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) — Roger Federer defeated Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 7-5 to win a record-tying fifth BNP Paribas Open title in the all-Swiss final.

At 35 years and seven months, Federer became the oldest champion in the desert tournament’s history on Sunday, surpassing Jimmy Connors, who was 31 years and five months when he won in 1981.

Federer tied the tourney record of Novak Djokovic, who lost in the fourth round, while winning his 90th career title, keeping him third behind Connors and Ivan Lendl on the all-time list in the Open era.

Federer dropped serve just once in five matches, losing the first game of the second set against Wawrinka. Federer advanced to the semifinals via walkover when Nick Kyrgios withdrew.

In an all-Russian women’s final, Elena Vesnina defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-7 (6), 7-5, 6-4.

PRO FOOTBALL

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Dwight Clark revealed Sunday that he has Lou Gehrig’s disease and suspects playing football might have caused the illness.

Clark announced on Twitter that he has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a disease that attacks cells that control muscles. The former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver linked to a post on his personal blog detailing his ALS diagnosis, but the site crashed Sunday night, apparently from an overflow of traffic.

“I’ve been asked if playing football caused this,” Clark said in the post. “I don’t know for sure. But I certainly suspect it did.”

PRO GOLF

PHOENIX (AP) — Anna Nordqvist caught up with some college friends — and left everyone else behind on another hot afternoon at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

The 29-year-old former Arizona State player shot a 4-under 68 on Sunday to hold off fellow major champions Ariya Jutanugarn, Stacy Lewis and In Gee Chun by two strokes in record 96-degree heat at Desert Ridge.

Nordqvist finished at 25-under 263, two strokes off the LPGA Tour record that Sei Young Kim matched last year at Desert Ridge. The 6-foot Swede had a tournament-record 61 on Saturday to take a two-stroke lead into the final round.

Jutanugarn and Lewis also shot 68, and Chun had a 66.

AUTO RACING

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — NHRA driving great John Force won the Gatornationals for the first time since 2001, doing so on the 10th anniversary of his worst day in racing.

He beat rookie Jonnie Lindberg in the Funny Car final Sunday for his NHRA-leading eighth victory in 35 tries at the event.

His 148th career victory came a decade to the day after one of his drivers, Eric Medlen, crashed during practice at Gainesville Raceway.

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