TOSHIBA CLASSIC: In Newport Beach, Calif., Bernhard Langer birdied three of the last four holes for an 8-under 63 and a two-stroke lead in the Champions Tour's Toshiba Classic.
Langer, the 2008 winner, had eight birdies in his bogey-free round at Newport Beach Country Club. The 56-year-old German won the season-opening event in Hawaii in January for his 19th victory on the 50-and-over tour.
Fred Couples, Jeff Hart and Taiwan's Chien Soon Lu shot 65, and Kenny Perry, Michael Allen, Kirk Triplett, Duffy Waldorf and Scott Simpson were another stroke back.
Couples won the 2010 tournament, shooting 66-64-65. Last month in Florida, Allen beat Waldorf in a playoff in Boca Raton, and Triplett won in Naples.
Defending champion David Frost opened with a 72.
Djokovic Wins Easily To Reach Indian Wells Semis
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- Novak Djokovic beat Julien Benneteau 6-1, 6-3 in just over an hour to reach the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open on Friday.
Djokovic never faced a break point on his serve against Benneteau, the only unseeded player left in the men's draw. The Serb held break points on Benneteau's serve in seven of eight games, and broke him four times during the match played in near 90-degree temperatures.
On the women's side, top-seeded Li Na played 20th-seeded Flavia Pennetta and No. 2 seed Agnieszka Radwanska took on sixth-seeded Simona Halep in evening semifinals.
Djokovic, a two-time champion at Indian Wells, will play American John Isner in Saturday's semifinals. Four-time winner Roger Federer will meet Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine in the other semi.
Hamlin Sets Track Record With Pole-Winning Run
BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Denny Hamlin has set a track record at Bristol Motor Speedway with his pole-winning run Friday in knockout qualifying.
Hamlin turned a lap at 129.991 mph to earn the top starting spot for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race Sunday. He broke the mark of 129.535 set by Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch a year ago.
Hamlin also snapped two weeks of dominance by Team Penske drivers Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano. The teammates swept the front row at Phoenix and Las Vegas, where the new format was first used.
Both Penske drivers made one last effort to grab the pole from Hamlin, and Keselowski came up just short in second with a lap at 129.965.
Hamlin's teammate, Matt Kenseth, qualified third and Logano wound up fourth.
Backstrom To Get Silver Medal Despite Drug Test
LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- Swedish hockey star Nicklas Backstrom will receive an Olympic silver medal despite his positive drug test in Sochi.
The IOC says Friday that its provisional suspension of Backstrom -- imposed hours before the Feb. 23 final against Canada -- was "fully justified."
But the IOC says there was no intention to improve performance and "the athlete should be entitled to receive the silver medal and diploma awarded for men's ice hockey."
The Washington Capitals center tested positive for the stimulant pseudoephedrine on Feb. 19. The IOC says Backstrom conceded at a hearing before the final that he had also taken medication containing pseudoephedrine earlier that day.
Backstrom was removed from the Swedish team just before the final, which the Canadians won 3-0.
An IOC disciplinary panel found Backstrom had been "cooperative," disclosed the medication in his doping control form and relied on advice of his team doctor.