Shark’s Pavelski finishes 3rd at Lake Tahoe behind winner Tony Romo

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Nev. (AP) Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo rallied from four points back to win his first American Century Championship at Lake Tahoe on Sunday.

Romo, who retired after the 2016 NFL season and is now an NFL analyst, had 27 points on the day to beat three-time defending champion Mark Mulder and San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski, the the leader after the first two rounds.

''It's a special win,'' said Romo, who had finished second three times in seven previous trips to the annual celebrity golf tournament at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. ''It feels like you're playing a tournament back home here. The day felt good for a lot of reasons.''

Romo tapped in for par, worth one point, on the 18th hole to finish with 71 points, three ahead of Mulder, the former major league pitcher. He then caught a flight to Berlin, Wis., where he was to compete in a 36-hole U.S. Amateur qualifying tournament on Monday.

The American Century Championship uses a modified Stableford scoring system which rewards points for eagles (six), birdies (three) and pars (one) and deducts points (two) for double bogeys or worse. Bogeys are worth zero points.

Pavelski had a 7-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th that could have tied Romo, but it slid by. He finished with 66 points, tied for third with Ray Allen, who will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 7.

''It feels like nothing went in for me today,'' Pavelski said. ''But I couldn't ask for more than to have that putt to tie on the last hole.''

Romo plays as an amateur, so his $125,000 first-place check from the $600,000 purse will go to local charities and the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, the primary charitable arm of title sponsor American Century Investments.

Rounding out the top five were Trent Dilfer, a Super Bowl-winning quarterback with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, and former tennis player Mardy Fish. Each had 62 points.

Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry, who fell out of contention with a mediocre round Saturday, jumped into Lake Tahoe amidst much fanfare after losing a bet to his father, Dell. The elder Curry jumped into the lake last year, so he negotiated a 20-point handicap and won by two points.

Other notable players in the 92-player field included John Smoltz, the MLB hall of Fame pitcher who two weeks ago competed in the U.S. Senior Open and finished 10th here with 53 points; Steph Curry, who finished tied for 11th with retired Marine and wounded war hero Andrew Bachelder (50); actor Jack Wagner (16th, 47 points); Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (tied for 18th, 44 points); actor Ray Romano (tied for 71st, minus-26 points); comedian Larry the Cable Guy (tied for 77th, minus-33 points); and former NBA great Charles Barkley, who finished alone in last with minus-93 points.

The tournament drew 57,097 fans for the week, setting an attendance record for the fourth straight year.

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Hockey world mourns loss of Ray Emery

Warning: Post contains coarse language

The hockey world lost one of the most memorable netminders in recent history on Sunday.

Former Ottawa Senators goaltender Ray Emery died after drowning early in the morning while swimming in the Hamilton Harbour in Hamilton, Ontario.

Emery dressed in 287 NHL games for five teams across 11 seasons, and judging by the overwhelming compassion expressed by former teammates and friends, he will surely be missed.

"On behalf of the Ottawa Senators, I wish to express my sincere condolences on the passing of Ray Emery. Ray was instrumental in our run to the 2007 Stanley Cup Final, and at his best he brought a competitive edge and combative mentality to the game. On behalf of our entire organization, I wish to extend my deepest sympathies to Ray's family, friends and loved ones." - Senators owner Eugene Melnyk said in a release.

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Former NHL goalie Ray Emery dies after drowning

Former NHL goaltender Ray Emery died early Sunday morning in Hamilton, Ontario after drowning while swimming with friends, Hamilton police confirmed.

Emery was 35 years old.

He played 287 career NHL games across an 11-year career that included stops with the Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers, Anaheim Ducks, and Chicago Blackhawks.

Emery last suited up during the 2015-16 season where he split his time between the Ontario Reign and Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League and the Manheim Eagles of the DEL in Germany.

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Canadiens agree to terms with Phillip Danault on 3-year contract

The Montreal Canadiens agreed to terms with center Phillip Danault on a three-year contract Sunday, the team announced. The new deal carries an annual average value of $3.083 million per season.

Danault is coming off a campaign in which he was hampered by injury. The 25-year-old's 2017-18 was derailed after he took a Zdeno Chara slap shot off the side of his head in January. Danault still suited up in 52 games, but he only managed to register eight goals and 17 assists in 16:35 of ice time per night.

Despite his lack of career productivity so far, the Victoriaville, Quebec native will still play an important role up the middle next season for a Canadiens squad that seriously lacks forward depth.

Danault was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks with their 26th overall pick in 2011. He was set for a salary arbitration hearing on July 20, but that won't happen now that the two sides have agreed to terms on a new deal.

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Parise feeling 100 percent following sternum injury

When he's healthy, there is no denying Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise's ability to put up points.

Related: Parise suffered broken sternum in Game 3; reportedly out 6-8 weeks

So, following a season in which the 33-year-old underwent back surgery and suffered a fractured sternum in the playoffs, Wild fans should be excited to hear that Parise expects to be ready for the start of the 2018-19 campaign.

