Jason Day handles rain, expands lead at Wells Fargo

Jason Day handles rain, expands lead at Wells Fargo
It was a wet blanket of a day in the Wells Fargo Championship. (AP)
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Updated 07 May 2022

Jason Day handles rain, expands lead at Wells Fargo

Jason Day handles rain, expands lead at Wells Fargo
  • Day expected a grind and got one, shooting a 3-under 67 in steady rain Friday to expand his lead to three shots

POTOMAC, Md.: Jason Day shook his head vigorously after holing an 11-footer for birdie on his ninth hole at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm — not out of disgust, but to whip the excess water off his cap. For the rest of the round, Day shed the hat entirely.
Whatever it took to get through a wet blanket of a day in the Wells Fargo Championship.
Day expected a grind and got one, shooting a 3-under 67 in steady rain Friday to expand his lead to three shots. Going for his first victory in four years, the former No. 1 player was at 10-under 130 through two rounds and relishing the chance to relax and watch the rest of the field try to stay dry.
“I’m looking forward to it. It’s nice to be back in the mix, nice to be leading. It’s still two more days left, so I can’t get too far ahead of myself,” Day said.
The rain didn’t stop for long in the afternoon as the scoring average at par-70 TPC Potomac ballooned to 72.6, three shots higher than Thursday. More rain, unseasonable cold and stronger wind were expected Saturday, followed by even colder temperatures Sunday.
Day got a tip from playing partner Max Homa, who was his closest pursuer after a 66. Homa told Day he flinched because water dripped from the bill of his cap onto his putter, causing him to ram his birdie attempt 6 feet by on the par-4 18th. Homa tossed the hat to caddie Joe Greiner before making the comebacker.
Day played his second nine holes hatless, a rare sight on the PGA Tour.
“I mean, not many times you see this hair, but hopefully this weather can kind of go away and we can have hats on for the weekend,” he said.
Day and Homa were grouped with Rickie Fowler, all past Wells Fargo champions at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina. The tournament is making a one-and-done appearance at TPC Potomac because its usual venue is hosting the Presidents Cup in September.
The course is just fine by tour standards, but the weather couldn’t be much worse for early May in the mid-Atlantic. Shots from the first cut of rough sent water splashing off the clubface, and dollar bill-sized divots landed in the fairway with a loud thud.
Nobody spent much time fussing over the ball in the group of Day, Homa and Fowler, who shot 72 and was eight shots back. Day didn’t bother to take down the gallery ropes before hitting a flop shot from well left of the 17th green, and Homa efficiently took relief from an embedded lie without waiting for a rules official.
Day was pleased his retooled swing held up even when he felt out of rhythm.
“When you have conditions like this, it’s really hard to commit to a shot because you’re going in there and you’re doing it kind of a lot quicker than your normal pre-shot routine,” Day said. “You have to force yourself to hit the shot and trust that.”
Homa opened with an eagle and made five more birdies in a round he wasn’t sure he’d finish.
“I told Joe this morning I thought we might get to 8. The greens have held up really well,” Homa said. “We did just play 18 full holes in the rain, so it’s hard to say we got hooked up, but maybe, who knows. I’m just happy to be done.”
Denny McCarthy, from nearby Rockville, was the only player in the afternoon to challenge the top of the leaderboard. He had six straight one-putt greens around the turn, four of them to save par, and shot 69 to finish at 6 under, joining Luke List (66), James Hahn (68) and Kurt Kitayama (67). Keegan Bradley had the low round of the day, a 65 that left him five shots back.
Rory McIlroy, the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 7, shot 73 to finish at even par. Matthew Wolff, who shot an out-of-nowhere 65 on Thursday, fell back with a 73.
A day after he told a rules official he “can’t wait to leave this tour,” Sergio Garcia was 5 under at the turn but bogeyed two of his final three holes for a 71. He was eight shots back and declined to speak to reporters for the second straight day.
Morgan Hoffmann, making a long-shot bid to keep his tour card after two years away from golf because of muscular dystrophy, missed the cut with rounds of 73 and 80. He has one start remaining on a major medical extension and needs a tie for second to earn full status for the rest of the season.


Bale makes early exit for Wales against England at World Cup

Bale makes early exit for Wales against England at World Cup
Updated 18 sec ago

Bale makes early exit for Wales against England at World Cup

Bale makes early exit for Wales against England at World Cup
  • Bale had been largely ineffective in the opening half, with only seven touches as England dominated possession

