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.
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? 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 2� lengths over Sweet Little Lady at Hollywood Park.