Stricker runs away with first senior major

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Steve Stricker ran away with his first senior major, closing with a 4-under 68 for a six-shot victory at the weather-delayed Regions Tradition.

Stricker led by two shots heading into the final round at Greystone's Founders Course and went bogey-free on Monday, finishing at 18-under 270. It was the fourth win in 18 PGA Tour Champions starts for the Ryder Cup captain, who continues to play regularly on the PGA Tour.

"This is special," said Stricker, wiping tears from his eyes during a TV interview. "I get emotional. I hate this part. I never was able to win one of these on the regular tour. It means a lot. We work hard, we try to do the right things and work on my game, and you come out here hoping to play well and hoping to win. But, you know, it's tough out here.

"These guys play well and I feel more pressure out here at times to perform than I do on the regular tour, and I think that's just because I put a lot of expectations on myself out here."

His celebration was muted: a single pump of his left fist followed by hugs with his caddie and Bernhard Langer.

Billy Andrade, Paul Goydos and David Toms tied for second, but no one challenged Stricker down the stretch. Goydos closed with a 70 while Andrade and Toms shot 72.

Toms missed a birdie putt on No. 18 that would have given him second place alone.

The fight for the title was over long before that.

Stricker won 12 times on the PGA Tour but never captured a major. His best chance came at the 1998 PGA Championship, when he finished second to Vijay Singh. Stricker was runner-up to Miguel Angel Jimenez at last year's Regions Tradition.

PRO BASKETBALL

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Brett Brown survived a 10-win season to steer the Philadelphia 76ers toward the top of the Eastern Conference. He'll get another chance to try and finish the championship chase.

The 76ers called a 9 a.m. press conference Tuesday at their complex in Camden, New Jersey, with owner Josh Harris and general manager Elton Brand where they'll discuss their plans for the offseason, and how Brown fits in for the future. ESPN reported Monday night Brown will return as coach next season.

The Sixers - who rebuilt their roster with two blockbuster trades - were knocked out of the Eastern Conference semifinal for the second straight season on Sunday.

HORSE RACING

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Jockey Luis Saez was suspended for 15 days for failing to control Maximum Security and causing interference that resulted in the horse's historic disqualification as the Kentucky Derby winner.

The decision by the Kentucky stewards was announced by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. A lawyer for Saez said the suspension is "unwarranted" and that the rider's legal team will file an appeal within 10 days. They are also seeking a stay of the penalty pending appeal.

Saez was cited for failing to "make the proper effort to maintain a straight course" in the May 4 race at Churchill Downs. Country House, a 65-1 shot was elevated and declared the winner.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

This season's Orange Bowl is moving to Dec. 30, with a prime-time kickoff, after originally being scheduled to be played the afternoon of New Year's Day.

The Orange Bowl has traditionally been played at night, but the earlier kickoff was initially planned when it became part of the six-bowl rotation that hosts the College Football Playoff.

PRO FOOTBALL

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Longtime NFL coach Gunther Cunningham, who emigrated from postwar Germany as a child and then dedicated his life to football, has died after a brief illness. He was 72.

Cunningham's wife, Rene, said in a statement that he died Saturday.

Cunningham spoke no English when his family arrived in the U.S., and he was ridiculed for both his accent and ancestry as a child. But he developed into a standout prep football player in California and earned a scholarship to play linebacker at Oregon.

He eventually coached the Ducks along with Arkansas, Stanford and California before spending time in the CFL. He arrived in the NFL as an assistant with the Colts in 1982, then worked with the Chargers and Raiders before making a name for himself with the Kansas City Chiefs.

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