Smithfield’s Neal Lancaster will be listening out closely for his phone over the next few weeks. Lancaster finished as the second alternate in a U.S. Senior Open sectional qualifying event at High Point Country Club on June 24. Two direct entries into the Open were available at the tournament and two alternate spots.
Lancaster, a former winner on the PGA Tour, carded an even-par 72. He would play in the event, set for July 10-13 at Oak Tree National in Edmond, Oklahoma, if enough players who have qualified for the tournament decide not to play and the U.S. Golf Association starts running through its list of alternates.
If he gets in, Lancaster would certainly be a name to watch. He had some stellar rounds in the U.S. Open in the 1990s, shooting nine-hole scores of 29 twice in his career in an event that’s known for higher than normal scores.
Local pro baseball updates: Wilson Mills’ native Jerry Sands is battling a strained tendon in his left wrist. Sands, a first baseman/designated hitter with the Tampa Bay Rays, is expected to be reevaulated next week.
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The hope is that the injury, similar to ones suffered by Yankees’ first baseman Mark Teixeira and Jose Bautista, will not require surgery.
Sands was hitting .190 with a home run and four RBIs with the Rays in 12 games this season.
Clayton native Chris Archer had another strong outing in Yankee Stadium in a start for the Rays on June 30. He allowed just two earned runs and five hits in seven innings of work. But he didn’t get a decision, which has been a theme for Tampa Bay in the right-hander’s starts this season.
Archer posts a solid 3.24 earned-run average but is just 4-5 in 17 starts.
In the Minor Leagues, Clayton native Jason Creasy is 4-4 with a 3.52 earned-run average this season for the Bradenton (Fla.) Marauders, the Pirates’ High-A club.
The 6-foot-4, 22-year-old right-hander has struck out 60 batters in 84.1 innings while walking just 13.
Hinnant, Region 3 take bronze: The Region 3 high school baseball squad in the State Games of North Carolina took home the bronze medal on June 22. The team, made up of players from Johnston, Wake, Durham, Orange and counties along the N.C./Virginia border, included Clayton High School rising senior Cole Hinnant.
Region 3 beat Region 2, 7-4, in the bronze medal game. Region 5 (the Greensboro/Winston-Salem area) won the gold.
Regional soccer squad picks up bronze: The Central high school boys soccer team with players from Wake and Johnston counties picked up the bronze medal in the Junior/Senior High School Showcase tournament. The team featured five area players: Corinth Holders’ Dane Martin, Aaron Lopez and James Blinson, Garner’s Bryson White and Clayton’s Alex Roy.
The Central squad went 2-1 with a 3-2 win over the Northeast in the bronze medal match.
Zach Blinson scored two goals for the Central team in the event, while fellow Pirate Aaron Lopez assisted on two goals and scored one. Dane Martin, another rising senior at Corinth Holders, scored a goal.
The fourth local member of the Central squad was Clayton High student Alex Roy. He assisted on a goal for the squad.
North Johnston graduate Jamie Johnson played on the East squad that fell to the West All-Stars in the High School Senior East-West Showcase for Seniors.