Verplank leads Hope

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Scott Verplank spoiled a bogey-free round with a shot that found water on the final hole Thursday, but his 6-under-par 66 still was good enough for a share of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic lead in Thousand Palms, Calif.

Justin Rose holed a pair of bunker shots on the way to a 65 that also put him at 12 under and tied at the top through two rounds of the five-day tournament.

Starting on the back nine at the Classic Club, one of four courses used for the first four rounds, Verplank teed up on his last hole one shot ahead of Rose. Verplank's second shot on the 595-yard, par-5 ninth hit the bank near the green and rolled into the water. After a drop, he had a 30-foot putt for par, but left it 5 feet short.

Rose holed a bunker shot for an eagle on the par-5, 516-yard fifth at La Quinta Country Club. He duplicated that feat for a birdie on the par-3, 202-yard 12th.

First-round leader Robert Allenby followed his opening 63 with a 70 to finish a stroke back along with Johnson Wagner (67). Phil Mickelson, in his first event of the year, shot his second consecutive 70, leaving him eight shots behind the leaders. He won the tournament in 2002 and 2004.


NAACP wants silence in Duke case

The state chapter of the NAACP on Thursday called on those involved with the Duke lacrosse sexual assault case -- from defense attorneys to state bar officials -- to stop talking publicly while the state attorney general's office begins its review.

"We sincerely believe that the high level of public scrutiny and controversy involved in this matter is unwarranted and threatens to pervert the truth-finding process," said the Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

No parties involved in the case have indicated whether they plan to stop speaking publicly.


Barbaro continues to improve

Barbaro's pain medication was reduced and the Kentucky Derby winner continued to improve following surgery on his left hind hoof.

Barbaro, plagued by the often-fatal hoof disease called laminitis, underwent surgery Saturday in Kennett Square, Pa., and has made steady progress since, said chief surgeon Dean Richardson of the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center.

"Barbaro's comfort level is improving steadily, and we are gradually tapering off his pain medication," Richardson said in an update issued Thursday. "His vital signs are stable, and his appetite is good."

Earlier in the week, Richardson said Barbaro had improved considerably from a procedure that removed a section of the hoof.

Barbaro has been recovering at New Bolton since shattering three bones in his right rear leg at the start of the Preakness Stakes on May 20.


Ex-Cretin coach honored by NFL

Former Cretin-Derham Hall coach Rich Kallok was named the 2006 NFL high school football coach of the year on Thursday.

Minnesota Vikings center Matt Birk and Carolina Panthers backup quarterback Chris Weinke, both former Raiders, nominated Kallok, who will receive a check for $5,000 and also attend this year's Super Bowl in Miami. The NFL also presented the football program at Cretin, a private school in St. Paul, with a $10,000 grant.

Kallok was 166-27 in 16 seasons as head coach of the Raiders.

The NFL created the award in 1995 to honor coaches who profoundly impacted the athletic and personal development of NFL players.