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Morning Roundup: Fans get their first look at the XFL

DC Defenders quarterback Cardale Jones  looks to throw against the Seattle Dragons during the first XFL football game on Saturday in Washington. [Will Newton/the associated press]
DC Defenders quarterback Cardale Jones looks to throw against the Seattle Dragons during the first XFL football game on Saturday in Washington. [Will Newton/the associated press]

PRO FOOTBALL

Fans get their first look at the XFL

The debut of the new XFL had a punt blocked for a touchdown, a juiced-up crowd roaring for big plays and a player swearing during an in-game television interview.

The actual football was hit and miss. College national championship-winning former Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones was the biggest star on the field.

Jones’ D.C. Defenders beat the Seattle Dragons 31-19 Saturday afternoon in the opener of the new XFL that provided plenty of entertainment in person and on TV. It’s far too early to tell if the XFL can take a foothold where its previous incarnation and the recently unsuccessful Alliance of American Football failed, but executives are willing to wait and see.

The first weekend is a chance for football fans to catch a glimpse of some of the few players they might recognize.

There’s former Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones with Dallas, former NFL QB Josh Johnson with San Diego and ex-Navy standout Keenan Reynolds playing for Seattle.

It’s not the star power of the NFL, but billionaire Vince McMahon’s latest venture is an attempt to capture the attention of hardcore football fans in the aftermath of the Super Bowl.

SOCCER

U.S. women’s team earns Olympic berth

Samantha Mewis’ goal on a blistering free kick in the second half against Mexico left no doubt that the United States was on its way to the Olympics.

Mewis scored twice and the U.S. national team secured its place in Tokyo this summer with a 4-0 semifinal victory Friday night in the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying tournament in Carson, California.

Rose Lavelle and Christen Press also scored for the United States, which extended its unbeaten streak to 27 games.

The United States will face Canada in the tournament’s title game on Sunday. Canada earned the region’s other Olympic berth with a 1-0 victory over surprisingly resilient Costa Rica 1-0 in the earlier match Friday.

GOLF

Taylor leads Mickelson by one shot at Pebble Beach

Phil Mickelson and his sublime short game delivered more entertainment than all the athletes and celebrities for the Saturday show at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Mickelson made the impossible look easy from a bunker behind the par-3 seventh green at Pebble Beach. He holed out from a bunker for birdie on the 13th, and chipped in from 90 feet for birdie on the next hole.

When he rapped in one last birdie, Mickelson had a 5-under 67 and trailed Nick Taylor of Canada by one shot going into the final round. Mickelson will be going for a record sixth title at Pebble Beach, and his first PGA Tour victory since he won this tournament last year.

Taylor had a round of 69 and was at 17-under 198 as he goes for his second PGA Tour victory.

Women’s Asia-Pacific Amateur: The Women’s Asia-Pacific Amateur has been postponed next week in Thailand because of the new virus from China.

That makes three golf events canceled or rescheduled because of the coronavirus that has infected more than 34,800 people worldwide and killed more than 700 nearly all in China since the first illness was reported in December.

The LPGA Tour previously canceled the Blue Bay LPGA scheduled for the first week of March in Hainan Island, China. The PGA Tour China Series moved its qualifier at the end of February from China to Singapore

TRACK AND FIELD

Pole vaulter sets world record

Swedish pole vaulter Armand Duplantis broke the men’s world record on Saturday.

Duplantis jumped 6 meters, 17 centimeters (20 feet, 2.9 inches) at the indoor meet in Torun, Poland, beating by one centimeter the record set by France’s Renaud Lavillenie in 2014.

Wire reports

Related Photos
<strong>Phil Mickelson chips the ball up to the sixth green of the Pebble Beach Golf Links during the third round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament on Saturday. [AP Photo/Eric Risberg]</strong>

Phil Mickelson chips the ball up to the sixth green of the Pebble Beach Golf Links during the third round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament on Saturday. [AP Photo/Eric Risberg]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-35c033bd6d52963366d63348e31e8c7c.jpg" alt="Photo - Phil Mickelson chips the ball up to the sixth green of the Pebble Beach Golf Links during the third round of the AT&amp;T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament on Saturday. [AP Photo/Eric Risberg] " title=" Phil Mickelson chips the ball up to the sixth green of the Pebble Beach Golf Links during the third round of the AT&amp;T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament on Saturday. [AP Photo/Eric Risberg] "><figcaption> Phil Mickelson chips the ball up to the sixth green of the Pebble Beach Golf Links during the third round of the AT&amp;T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament on Saturday. [AP Photo/Eric Risberg] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-f135992fe3e72491a095a5e70b66ef02.jpg" alt="Photo - DC Defenders quarterback Cardale Jones looks to throw against the Seattle Dragons during the first XFL football game on Saturday in Washington. [Will Newton/the associated press] " title=" DC Defenders quarterback Cardale Jones looks to throw against the Seattle Dragons during the first XFL football game on Saturday in Washington. [Will Newton/the associated press] "><figcaption> DC Defenders quarterback Cardale Jones looks to throw against the Seattle Dragons during the first XFL football game on Saturday in Washington. [Will Newton/the associated press] </figcaption></figure>
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