AL RAYYAN, Qatar: If it was Gareth Bale’s final game for Wales, it ended rather unceremoniously.
The Wales captain was substituted at halftime of the team’s match against England at the World Cup on Tuesday because of an injury.
While it was unclear when Bale was hurt, it appeared he was struggling late in the first half of the team’s final Group B match. He was replaced by Brennan Johnson.
Wales crumbled once Bale went off. England scored about five minutes into the second half and added another goal a minute later, finishing with a 3-0 victory.
Wales went into the match at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium needing a victory for a chance to advance to the knockout round in the team’s first World Cup appearance since 1958. Instead, the Welsh are headed home.
Bale had been largely ineffective in the opening half, with only seven touches as England dominated possession.
The 33-year-old Bale, who made his senior debut with Wales in 2006, leads the team in all-time appearances with 111 and in goals with 41.
The forward came to Qatar dogged by questions about whether his time with the national team was coming to an end. Asked a day before the match, Bale curtly replied “Nope.”
Following the World Cup, the next match for Wales is a European Championship qualifier against Croatia in March.
Bale’s World Cup had started with promise. In a 1-1 draw with the United States to open the tournament, Bale pulled Wales even with a late penalty. A 2-0 loss to Iran put Wales in danger of elimination.
But time seems to be catching up with Bale, who won five Champions League trophies over nearly a decade at Real Madrid. He now plays for Los Angeles FC.
Bale helped Wales reach the semifinals at the 2016 European Championship before the team lost to eventual champion Portugal. Wales qualified for last year’s pandemic-delayed Euro 2020, where it lost to Denmark in the round of 16.
After nine years with Real Madrid, Bale came to the United States this past season to play for LAFC in Major League Soccer, signing a deal worth just under $2.4 million.
He was limited to only two starts because of injuries but helped LAFC win the MLS Cup when he scored the game-tying goal deep into stoppage time of extra time against the Philadelphia Union. LAFC prevailed in a penalty shootout for its first championship.
It was Bale’s third goal with LAFC and his first since Aug. 6 against Real Salt Lake. At 128 minutes, it was also the latest goal scored in MLS’ 27 seasons.


England advance after beating Wales 3-0 at World Cup

England advance after beating Wales 3-0 at World Cup
Updated 38 min 53 sec ago

England advance after beating Wales 3-0 at World Cup

England advance after beating Wales 3-0 at World Cup
  • England will next face Senegal in the round of 16
  • Wales finished in last place in the group and has been eliminated

AL RAYYAN, Qatar: Marcus Rashford and Phil Foden both scored Tuesday to put England into the last 16 of the World Cup with a 3-0 victory over Wales.
England coach Gareth Southgate opted to add both players in the starting lineup for the team’s final Group B match and they responded with all three goals — two from Rashford and the other from Foden.
England will next face Senegal in the round of 16. Wales finished in last place in the group and has been eliminated.
Southgate had faced calls to freshen up his team after the 0-0 draw with the United States. He brought in Rashford and Foden into a new look attack and it worked.
England had the game wrapped up just after halftime with Rashford scoring from a free kick in the 50th and Foden adding another in the 51st. Rashford got his second after a weaving run in the box in the 68th.
Wales captain Gareth Bale was forced off at halftime with an injury.


Pulisic sinks Iran as US advance in World Cup duel

Pulisic sinks Iran as US advance in World Cup duel
Updated 22 min 43 sec ago

Pulisic sinks Iran as US advance in World Cup duel

Pulisic sinks Iran as US advance in World Cup duel
  • Christian Pulisic swooped to score the decisive goal in the 38th minute
  • The Americans will face Group A winners the Netherlands in the knockout phase

DOHA: Christian Pulisic fired the United States into the last 16 of the World Cup on Tuesday as the Americans downed Iran 1-0 in their politically charged grudge match.
Chelsea star Pulisic bundled home the do-or-die Group B game’s only goal on 38 minutes to set up a second round clash with Group A winners the Netherlands on Saturday.
The victory was no less than US coach Gregg Berhalter’s youthful side deserved in what was only the third international football clash between the bitter ideological rivals.
The build-up to a pulsating showdown had been marked by steadily escalating tension, with Iran’s Football Federation on Sunday demanding FIFA sanction US Soccer for posting a modified version of their country’s flag on social media.
But despite an electrifying atmosphere at Doha’s Al Thumama Stadium, Tuesday’s game played out without controversy as the US avenged their 1998 World Cup defeat to Iran to send the Asian qualifiers crashing out of the tournament.
Iran’s fans had roared their team onto the field at the start of the game amid a deafening cacophony of air-horns and cheers from the crowd of 42,127.
But despite the intimidating reception it was the Americans who looked more comfortable, quickly establishing their dominance.
US captain Tyler Adams and Juventus’ Weston McKennie controlled proceedings in midfield to leave Iran struggling to gain foothold.
The US signalled their attacking ambition after only two minutes, Pulisic surging forward menacingly before being dispossessed.
That was a shape of things to come as they laid siege to the Iranian goal.
Valencia midfielder Yunus Musah shot over the bar and Pulisic just failed to get enough power on a header after a cross from Antonee Robinson.
Fullback Sergino Dest was a constant threat down the right flank for the Americans, whipping a cross over in the 17th minute that Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand could only parry.
After sustained US pressure, the breakthrough finally came in the 38th minute.
A brilliant crossfield pass from McKennie picked out Dest down the right.
The AC Milan defender headed back across goal and Pulisic was on hand to bravely finish.
There was alarm for US fans with Pulisic needing sustained treatment after a heavy collision with Beiranvand but it was the Iranians and their noisy fans who were left winded by the goal.
The crowd instantly became more subdued and the US twice came close to doubling their lead before half-time.
Josh Sargent and Tim Weah combined well with a dazzling counter-attack but the final ball went astray.
Then in injury time McKennie’s sublime pass found Weah who finished brilliantly past Beiranvand only to be ruled just offside.
Knowing that an equalizer would send them into the second round, the Iranians stepped up the pressure in the second half.
But substitute Saman Ghoddos squandered two gilt-edged chances to get his team into the match, heading over from close range before blazing a shot over the bar on the 65th minute with the whole goal to aim at.
Saeid Ezatolahi curled a long-range shot over the bar soon afterwards as the Americans continued to live dangerously.
Iran threatened again inside the final 10 minutes when Ali Karimi just failed to get on the end of a teasing cross by Ezatolahi.
A diving header from Morteza Pouraliganji whistled just wide in injury time and then Mehdi Taremi had calls for a penalty after a tangle with Cameron Carter Vickers waved away as to leave American nerves jangling before their team hung on for a famous win.


