HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) - Shane Lowry was convinced his game was on the rise, despite his poor scoring. He finally showed that Thursday in the RBC Heritage, shooting a 6-under 65 to take a one-shot lead.
Trey Mullinax, Daniel Berger, Luke List, Ryan Moore and Ryan Palmer were tied for second.
Top-ranked Dustin Johnson, coming off a second-place tie at Masters last week, rallied with two birdies in his final seven holes for a 68, leaving him three shots back.
Lowry had not broken 70 in a stroke-play event since a 67 in the third round at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am in early February on his way to missing the cut. The Irishman missed three more cuts in the past five weeks, including going 78-73 to end his Masters after two rounds.
Things changed for Lowry at Harbour Town Golf Links, where he birdied three of his first six holes. He made three more birdies on his back nine.
"My scores haven't been great as of late," Lowry said. "But I felt like I've been playing OK. So maybe this is a reward for the perseverance."
Palmer drove the green on his final hole, the par-4 ninth, and was about 12 feet away from catching Lowry with an eagle. But the putt slid 2 feet past and he tapped in for a birdie.
A group of eight, headed by Patrick Cantlay, was two strokes back at 67. Cantlay finished ninth at the Masters helped by a 64-68 weekend.
Johnson led 12 players tied for 15th .
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina women's basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell has resigned after an external review found she had made "racially insensitive" comments and applied "undue influence" regarding players' ability to compete through medical issues.
The school issued a release late Thursday announcing the Hall of Famer's resignation and findings from the review by a Charlotte-based law firm. The review also reported "a breakdown of connectivity between the players and Hatchell" after 28 interviews of current players and program personnel.
Hatchell and her coaching staff had been on paid administrative leave since April 1, with UNC announcing the review amid player concerns to "assess the culture" of the program.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Matthew Baldwin, the Ohio State quarterback who was expected to back up the highly touted Justin Fields this fall, said he intends to transfer.
The redshirt freshman released a statement on Twitter on Thursday saying he feels it would be better for him to move on after his first productive spring practice since rehabbing from a knee injury.
Baldwin competed in spring practice with Fields, who transferred to Ohio State after Ryan Day was named successor to the retiring Urban Meyer and it became clear that star quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. would leave early for the NFL.
CHICAGO (AP) - Longtime Chicago sportscaster Chet Coppock has died at age 70 after a car accident a week ago.
His daughter, Lyndsey, says on her Facebook page her father died Wednesday. He was a passenger in an accident April 11 near Hilton Head, South Carolina
Coppock was a fixture on local sports television for years and a pioneer of sports talk radio with his "Coppock on Sports" show on WMAQ-AM in Chicago. The bombastic Coppock came to be known as the "Godfather of Sports Talk Radio," greeting callers by saying "Your dime, your dance floor."
SEATTLE (AP) - Reigning WNBA MVP Breanna Stewart has undergone surgery to repair her ruptured right Achilles tendon.
The Seattle Storm said Stewart had surgery Thursday morning in Los Angeles and is expected to be fully recovered for the start of the 2020 WNBA season.
Stewart suffered the injury while playing for Russian club Dynamo Kursk on Sunday in the EuroLeague Women championship game in Hungary.