"I don't anticipate that being a problem," Parise said Saturday, confirming that he feels 100 percent, according to Dane Mizutani of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "It feels good."

Parise missed 40 games after his back surgery in October. Following his return, he registered 15 regular-season goals - 12 of them in his last 18 contests - and nine assists, only to suffer the sternum injury in Game 3 of the first round of the postseason.

He says he's been skating for "a while" and is encouraged by his play down the stretch.

"It was nice to feel normal again on the ice. That was the biggest thing for me. ... That was relieving," Parise said. "I'm looking forward to doing that again next season."

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Blue Jackets sign Bjorkstrand to 3-year deal

The Columbus Blue Jackets signed restricted free-agent forward Oliver Bjorkstrand to a three-year contract on Sunday, the club announced. His new deal carries an annual average value of $2.5 million, according to Brian Hedger of BlueJackets.com.

"Oliver is a gifted player with a tremendous shot and scoring instincts who has improved steadily during his first three seasons as a pro," Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. "He is just scratching the surface of the type of player he can be and we believe he has the potential to be a dynamic offensive player for our club."

Bjorkstrand tallied 11 goals and 29 assists in 82 regular-season games for the Blue Jackets last year, chipping in with one goal and two assists in six playoff games.

The Denmark native was a prolific scorer in lower levels, winning WHL player of the year honors in 2014-15 after racking up a ridiculous 63 goals and 55 assists in 59 games for the Portland Winterhawks. It will be very interesting to see if Bjorkstrand can continue to develop his game at the NHL level.

He was drafted by Columbus in the third round of the 2013 draft (89th overall).

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Sharks’ Pavelski leads after 2nd round in Lake Tahoe

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Nev. (AP) San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski held off a charge from three-time defending champion Mark Mulder to maintain a one-point lead after the second round of the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament at Lake Tahoe on Saturday.

Mulder began the day nine points behind Pavelski in the modified Stableford scoring system, which awards six points for eagle, three for birdie, one for par, zero for bogey and minus-two for double bogey or worse. He had 31 points in the round for a total of 47.

Pavelski had 23 points on the day for a two-round total of 48. Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (44), former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer (43), two-time winner and former NFL quarterback Mark Rypien and former tennis standout Mardy Fish (39) followed. Former NBA star Ray Allen (38), MLB Hall of Famer John Smoltz (35) and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (33) were also in the hunt. Steph Curry, among the leaders after an 18 in the first round, fell back and was at 28 points.

Mulder, a former major league pitcher, had just four points after 15 holes on Friday, but since then he has tallied 43 is now in position to win the tournament at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course for the fourth straight year.

''So I couldn't hit it worse than I did for the first 15 holes yesterday,'' said Mulder, who last year became the first player in the tournament's 28-year history to win three straight times. ''So I was kind of excited to get this day going and luckily made a few putts and got that ball in the hole.''

Pavelski's best finish in two previous appearances was 10th. He knows he's going to have to hold off Mulder if he's going to win his first celebrity golf tournament.

''I hung in there in a good position,'' Pavelski said. ''I'm excited to play with the guys tomorrow. There's some good golfers. And they've proven themselves. And Mulder's the guy to beat right now.''

Sunday's final round will be televised live on NBC at 3 p.m. ET.

Romo, who has competed in U.S. Open qualifier tournaments, said there was no magic to his strong round Saturday.

''It's probably because I'm just actually a better golfer, to be honest,'' said Romo, who is an NFL analyst now. ''I wish it was, I'm more comfortable or mentally stronger or something. No, I've had more time. I've put more time in.''

Former NBA great and crowd favorite Charles Barkley was alone in last place in the 92-player field with minus-63 points.

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Kovalchuk: I have 3 or 4 years of high-level play left in my tank

Age is just a number as far as Ilya Kovalchuk is concerned.

The newest member of the Los Angeles Kings was on hand to speak to reporters on Saturday and said he still expects to play at an elite level through the duration of his contract.

"When I was making my decision, it was all about hockey because I have three or four years left in my tank where I can really play at a high level," Kovalchuk said, according to Jon Rosen of LAKingsInsider.com. "L.A. has a great group of guys. Like I said, great goaltending, great defense, and they have one of the best centers in the league. I never had a chance to play with those kinds of guys, so it's really exciting for me."

This season will mark Kovalchuk's return to the NHL after five years spent with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL. The former 1st overall pick of the Atlanta Thrashers - who averaged over 40 goals per 82 games in the NHL - is confident he'll be able to produce thanks in large part to the talent surrounding him in L.A.

"The last few years I was still in the same caliber like I was, so I feel comfortable," Kovalchuk said. "Especially when you play with the guys like Kopitar, Doughty, Carter, Brown, those guys, they make it even easier to get the points and the goals. We just need to work really hard and be a good team. It doesn't matter really who's going to score."

Kovalchuk will be relied on heavily to produce offense after a season that saw the Kings finish 16th in the regular season in goals. The campaign concluded with a first-round sweep to the Vegas Golden Knights after the team managed a mere three goals. Adding the KHL's reigning points leader should help address that.

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