LOCAL GOLF

VCU’s Foster tops qualifying at RGA Amateur

VCU golfer Clifford Foster shot a 2-under 69 in qualifying for the Richmond Golf Association Amateur Championship on Thursday at Jefferson Lakeside Country Club, leading the field and claiming the top seed for Friday’s match play.

The 19-year-old St. Christopher’s graduate was 3-over par through the first four holes before rallying on the back nine with five birdies. He will tee off at 7:30 a.m. as the No. 1 seed against No. 32 Joe Alexander.

Alex Sleeker and 2000 champion Tom Vlahakis earned the second and third seeds, respectively.

Friday will feature the first two rounds of match play, and the quarterfinals and semifinals will follow on Saturday. An 18-hole final will take place Sunday.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

A-10 matchups set for VCU, Richmond

The Atlantic 10 announced schedule pairings for the upcoming men’s basketball season on Thursday, with regular-season champion VCU adding a home-and-home set with Davidson while Richmond’s schedule remained the same.

VCU, like last season, will both travel to and host Dayton, George Mason, Rhode Island and Richmond. The rest of the Rams’ league slate will feature home games against Duquesne, Fordham, George Washington and St. Bonaventure, and road games at La Salle, Massachusetts, Saint Joseph’s and Saint Louis.

The Spiders will travel to and host Davidson, George Mason, George Washington, La Salle and VCU. They’ll also host Dayton, UMass, Saint Joseph’s and Saint Louis, and travel to Duquesne, Fordham, Rhode Island and St. Bonaventure.

This will be the sixth year in a row that A-10 teams will play 18-game league schedules. The league tournament will return to the Barclays Center in New York City on March 11-15.

NFL

League rejects changes to pass interference

The NFL competition committee has decided against making any changes to the new rule for reviewing pass interference, the league announced Thursday.

That means the rule stands as approved by NFL owners in March.

Owners decided in May to let the competition committee consult with coaches and decide whether to refine the rule further. During the rule’s one-year trial this season, coaches still can challenge until the two-minute warning of each half or overtime. Then a replay official will be responsible for any reviews.

But that replay official will need “clear and obvious visual evidence” to review and overturn potential pass interference in an attempt to avoid too many stoppages, and that official will have only the angles on the television broadcast available to overturn an on-field decision. Pass interference still is defined as an act significantly hindering the opportunity to make a play on a ball, and all pass plays will be subject to review.

The committee also decided against exempting Hail Mary passes, so those plays will be reviewed following the on-field officiating guidelines.

NHL

Devils have decision to make with first pick

New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Shero doesn’t mind keeping everyone waiting one more day before revealing whether he will select one of the two top projected prospects — American center Jack Hughes or Finland’s Kaapo Kakko — with the first pick in the NHL draft.

The New York Rangers will select second when the draft opens in Vancouver on Friday night. The draft will begin at 8 p.m. and will be broadcast on NBC Sports. It will resume Saturday at 11 a.m.

In a draft that has the potential of featuring a record number of Americans taken in the first round, Shero’s decision rests on choosing between an under-sized play-making center in Hughes or the heftier Kakko, who is considered a purer goal-scorer.

From Orlando, Fla., Hughes is in position to become the eighth U.S.-born player selected No. 1 and first since Toronto took Auston Matthews in 2016. Kakko is the top-ranked European skater, completing a season in which he helped Finald complete a gold-medal sweep of international titles.

  • Defenseman
  • Alex Edler
  • signed a two-year extension with the Vancouver Canucks at an average salary of $6 million. The 33-year-old Swede had 10 goals and 24 assists in 56 games last season. In 13 seasons with the Canucks, Edler has the most points among defensemen in franchise history.
  • Tampa Bay Lightning forward
  • Ryan Callahan
  • has been diagnosed with degenerative back disease and will be placed on long-term injury reserve. Team vice president and general manager
  • Julien BriseBois
  • made the announcement Thursday, saying the 34-year-old Callahan has “degenerative disk disease of the lumbar spine.” Callahan appeared in 52 games last season, finishing with seven goals and 10 assists for 17 points. He has 186 goals and 386 points in 757 career games with Tampa Bay and the New York Rangers.

TENNIS

Murray returns to court in doubles win

Three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray enjoyed a winning return to competitive tennis Thursday after five months away from the sport, combining with Feliciano Lopez to beat top-seeded Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in the doubles at the Queen’s Club.

Murray was taking the first steps of his tentative comeback from what he hopes was career-saving hip surgery 143 days ago.

Yet Murray moved well, served well and, crucially, stayed pain-free throughout the 7-6 (5), 6-3 win in front of an excitable crowd on Center Court at the grass-court event.

Earlier in the singles, defending champion Marin Cilic, former winner Grigor Dimitrov and 2018 Wimbledon finalist Kevin Anderson all lost.

Cilic and Anderson were knocked out in the second round, while Dimitrov didn’t make it past the first round having waited four days to play his opening match.

Top-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas played two matches in one day as the rain-hit event tried to catch up, and he won both against Kyle Edmund and then Jeremy Chardy.

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— From staff and wire reports

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