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Sports

South Hills golf pro purchases Hickory Heights

| Thursday, Dec. 25, 2008

Sam Depe, the golf pro at South Hills Country Club, has purchased the Hickory Heights Golf Club in South Fayette, and he plans to make major improvements to the clubhouse and the course.

Depe, who will leave South Hills in January, said he and a partner acquired the 18-hole course from Hickory Heights BIBG LLC A deed filed in Allegheny County listed the price at $1 million.

"We plan to increase membership to about 200 from the 170 now and make the club semi-public, offering a fully stocked pro shop and a full agenda of events," Depe said.

Included among improvements are making the No. 10 hole as No. 1, moving about 20,000 feet of dirt on No. 5 hole to the left to make it a gradual slope to the green, remove fairway bunkers but improve those bunkers that remain, remove trees and overgrown weeds where necessary and landscape the outside of the club.

As for the clubhouse, plans include remodeling the clubhouse and the banquet room and painting the exterior and interior of the clubhouse.

Pro basketball

• Oft-injured guard Steve Francis was traded from the Houston Rockets to the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday for a conditional second-round draft pick in 2011. The Grizzlies also receive a second-round pick for 2009 and cash.

• The Phoenix Suns signed Dee Brown, ending their search for another backup point guard.

Off the field

• Sexual assault charges against former West Virginia running back Mark Robert Sampson Jr. were dropped. After the charges were filed in late November, football coach Bill Stewart dismissed Sampson from the team "for a violation of team policy." He didn't elaborate.

• A former Marshall football standout avoided a possible death sentence by pleading guilty to shooting and killing his girlfriend and her father. Prosecutors in Florida say 29-year-old Alonzo Maurice Jones Jr. faces two life sentences after entering the plea.

• Thieves broke into soccer star Ronaldinho's house and made off with thousands of dollars worth of goods but left behind the AC Milan midfielder's Golden Ball trophy, Italian media reports said.

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