Saudi team ready for World Cup clash with Mexico on Wednesday

Saudi team ready for World Cup clash with Mexico on Wednesday
Updated 29 November 2022

Saudi team ready for World Cup clash with Mexico on Wednesday

Saudi team ready for World Cup clash with Mexico on Wednesday
  • Green Falcons complete training session at Sealine Resort Stadium

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s national football team on Tuesday completed a final training session ahead of their last FIFA World Cup group stage clash against Mexico on Wednesday at Lusail Stadium in Qatar.
The Green Falcons trained at the Sealine Resort Stadium under the supervision of coach Herve Renard.
Training included warm-up exercises before players were divided into two groups for tactical work.
Defender Mohammed Al-Breik was supervised by medical staff as the 30-year-old continued a treatment program for a calf muscle injury.
The team was expected to leave its facility on Tuesday night and head to Doha as part of its preparations for the match the following day.
Saudi Arabia is in Group C alongside Argentina, Mexico and Poland.


Koulibaly sinks Ecuador to fire Senegal into World Cup knockouts

Koulibaly sinks Ecuador to fire Senegal into World Cup knockouts
Updated 29 November 2022

Koulibaly sinks Ecuador to fire Senegal into World Cup knockouts

Koulibaly sinks Ecuador to fire Senegal into World Cup knockouts
  • The Netherlands' dominant victory over Qatar meant only a win would see Senegal through to the knockouts
  • Senegal manager Aliou Cisse promised before the game his experienced side "would not overthink" the occasion

DOHA: Kalidou Koulibaly sent Senegal into the World Cup knockouts for just the second time in their history with the winner in Tuesday’s dramatic 2-1 win over Ecuador.
The Netherlands’ dominant victory over Qatar meant only a win would see Senegal through to the knockouts from Group A, while Ecuador would have progressed with a draw.
Senegal opened the scoring through Ismaila Sarr’s penalty late in the first half, but despite managing to keep Ecuador captain Enner Valencia quiet throughout, Brighton’s Moises Caicedo levelled in the 67th minute before Koulibaly sent his team through and Ecuador home.
Senegal manager Aliou Cisse promised before the game his experienced side “would not overthink” the occasion and it was the Africans who opened the game furiously, with Everton’s Idrissa Gana Gueye lashing the ball just wide of an open goal after only three minutes.
Less than a minute later, Ecuador goalkeeper Hernan Galindez needed to bail out his side’s high backline, sliding in to stifle a counter well outside his box.
On the 10 minute mark, Senegal’s Boulaye Dia found himself one-on-one with Galindez, but he cut the ball just wide of the post.
Seemingly sparked into life by Senegal’s fierce opening, Ecuador pushed forward and won a free-kick 30 meters from goal, with the South Americans taking the opportunity for a rare breather before Valencia slammed the ball into the wall.
After the furious opening exchanges, both sides began to settle and the first half looked set to end goalless before Ecuador defender Piero Hincapie clattered into Sarr, giving referee Clement Turpin no choice but to point to the spot.
Sarr stepped up and coolly dispatched a fine spot-kick past Galindez, maintaining eye contact with the keeper as the ball went in.
Ecuador started the second half fresher and more determined, perhaps reassured that the Netherlands’ dominance over Qatar meant they only needed a draw to go through.
From a free-kick, defender Felix Torres rose high to head the ball on to Caicedo, who was waiting at the far post and slammed the ball home.
Senegal struck back immediately and in almost identical fashion, with Koulibaly lurking unmarked at the far post following a free-kick which was deflected into his path by Hincapie.
Coming into the match on a yellow card, Gueye picked up a second-half booking and will miss Senegal’s last-16 game against the winners of Group B.