Brendan Steele had an ideal start to the new PGA Tour season at the Open in Napa, Calif., with a round that featured nine birdies, no stress and a simple explanation.

"As weird as it is to say, it was kind of a basic 63," he said.

It gave him a one-shot lead over Jhonattan Vegas among early starters in ideal scoring conditions at Silverado. Twenty-eight players were at 68 or better.

That included Rory McIlroy, the world's No. 3 player.

Harold Varner III, who joins Tiger Woods as the only players of black heritage on the PGA Tour this year, made a strong debut with a 65.

Steele posted a target early with a 29 on the back nine, including five straight birdies before making the turn.

This is the third straight year of the "wraparound" season, starting in October only two weeks after the end of the previous season.


Djokovic keeps winning

Novak Djokovic defeated 15th-seeded Feliciano Lopez 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the Shanghai Masters, extending his winning streak to 14 matches dating back to his title run at the U.S. Open.

On a day when 14 of the world's top 17 players were playing, Andy Murray saved all seven break points he faced and held on to beat big-serving John Isner 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-4; Rafael Nadal defeated Milos Raonic 6-3, 7-6 (3); and Stan Wawrinka topped Marin Cilic 7-5, 6-7 (7), 6-4.

Sixth-seeded Kei Nishikori was upset by Kevin Anderson 7-6 (10), 7-6 (3).

Wozniacki exits at Generali Ladies

Caroline Wozniacki, ranked 11th in the world and seeded second at the Generali Ladies in Linz, Austria, lost to Kirsten Flipkens 6-4, 6-4 in the second round. Wozniacki's loss left the indoor event without any of its top six seeded women in the quarterfinals.

•Venus Williams advanced to the quarterfinals of the Hong Kong Open by beating Wang Yafan 6-0, 6-2.


Bode Miller to skip season

Six-time Olympic medalist Bode Miller is taking a break from competing on the World Cup skiing circuit, he said.

It's not a retirement for Miller, 38. Skiing took a back seat in May when he and his wife, pro beach volleyball player Morgan Beck Miller, welcomed a son.

"I haven't slept in 4½ months," Miller cracked. "My priorities are so focused on the baby and family stuff. It's really hard to manage all the other stuff."

Also, four-time Olympic cross-country skier Kikkan Randall said she will skip the coming season because she and her husband, Jeff Ellis, are expecting their first child in April.

around the horn

NBA: The New Orleans Pelicans signed guard Bo McCalebb, who starred for New Orleans in college and has spent seven years playing professionally overseas. He was named most valuable player of the Italian League in 2012, when he also led the Euro-league in scoring.

Women's college basketball: Kentucky dismissed sophomore guard Chrishae Rowe for failing to uphold the program's standards. Rowe transferred to Kentucky from Oregon in January; she was the Pac-12's Freshman of the Year last season, averaging 21.6 points per game.