Rory McIlroy eyes Masters glory after getting back on title-winning trail

Updated 18 March 2019
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Rory McIlroy eyes Masters glory after getting back on title-winning trail

LONDON: Rory McIlroy has won four of the five biggest events in golf after his one-stroke victory at the Players Championship in Florida on Sunday and is slowly turning his sights on the fifth — next month’s Masters at Augusta National.
A victory at the April 11-14 tournament would make him the sixth man to complete the modern grand slam of all four Majors — the Masters, US Open, The Open and PGA Championship — and the second this century after Tiger Woods.
McIlroy, who won his last mMajor in 2014, has had four cracks at completing the grand slam, but he has never gone to Augusta with quite the sort of consistent form he has displayed in 2019.
The Northern Irishman had not finished worse than sixth in five starts and he finally closed the deal on St. Patrick’s Day at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach.
He also leapt to fourth in the world rankings, his highest position in almost 18 months, and collected more than $2 million for the victory, but it did not take long for talk to turn to another type of green, namely the Green Jacket.
“If I go to Augusta with a similar golf game to what I have now and the attitude I’ve shown over the first few weeks of the year, I think I’ll have a great chance,” he said.
If nothing else, Sunday’s victory will silence the critics who had observed that McIlroy for all his consistency had appeared to have lost the closer’s instinct, having not won for almost a year.
“Even with some noise around me, ‘he can’t close, he can’t plays on Sundays’, blah, blah, blah, I’ve just got to do my thing,” he said.
“And if I go and I concentrate on me, control what I can do, good golf and good attitude takes care of the rest.
“(But) I don’t want to look too far ahead.
“I really want to enjoy this. I’ve actually got an interior design meeting tomorrow morning to pick out some stuff for our new house, so that’s the next port of call.
“I’ll turn my attention to what’s coming up in a few days’ time.”


Siakam has 30 points, Raptors top Magic 98-93 for 2-1 lead

Updated 20 April 2019
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Siakam has 30 points, Raptors top Magic 98-93 for 2-1 lead

  • Siakam was 13 for 20 from the floor
  • Raptors held Orlando to 36% shooting

ORLANDO, Florida: Pascal Siakam had 30 points and 11 rebounds, Kawhi Leonard added 16 points and the Toronto Raptors held off the Orlando Magic 98-93 on Friday night to take a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference first-round series.
Siakam was 13 for 20 from the floor and the Raptors held Orlando to 36% shooting. Leonard had 10 rebounds, Danny Green had 13 points and Kyle Lowry finished with 12 points and 10 assist.
Terrence Ross led Orlando with 24 points, and Nikola Vucevic shook off a slow start to finish with 22 points and 14 rebounds.
Game 4 is Sunday night in Orlando.
The Raptors trailed 61-60 midway through the third, then went on a 16-0 run over the next four minutes to take the lead for good. Siakam and Green were both 3 for 3 during the run, the Magic missed 10 consecutive shots over a span of 6 1/2 minutes and had to play uphill the rest of the way.
That being said, they went down swinging.
Lowry’s 3-pointer with 7:48 left gave Toronto its biggest lead at 86-69. The Magic came flying back, and Ross’ 3-pointer with 41 seconds left got Orlando to 96-93.
Leonard was short with a jumper on the next possession — but the Magic couldn’t control the rebound, and were doomed shortly afterward. Leonard made a pair of free throws with 12.9 seconds remaining to make it a two-possession game again, and that closed the scoring.
Orlando, which finished the regular season by winning 13 of its final 14 home games, was 13 of 44 from 3-point range.
Toronto scored the first 10 points — the last five by Siakam, who was a problem from the outset for the Magic — and led by as many as 11 in the first half.
Orlando got within one on three occasions in the first half, but never got the lead in the opening 24 minutes. Toronto took a 48-45 lead into the break after Ross beat the clock from midcourt at the buzzer.
He took off from the Magic logo and released the ball with about a half-second remaining, it hitting the square on the backboard perfectly and dropping through. Ross never broke stride, watching the ball’s flight as he ran and kept going through the tunnel leading to the Magic locker room.
TIP-INS
Raptors: Toronto had lost four consecutive Game 3s. ... Patrick McCaw (sprained right thumb) was active, but did not play. ... The Raptors are 6-1 in their last seven road games this season. ... Siakam has 73 points and 30 rebounds in the series.
Magic: Among the former Orlando players in the building were Tracy McGrady, Jameer Nelson and Horace Grant. ... Orlando missed three shots at the rim in one third-quarter possession. Vucevic missed at the rim, and Gordon couldn’t convert on two putback tries. ... Attendance was 19,367, the second-most in the Amway Center’s nine-season history.
GOVERNOR SPEAKS
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state’s first lady Casey DeSantis were in attendance and received Magic “46” jerseys — a nod to his being the 46th governor of the Sunshine State. The governor and Magic CEO Alex Martins spoke pregame about the hope for Orlando to get another All-Star Game soon, though all through 2022 has already been awarded to other Eastern Conference cities — and Milwaukee, another East city, has expressed interest in 2023.
UP NEXT
Game 4 is Sunday night in Orlando.