Consistent Elson targets roaring finish in Pretoria

Updated 19 June 2017
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Consistent Elson targets roaring finish in Pretoria

PRETORIA: Jamie Elson will be looking to build on the positives from his consistent showing and produce another strong finish when he competes in The Roar, the third and final event on the MENA Golf Tour’s safari to South Africa, at Waterkloof Golf Club, starting on Tuesday.

The Englishman led by a shot heading into the final round of last week’s Jo’burg City Masters before settling for solo sixth on six under to improve upon his tied 14th finish at the South to East Challenge, the opening event of the MENA Tour’s South Africa swing, co-sanctioned with the Sunshine Big Easy Tour.

Elson, now placed second on the Order of Merit just behind leader Luke Joy, who has been forced to withdraw from this week’s event due to illness, will join a strong MENA Tour contingent as they look to make inroads into the domination of home players.

Other MENA Tour notables in the field include Craig Hinton, Tyler Hogarty, Antonio Costa, Fredrik From and Cyril Suk, who all have tasted success on the tour, and England’s cricketer-turned-golfer Craig Kieswetter, who was three-under after 36 holes last week, but a closing 79 undid his good start.

Maritz Wessels, currently sitting atop the Big Easy Tour Order of Merit, will spearhead the South African challenge along with a slew of strong conteders, including Breyten Meyer and Jaco Prinsloo, the winners of the first two co-sanctioned events.

Underscoring the array of talent on show, the first two events in the Rainbow nation have thrown up two different winners and, if the script holds good, a new champion could well emerge from the evening shadows coming down the final stretch on Thursday.

Young English prodigy Sam Hobday, who currently leads the MENA Tour Order of Merit for amateurs following his top-finish last week, will join his closest rival Tiago Lobo of Brazil and others in the division, aiming to round off the South Africa leg of the tour on a high at Waterkloof Golf Club.

One of the most popular courses in the Pretoria area, Waterkloof — formerly Monument Golf Club — was established in 1969, before it was redesigned by Peter Matkovich in 2004.

Highlighted by a mixture of well-placed trees, bunkers and exciting greens, the Waterkloof layout tests every aspect of the game.

An initiative of the Shaikh Maktoum Golf Foundation, the MENA Tour was created in 2011 with the aim of developing golf in the region. It is affiliated to R&A, the worldwide golf governing body based in the home of golf, St. Andrews, and the Arab Golf Federation and enjoys the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) status.

A guaranteed spot on the PGA Tour’s 2018 DEAN & DELUCA Invitational (for the MENA Tour champion), multiple European Tour starts, including the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, the Hassan II Trophy, Maybank Championship Malaysia, and the KLM Open, are some of the added incentives that await MENA Tour members, in addition to playing privileges on the Sunshine Tour, and exemptions into the final stage of the Sunshine Tour and Asian Tour Q-Schools.


Warriors down Rockets, force Game 7 in NBA West finals

Updated 45 min 16 sec ago
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Warriors down Rockets, force Game 7 in NBA West finals

OAKLAND, California: Klay Thompson hit nine 3-pointers and scored 35 points, the Warriors held James Harden down in the second half, and Golden State rallied from an early 17-point deficit to stave off elimination with a 115-86 victory over the Houston Rockets on Saturday night to force a deciding Game 7 in the Western Conference finals.
Stephen Curry added 29 points and five 3s on a night Harden dazzled for long stretches with 32 points, nine assists and seven rebounds while backcourt mate Chris Paul sat out sidelined by a strained right hamstring.
Kevin Durant struggled with his stroke at 6 for 17 but still scored 23 points as the defending champions kept their repeat quest alive by thoroughly outplaying Houston in the second half. The Warriors outscored the Rockets 55-20 in the second half before both coaches subbed their key players with 4:28 left.
A dynamic, star-studded series projected to be as captivating and compelling as the actual NBA Finals is going the distance. Game 7 is Monday night back in Houston.
Golden State stymied Harden on consecutive possessions early in the fourth with smothering defense led by Nick Young and several helpers, then Thompson hit a 3-pointer from the left wing at 9:40 for an 89-77 lead. And roaring Oracle Arena went crazy with hopes of even more home games to come if Golden State can get to a fourth straight finals.
Thompson came through with his best performance of these playoffs with the season on the line, just as he did in a 2016 Game 6 of the Western Conference finals at Oklahoma City when he went off for 41 points against Durant and the Thunder to force Game 7.
He was a combined 20 of 32 from 3-point range in those two games.
“I don’t want to go home,” Thompson said. “We worked too hard this season to go home. And this is what we play for.”
The Warriors used another of their signature third quarters to take an 84-77 advantage going into the final 12 minutes, then maintained that dominant level this time down the stretch, unlike their last home game at roaring Oracle Arena when they blew it in Game 4 on Tuesday.
Both teams let it fly from every corner of the court — Golden State hitting 16 3-pointers and Houston 15.
The Warriors outscored Houston 93-47 over the final three quarters.
Thompson’s baseline 3 in transition with 3:35 left in the third put the Warriors up 76-74, then Curry hit from way back the next time down over Gerald Green. Curry did it again moments later from deep.
The Warriors opened the third with an 11-0 burst to go ahead 62-61 on Curry’s 3 at 9:17, also getting a pair of 3s from Thompson and a dunk by Durant. Houston committed four quick turnovers.
Yellow-clad Oracle came alive, too.
Golden State did it playing again without forward Andre Iguodala, who missed his third straight game of the series with a bone bruise in his left knee sustained in Game 3.

TIP-INS
Rockets: The Rockets made 8 of 12 3-pointers in the first and topped the Warriors 19-4 in fast-break points. ... Houston committed 11 first-half turnovers, five early. ... Harden shot 4 for 12 on 3s.
Warriors: Golden State’s 33-point third quarter was its first 30-point period since the third in Game 4. ... The Warriors shot 4 for 18 in the first half from long range. ... Golden State is 4-1 when facing elimination dating to the 2015 championship. ... The Warriors are 16-8 all-time in Game 6 of postseason series. ... Second-year G Patrick McCaw, who had been out since a scary back injury at Sacramento on March 31 when undercut by Vince Carter, received a roaring ovation when he entered the game late. He quickly grabbed a rebound. ... Kerr listed Iguodala as day to day because there’s still pain in the knee when running.

PAUL’S PRESENCE
Paul is receiving treatment “around the clock,” according to coach Mike D’Antoni.
Having him on hand still meant so much.
“He’s devastated. He has to be. We’re all devastated for him. At the same time, we’ll rally and do what’s right,” D’Antoni said. “He’s so integral in what we do and the spirit of the team. And him being here is a big deal, and him being on the bench is a big deal. He’ll will us through, if he can.”
Warriors coach Steve Kerr felt terribly for Paul — and others who have gone down.
“More than anything, I feel bad for Chris. The guy is a phenomenal player and competitor, and pretty much willed his team the last two games. He’s just been haunted by these types of injuries in his career, and it’s a shame,” Kerr said.
“I hate when anybody gets hurt. I hate when Andre got hurt. I hate to see Kevin Love last night, Kyrie (Irving). These guys train so hard and they’re here and they’re competing, and you want everybody to be healthy, but just the reality is it usually doesn’t work out that way. So you’ve just got to keep playing with whoever’s there and keep going.”