Keeping ball low key to playing windy courses

Recent strong winds haven’t been the best for the posting of good golf scores and more wind is predicted for the coming week.

Mallard Cove, especially the front nine, is one of the area’s windiest courses. Any front coming in out of the north will send almost gale-force winds across Chennault’s miles of concrete and right into a golfer’s face.

LSU hires Juluke as RBs coach

BATON ROUGE -- LSU went to West Texas to find a running backs coach with the familiar New Orleans roots, and a family friend of star running back Leonard Fournette.

The Tigers on Saturday hired Jabbar Juluke to replace Frank Wilson, who in January moved on to become head coach at Texas-San Antonio.

Freshman Bech's two goals lifts Bucs into semis

No. 10 Barbe earned a spot in the semifinals of the Louisiana High School Athletics Association state soccer tournament Saturday afternoon with a 2-0 upset of second-seeded St. Joseph’s Academy of Baton Rouge in its last home game of the season.

Barbe freshman Jillian Bech scored both goals for the Bucs (16-8-3) and their defense held the Redstickers (16-5) scoreless to continue their deepest run in the postseason since reaching the final in 2008.

Victor's grit complements Simmons' finesse

BATON ROUGE -- It will come as quite a shock to the numerous highlight shows, but there’s more to this LSU basketball team than Ben Simmons.

In fact, if there’s to be more to the Tigers’ postseason than the embarrassment of sticking the projected No. 1 pick in the next NBA draft into the off-Broadway NIT, Craig Victor will be a big reason why.

Never too late to add to the family

A dog has always been part of my life.

Growing up in Central Louisiana there was Snowball, Trixie and then Topper.

Peterson spends time at home honing big-league skills

Before heading off to Lake Buena Vista, Florida, for spring training, Atlanta Braves second baseman and former McNeese State star Jace Peterson has spent some time in his old stomping grounds, practicing with the Cowboys’ baseball team during his offseason.

After spending his first complete season as a starter in the big leagues, Peterson said it’s been nice to come back home, reset and work on his game in the place where everything started.

“This is where I lived, so this is where I’m kind of used to getting in shape,” Peterson said. “Being able to come to McNeese where I played is definitely awesome. I get to see some live arms and work out with some of these guys, so it’s special.”

Season starts without two of NASCAR's biggest stars

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Jeff Gordon will be in the booth and Tony Stewart in a bed when the NASCAR season begins.

Neither NASCAR star will be in a car at Daytona International Speedway for the Feb. 21 season-opening Daytona 500. Gordon, arguably NASCAR’s biggest star, retired at the end of last season and the four-time champion will now be a Fox analyst.

He has been highly visible during his newly acquired free time, and was on an all-terrain vehicle trip with Stewart a week ago when the three-time champion crashed. Stewart fractured a vertebra and lay in the sand alone for 90 minutes waiting for his group to find him and get him to a hospital.

Mickelson takes the lead at Pebble Beach

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Far away from the commotion of the celebrities Saturday at Pebble Beach, the most accomplished star among golfers quietly went about his business.

That won’t be the case for Phil Mickelson today.

Mickelson efficiently pieced together a 6-under 66 in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, though it only looked easy on the card. He made birdie on all but one of the par 3s, scrambled for par on half of his holes and wound up with his first 54-hole lead since the 2013 U.S. Open.

Gators have what it takes

OMAHA, Neb. -- Florida has done everything except win a national championship in eight seasons under Kevin O’Sullivan, and here the Gators are again with a roster overflowing with talent and the consensus No. 1 ranking in the preseason polls.

Is this the year?

“Do we want to win it? Absolutely,” O’Sullivan said. “Do we understand that there are a lot of things that have to happen between now and then? I hope so. Unfortunately — and we’ve talked about this, too — the best team on paper normally does not win the national championship.”

Denny Hamlin wins opening Daytona race for 3rd time

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Joe Gibbs Racing opened a new season exactly where it left off last year: On top of the podium.

Denny Hamlin won the Sprint Unlimited — the kickoff to Speedweeks — on Saturday night to give JGR its third consecutive win in the exhibition race. JGR drivers have won the Unlimited in four of the last five years, and Hamlin has three victories since 2006.

Hamlin overcame early damage to his Toyota to score his first victory with new crew chief Mike Wheeler, who was a longtime engineer for the No. 11 team before his promotion. Wheeler gambled on fuel strategy, a luxury he had because the results of the race have no meaning, and spent most of the closing laps encouraging Hamlin to save fuel.