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Jordan Spieth comes close but falls short

AUGUSTA, Ga. — They say The Masters starts on the back nine on Sunday. Sometimes they are wrong by a couple of holes. This 78th Masters began in earnest, and was ultimately decided according to the men involved, in a span of only 20 minutes on the eighth and ninth holes. There, 20-year-old Jordan Spieth, playing with immaculate self-control, met the arbitrary treachery for which Augusta National is infamous.

Sounders’ Clint Dempsey highest-paid player in MLS

TUKWILA — Sounders FC’s Clint Dempsey remains the highest-paid player in MLS, according to data released Thursday by the players’ union. In fact, his guaranteed compensation of nearly $6.7 million in salary plus bonuses is on pace to exceed the total payroll of 15 of 19 teams in the league.

Harvick claims Darlington pole

DARLINGTON, S.C. — Kevin Harvick became the eighth different pole winner in as many Sprint Cup Series races this season after posting the fastest lap in the final round of Friday’s knockout-style qualifying for the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

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Paxton gets the ball for Mariners’ home opener

SEATTLE — This will be the biggest of start of James Paxton’s major league career. Sure, his big league career consists of a total of five starts, but getting to start in the 2014 home opener against the Los Angeles on Tuesday night at Safeco Field is something that he’s going to cherish.