Van Pelt wilts in the clutch

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Van Pelt wilts in the clutch

There were moments late Sunday afternoon when Bo Van Pelt appeared poised to outduel Tiger Woods in the clutch at Woods own tournament, nonetheless.
But, as it turned out, there would be no dramatic upset.
Woods scored his PGA Tour - leading third victory at the AT&T National, while Van Pelt left Congressional Country Club dejected, knowing he had allowed a rare opportunity slip from his grasp.
Its disappointing, said Van Pelt, whose only Tour victory came three years ago in Milwaukee. I felt when Woods hit it over the green on 16 that I had my opportunity to take advantage.
I felt like on the back nine that if I could just keep putting pressure on him that maybe hed give me an opening, and he did on 16, the 37-year-old Indiana-native added.
But it was Van Pelt who wilted under the pressure on another sweltering afternoon in Bethesda.
He smashed a perfect tee-shot on No. 16, a par-5, driving the ball 345 yards down the middle of the fairway. Woods drive, meantime, found the rough.
Van Pelt, however, couldnt cash in. Swinging a 6-iron on his second shot, his ball landed in the rough along a left side bunker, forcing him to take a precarious stance in the sand and grip his wedge on the shaft.
The next shot was no better; it traveled merely a matter of yards.
I didnt hit a bad shot with that 6-iron, he explained. I just ended up in a really tough spot and didnt get the ball on the green. Obviously, if I get the ball on the green there and make 5, who knows.
Both Van Pelt and Woods scored bogeys on what had been the tournaments easiest hole, adding to the tension as they headed to the final two holes, still knotted at 8-under par.
Then Van Pelt then gave it away.
His second shot on the par-4 No. 17 flew over the green and landed down a steep slope. His third shot sailed past the green, too, settling in the first cut.
Two putts later, Van Pelt was at 7-under and found himself trailing Woods for the first time since No. 11.
After challenging the worlds No. 4-ranked golfer hole-for-hole for much of the afternoon, Van Pelt finished the round with three consecutive bogeys and eager for a week away from the links. Ill be disappointed for a while, probably on my flight home tonight and about two hours tomorrow driving up to my boat, he said, asked how long he would be haunted by the blown opportunity. Then, once I get on that boat for the rest of the week, I probably wont think about it much.

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Ruth's Chris Sizzling Stats: 5 numbers that define Ravens-Jaguars

Ruth's Chris Sizzling Stats: 5 numbers that define Ravens-Jaguars

Baltimore got its third win of the young season with a victory over Jacksonville on the road Sunday. Here are 5 Sizzling Stats from that game and looking forward, presented by Ruth's Chris. 

1) 64.0 -- Joe Flacco's Passer Rating on Sunday. It was his lowest Passer Rating in a Baltimore victory since Nov. 11, 2013 when the Ravens beat Cincinnati, 20-17, in overtime. Flacco's Passer Rating in that game was 60.0.

2) 4-of-4 -- Justin Tucker's made and attempted field goals on Sunday. He has gone 4-of-4 in six other career games. His career high for makes on a perfect day was set Dec. 16, 2013 when he went 6-of-6 in a win over Detroit. 

MORE RAVENS: HARBAUGH SHUTS DOWN CRITICS

3) 3 -- Through three weeks, the number of Ravens victories this season by one possession or fewer. For comparison, 14 of Baltimore's 16 games last season were decided by that margin. In those 14 games, Baltimore was 5-9. Close games now going their way?

4) 2009 -- The last time the Ravens started the season 3-0. They would go on to finish 9-7 in the regular season and beat New England in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.

5) 0 -- Amont of patience Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith appears to have for Jacksonville rookie cornerback Jalen Ramsey, as demonstrated by his postgame comments.

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X-ray on Nationals' star Bryce Harper's left thumb brings good news

X-ray on Nationals' star Bryce Harper's left thumb brings good news

The Nationals got a dose of good news on a night All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos went down with a potentially serious knee injury, as Bryce Harper's X-ray came back negative, meaning there are no broken bones in his left thumb.

Harper, 23, suffered the injury sliding into third base on Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh. He had the X-ray on Monday morning and the team is of course pleased to hear the results.

"He could be back within a couple days, a few days. That’s big right there," manager Dusty Baker said. "The swelling’s down, so I think his strength is up, I heard. It’s very positive. We still got time for him to get well.”

Getting Harper back soon would be huge for a Nationals team that just saw Ramos go down and recently saw Daniel Murphy injure his left buttock and Stephen Strasburg strain his right flexor mass.

Murphy's injury is also not expected to be serious. Baker even said on Monday that it's "very likely" he will be ready to go for the playoffs. But that's four of the Nats' five All-Stars now injured to varying degrees with just six games left in the regular season.

At least with Harper, they may have dodged a bullet.

[RELATED: Ramos set for MRI as Nats hope injury isn't serious]

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