Mamat regains lead at King’s Cup

Updated 02 December 2012
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Mamat regains lead at King’s Cup

KHON KAEN, Thailand: Mardan Mamat of Singapore shot a 6-under 66 yesterday in the third round to regain the lead at the King’s Cup with a one-stroke advantage over Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant.
The 45-year-old Mamat led after the opening round and sank seven birdies this time round — including on his last hole — to move to 17-under 199. His lone bogey was on the sixth.
Thaworn, also age 45, finished with four birdies on Nos. 15-18 at the Singha Park Khon Kaen Golf Club.
“It’s going to be tough to beat this old guy (Thaworn) here. If you can get a one-stroke advantage, you’ve got to take it because he can shoot a low number anytime,” said Mamat, who is chasing his fourth Asian Tour title.
Thaworn has steadily improved each round from 69 and 66 on the first two days to 65 on Saturday.
“I was playing well but my tee-off shots and iron shots were not good. Luckily I chipped well, chipping in for three holes. I just have to work more on my driving,’” Thaworn said.
A further stroke behind was Pariya Junhasavasdikul (66) who briefly led the field after 15 holes until back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17.
Friday’s leader Suppakorn Utaipat of Thailand had a triple bogey on the 13th to finish with a 74. He dropped to joint 14th.

China stays ahead after Dongfeng foursomes
In Shanghai, Team China claimed a 7-5 lead over the Asia-Pacific at the Dongfeng Nissan Cup yesterday after sharing the honors in the foursomes round of the OneAsia team golf tournament in Shenzhen.
China took the lead after winning the fourball round 4-2 on Friday and tying Saturday’s foursomes 3-3, ahead of the final round of 12 singles matches Sunday.
“It could have been much better,” said Asia-Pacific team captain Peter Thomson, the legendary Australian five-time Open Championship winner.
“At least we didn’t lose any ground, and there is a lot to play for tomorrow. It should be a great day.”
The visitors led in all six matches at one point, but unforced errors rather than a Team China fightback allowed the home team to get some red on the scoreboard.
Rory Hie and Choo Tze Huang were the worst culprits. Three up at 12, they were beaten one-up by China’s Zhang Lianwei and Yuan Hao after scoring two double bogeys and a bogey in the home stretch.
Andre Stolz and Michael Long will also be looking to make amends in Sunday’s singles. After leading by two at the eighth, they lost seven in-a-row to Zhang Xinjun and Wu Kangchun to go down 5 and 3.
“I never thought our players could come back,” said China vice-captain Cheng Jun. “After the first nine holes all the live scores were blue — but they did it.”
Asia-Pacific vice-captain Scott Laycock, who partnered Mark Brown to a 3 and 2 victory against Wu Weihuang and Zhou Guowu, said he expected a close result.
“None of us like to lose — I hate losing — and this is the message we will be thinking about tonight,” he said.
“It isn’t over by a long shot.”
The Asia-Pacific side triumphed 12 1/2 to 11 1/2 on a gripping final day of singles in the inaugural OneAsia event last year after the teams were level 3-3 following the fourball matches and 6-6 following the foursomes.


What now for Saudi Arabia’s big four teams?

Updated 19 April 2018
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What now for Saudi Arabia’s big four teams?

  • Al-Hilal won their 15th top-flight title this season.
  • Big summer for Saudi Arabia football with the Green Falcons at the World Cup.

Now the Saudi Professional League season is over for another year Arab News can look back at their title tilts and what the big four clubs have to do over the coming months ahead of the next season.

 



AL-HILAL

Finished: Champions

Coaching situation: Ramon Diaz was in charge for much of the season, but was fired in February after setbacks in the Champions League.
Assistant Juan Brown did Okay in the final stretch, but a top-class coach could get more out of this team.

Squad priorities: A reliable goalscorer to support Omar Khribin and with veteran defender Osama Hawsawi leaving for pastures new, a replacement center-back with leadership qualities. Welcoming back the major stars — Carlos Eduardo, Khribin, Nawaf Al-Abed and Salem Al -Dawsari — will be a major boost.

Aim next season: Win the AFC Champions League

 



AL-AHLI

Finished: Second

Coaching situation: Sergiy Rebrov is out of contract at the end of June. His future is likely to depend on how the team fares against Al-Sadd in the second round of the AFC Champions League in May.

Squad priorities: There is not much wrong. The Jeddah giants were the highest scorers in the league last season and had the second best defense. Keeping star midfielder Leonardo fit will help as will a little cover in the center of defense. Star striker Omar Al-Somah fell out with the coach in a public way in the penultimate game of the season. It may be that one of them has to go. The Syrian has been player of the year for three years and has a longer contract than Rebrov.

Aim next season: Win the league. Maintain good performances in Asia.


 
AL-NASSR

Finished: Third

Coaching situation: Krunoslav Jurcic arrived in January and the former Croatian national team boss produced an upswing in results. May just be a temporary appointment and it needs to be sorted quickly.

Squad priorities: Looks good with the Saudi Arabia national team keeper, a strong center-back pairing of Omar Hawsawi and Bruno Uvini and the full-back position seemingly sorted with the January signing of Saad Suhail. They probably need a defensive midfielder and have to keep Junior Kabananga. The DR Congo striker has shown enough in his few weeks at the club to suggest that he could be a real star next season, especially with Leonardo pulling the strings behind him.

Aim next season: A genuine title challenge and getting through the play-offs into  the 2019 AFC Champions League.

 


AL-ITTIHAD

Finished: Ninth

Coaching situation: A bottom half finish is unacceptable for a team with Al-Itithad’s stature and history. Chilean coach Jose Luis Sierra may find that winning domestic cups is no substitute for challenging for the title.

Squad priorities: There is too much reliance on players such as Carlos Villanueva, a creative spark in the team, and Fahad Al-Ansari, the midfield engine, who are the wrong side of 30. The possible return of star winger Fahad Al-Muwallad will help, but an introduction of energy is needed.

Aim next season: Top three and, if the team wins the King’s Cup, a good showing in the 2019 AFC Champions League.