Vlhova wins 2nd slalom in 2 days, Shriffin finishes 5th

Vlhova wins 2nd slalom in 2 days, Shriffin finishes 5th
Petra Vlhova
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Updated 23 November 2020

Vlhova wins 2nd slalom in 2 days, Shriffin finishes 5th

Vlhova wins 2nd slalom in 2 days, Shriffin finishes 5th
  • Petra Vlhova and Michelle Gisin shared the lead after the opening run, but the World Cup discipline champion from Slovakia beat her Swiss opponent by 0.31 seconds in the final leg

LEVI, Finland: Petra Vlhova held off a challenge from Michelle Gisin Sunday to clinch her second World Cup slalom win in two days, while Mikaela Shiffrin placed fifth.

Vlhova and Gisin shared the lead after the opening run, but the World Cup discipline champion from Slovakia beat her Swiss opponent by 0.31 seconds in the final leg.

Katharina Liensberger of Austria was half a second behind in third.

In her second race after a 10-month break, and a day after coming runner-up to Vlhova, Shiffrin missed the podium in a slalom race for the first time in nearly three years.

On a course set by her coach Mike Day, Shiffrin struggled in the opening meters of her first run and trailed by nearly four tenths at the first split.

However, the American three-time overall champion matched the leaders’ pace for the remainder of her run and finished 0.37 seconds behind Vlhova and Gisin.

Shiffrin lost more than half a second on Vlhova in her final run and trailed by 0.93 at the end.

Shiffrin had been in the top three of every slalom she competed in since failing to finish an event in Switzerland in January 2018.

The US ski team said Shiffrin was “feeling a bit lethargic” and “still trying to figure out how to manage her energy levels,” a day after her comeback to racing after 300 days away.

Coming into the weekend, the American had not raced since the death of her father, Jeff Shiffrin, in early February. The coronavirus outbreak and a back injury prevented her from an earlier return to the circuit.

While Shiffrin hasn’t won a slalom since triumphing in Lienz in December, Vlhova stepped in to keep their streak going — all 28 World Cup slaloms since January 2017 have been won by either Shiffrin, with 19 wins, or Vlhova, who has won all the races in the discipline in 2020.

Gisin, who is the Olympic champion in the combined event, has yet to win a World Cup race, but placing second Sunday was her best career result in slalom.

Gisin’s Swiss teammate, Wendy Holdener, was 0.79 behind in fourth.

Federica Brignone, the overall World Cup champion from Italy, was more than three seconds off the lead and finished 24th.

A limited number of spectators were allowed at the race.

The women’s World Cup continues with a parallel event in Austria on Thursday.


DeChambeau: Power gives him advantage for Saudi International

DeChambeau: Power gives him advantage for Saudi International
Updated 19 January 2021

DeChambeau: Power gives him advantage for Saudi International

DeChambeau: Power gives him advantage for Saudi International
  • Physically transformed 2020 US Open champion relishing head-to-head with World No. 1 Dustin Johnson

JEDDAH: Big-hitting Bryson DeChambeau believes the length of Royal Greens Golf & Country Club’s tee-to-green puts him in prime position to pip world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and claim victory at next month’s Saudi International.

The 2020 US Open champion, famed worldwide for his colossal tee shots, the longest in Tour history, is King Abdullah Economic City-bound for his second crack at taking the Saudi crown that alluded him in 2019.

He was pipped to the title by Johnson, who returns alongside the biggest names in golf for the third annual hosting of the European Tour event next month.

However, 27-year-old DeChambeau heads to the Kingdom a different golfer this year, having not only transformed his physique and game to out-drive all other professional players, but as a Major champion, after clinching the US Open back in September.

He believes these two factors could prove critical in his quest for first place in two weeks’ time.

He said: “I feel like I have an even better advantage on the golf course because it is a bit of a bomber’s paradise, and I love that opportunity.

“When I played there, I finished sixth. I have a lot of great memories about the golf course and the character of the holes and being on the Red Sea, it was pretty unique and something that I want to experience again.

“I will tell you, though, that hitting it far there will be an advantage with some of the par 5s and I think it will fit me well, a lot better than the other golf courses.”

Much of the build-up around November’s delayed hosting of the Masters was focused on DeChambeau and how the Augusta course suited his big-hitting style of play.

However, it was to be his 2018 Ryder Cup teammate Johnson who eventually came out on top, further cementing his position as the world’s best. The fact that he will be teeing off against “DJ” next month is something that only adds to the excitement for DeChambeau, as he continues on his own mission to one day achieve top spot in World Golf rankings.

“Having a world No. 1 playing puts a little fire in my belly,” said DeChambeau. “I want to go over there and play and beat him. I was fortunate enough to clip him by one or two in Kapalua and if I keep doing that, if I keep beating him in every event, eventually the tables will turn.”

In his quest to be the world’s best, DeChambeau has famously reworked his entire game — and physique. In 2020 alone he gained 40 pounds to build his strength, and as a result extended his length off the tee by anywhere from 30 to 70 yards.

Although the tournament will be held without fans due to coronavirus disease restrictions, it will be shown live on KSA Sports, and DeChambeau is gearing up to show the Kingdom exactly what he has been working towards.