BOATING—MERLIN, a 67-foot ultralight sloop skippered by Bill Lee, smashed the 6-year-old TransPacific record by almost a full day, covering the 2,225 miles from Los Angeles to Honolulu in eight days, 11 hours, one minute and 46 seconds. The old record was held by Windward Passage.
Defending national powerboating champion JOEL HALPERN drove Beep Beep, his 38-foot Cobra, to victory in the Benihana Grand Prix off Point Pleasant Beach, N.J. Halpern finished the 177.8-mile course 17 minutes ahead of second-place finisher Preston Henn.
BOWLING—MARK ROTH became the third man in the history of the PBA to take three straight tournaments when he edged Bobby Fliegman to win the $60,000 Southern California Open in Norwalk.
BOXING—WILFREDO GOMEZ of Puerto Rico retained his WBC super bantamweight title with a fifth-round knockout of Mexico's Raul Tirado in San Juan.
July 24, 1977
GOLF—RAY FLOYD shot a fourth-round 69 for a record 13-under-par 271 to win the Pleasant Valley Golf Classic in Sutton, Mass., defeating Jack Nicklaus by a stroke. It was Nicklaus' second straight second-place finish. The $50,000 first prize pushed Floyd's career earnings over the $1 million mark, making him the 15th player to reach that plateau. No. 14 was 57-year-old Julius Boros, who picked up $493.75 for a tie for 59th.
Joanne Carner posted a final-round 71 for a nine-under-par 207 to take the Borden Classic by one shot over rookie Pat Meyers in Dublin, Ohio. The $12,000 that Carner earned for her 18th tournament victory pushed her 1977 earnings to $89,268, tops on the LPGA tour.
HARNESS RACING—Competing in his first stakes race of the year, ESCORT ($10.20), driven by Karl LeCause, won the final of the $425,000 Meadowlands Pace by one length over favorite Nat Lobell. The 24-entry field required two elimination heats, one of which was won by B.G.'S BUNNY in 1:54, world-record time for 3-year-old pacers. But B.G.'s Bunny was scratched from the final after discovery of a hairline fracture of the left hind sesamoid. He was then retired. Escort earned $215,192 for the victory.
HORSE RACING—Setting a stakes record of 1:59[3/5] on the 1-mile course, GLOWING TRIBUTE ($5.60) edged Fleet Victress by half a length in the $109,500 Sheepshead Bay Handicap at Belmont Park. The 4-year-old filly was ridden by Jorge Velasquez.
Private Thoughts ($10.40), Ramon Perez up, took the $114,150 Cornhusker Handicap at Ak-Sar-Ben in Omaha by two lengths over Latimer. The 4-year-old colt covered the 1‚⅛ miles in 1:48.
B. Thoughtful ($15), ridden by Don Pierce, won the $102,225 Hollywood Lassie Stakes, a six-furlong race for 2-year-old fillies, by 2½ lengths over Sweet Little Lady at Hollywood Park.
HYDROPLANING—MICKEY REMUND, driving Miss Budweiser, scored his second victory of the 1977 season in the Hydroglobe Race at Dayton. Averaging 105.381 mph for the 33-mile race, Remund bested the second-place boat. Miss Esquire Products, by 29.2 seconds.
MOTOR SPORTS—Averaging 130.36 mph, defending world champion JAMES HUNT drove his McLaren to an easy victory in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Niki Lauda, finishing second, increased his lead in the current championship standings to seven points over Mario Andretti and Jody Scheckter.
Darrell Waltrip won the Nashville 420 Grand National, beating Richard Petty by two laps. First place was worth $6,615.
SKEET SHOOTING—Posting a three-day total of 295 out of a possible 300, SP4 JOSEPH CLEMMONS won the U.S. championship in Pacific, Mo. IRA HILL retained her women's title with a score of 277.
SOCCER—Minnesota's Ade Coker picked up his first hat trick of the season as the Kicks silenced Seattle 4-0. Later in the week the Kicks blanked Tampa Bay 1-0 on a Steve Litt penalty kick and opened up a comfortable 20-point lead in the NASL's Western Division. Dallas slipped by St. Louis 1-0 to keep the best record (15-6) in the league and an eight-point Southern lead over Los Angeles, which lost to Fort Lauderdale 3-1 on Sunday. Lowly Connecticut (4-16) topped Las Vegas 4-3 in overtime and Quicksilver Coach Derek Trevis found himself out of a job the next day. Trevis was replaced by Assistant Coach Jim Fryatt. The Cosmos fell out of first place in the East after dropping their fifth straight game on the road, a 1-0 loss to Rochester. Returning to the friendly Meadowlands, however, Pelé & Co. chopped down Portland 2-0 to inch within four points of the top spot.
TENNIS—The Los Angeles Strings doubled their victories—from three to six—in one week's play, winning 14 straight sets as they beat Indiana (30-18), the Soviets (30-17) and Phoenix (29-19). Ilie Nastase, the newest String, won all three of his singles matches and teamed with Charles Pasarell to go undefeated in men's doubles. Since Nastase joined the team, attendance has gone up more than 50%. The hottest team in the East, the New York Apples, survived the first WTT match ever to be postponed by an "act of God"—the blackout—and went on to win all three of its matches. Wimbledon champ and Apple-of-New-York's-eye Virginia Wade was in form as she gave up just five games while beating Terry Holladay. Dianne Fromholtz and Sue Mappin. Cleveland won twice to improve slightly in the standings (11-14) as Bjorn Borg stretched his win streak to seven and upped his league-leading winning percentage to .598 (page 16).
Argentina's GUILLERMO VILAS outlasted Jan Kodes of Czechoslovakia 5-7, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 to win the International Tournier in Kitzbuehel, Austria. In the women's final, RENATA TOMANOVA topped Katja Ebbinghaus 6-3, 7-5.
VOLLEYBALL—After losing at San Diego (6-7) earlier in the week, El Paso/Juarez (7-8) retaliated against the Breakers at home, winning 12-7, 7-12, 9-12, 12-10, 6-5 as the teams, incredibly, had a combined 414 hitting attempts. The Sol's brightest ray is Ed Skorek, who leads the league in kills (403) and stuff blocks (100). The Phoenix Heat beat Tucson 12-6, 12-10, 10-12, 12-9 as Stan Gosciniak contributed 75 assists, a season high in the IVA. The East beat the West 13-11, 12-8, 6-12, 12-6, in Sunday night's All-Star Game in the Denver Auditorium Arena.
MILEPOSTS—FIRED: NORM SHERRY, 46, as manager of the California Angels. Preseason favorites in the American League West, the Angels were 9½ games out of first place with a 39-42 record. Sherry was replaced by 56-year-old DAVE GARCIA, the Angels' third-base coach. Garcia then hired FRANK ROBINSON, recently dismissed as manager of the Cleveland Indians, as batting coach.
SIGNED: JAMAAL WILKES, 24, by the Los Angeles Lakers to a multiyear contract. Wilkes, a 6'6½" forward who has averaged 16.5 points a game in his three professional seasons, played out his option with the Golden State Warriors.