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Around & about

Jones closes in style

Matt Jones holed out from 60 feet on his final hole for a 6-under 66 and a share of the first-round lead with Bubba Watson in the Zurich Classic in Avondale, La.

Watson, the winner at Torrey Pines in late January, eagled the par-5 11th and had six birdies and two bogeys at TPC Louisiana. Jones had eight birdies and two bogeys.

Joe Durant, Tommy Gainey, Carl Pettersson, John Rollins, Nick O'Hern and David Duval opened with 67s. Durant played in the morning when a strong north wind made for more difficult conditions.

Meanwhile, Grace Park and Song-Hee Kim shot 5-under 67s to share the first-round lead in the Avnet LPGA Classic in Mobile, Ala., the tour's only event in a six-week stretch.

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Delany's second thoughts

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany says had he known then what he knows now he might not have defended the five Ohio State players who were allowed to play in the Sugar Bowl.

With Delany, Ohio State coach Jim Tressel and athletic director Gene Smith asking for leniency from the NCAA, the five players were permitted to play in the bowl game and wait until this fall to begin serving a five-game suspension for accepting money and tattoos from the owner of a Columbus tattoo parlor.

It wasn't until more than a week after the Buckeyes' 31-26 victory over Arkansas that Ohio State officials discovered Tressel had known about the players' violations for more than nine months.

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Serena, Venus uncertain

Serena and Venus Williams aren't ready to tell the world when they will return to the tennis tour.

The sisters, who own a combined 20 Grand Slam singles titles, declined to say Thursday when they will compete next. Both have been sidelined for months. The next major tournament, the French Open, begins May 22.

Venus says they "definitely want to be there." She says they are taking things "week by week, evaluating, and the good part is we both get better every week."

Venus hasn't played since January because of a hip injury. Serena has been out since July with physical problems.

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'Bama player injured

Alabama long snapper Carson Tinker was injured in the storms that bombarded Tuscaloosa and other parts of the state, forcing Auburn's national championship football team to reschedule a trip to the White House. The weather also led to cancellations of high school and college sporting events.

Crimson Tide spokesman Jeff Purinton said that Tinker was in stable condition at DCH Regional Medical Center. He didn't specify the nature of the injuries sustained by the junior from Murfreesboro, Tenn., but said coach Nick Saban visited him before flying to New York for the NFL draft.

It was the only injury reported as of Thursday afternoon involving a University of Alabama athlete. The statewide death total -- which includes 36 people in Tuscaloosa, two of whom were UA students -- continues to rise.

Auburn's White House trip was postponed as President Barack Obama is set to visit the state on Friday to view storm damage and meet with Gov. Robert Bentley and affected families.

From News and wire service reports.

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