Stenson seizes 3-shot lead in LIV Golf debut at Trump National

Stenson seizes 3-shot lead in LIV Golf debut at Trump National
1 / 2
Yasir Al-Rumayyan, Majed Al-Sorour, and Greg Norman watch at the first tee during the second round of the Bedminster Invitational LIV Golf tournament. (AP)
Stenson seizes 3-shot lead in LIV Golf debut at Trump National
2 / 2
Henrik Stenson hits off the 16th tee during the second round of the Bedminster Invitational LIV Golf tournament in Bedminster, N.J., Saturday. (AP)
Short Url
Updated 31 July 2022

Stenson seizes 3-shot lead in LIV Golf debut at Trump National

Stenson seizes 3-shot lead in LIV Golf debut at Trump National
  • Stenson is still new to this 54-hole event with a shotgun start, though good golf means he will be starting on the first hole for the second straight time on Sunday

BEDMINSTER, N.J.: Henrik Stenson overcame a double bogey on his third hole Saturday with a long eagle putt and enough birdies for a 2-under 69 at windy Trump National Bedminster and a three-shot lead over Dustin Johnson in the LIV Golf Invitational.

Two weeks ago, Stenson had just missed the cut in the British Open and was still the Ryder Cup captain for Europe. Now the 46-year-old Swede is 18 holes away from a $4 million prize, more than double the biggest check of his career.

“It was a bit of a grind at times, and then we kind of came through with some really good shots and made some nice putts,” Stenson said.

He was at 9-under 133, as only 13 players from the 48-man field remained under par.

“Overall, I’m pleased, and we’re at the races,” Stenson said.

Johnson has hit the ball consistently well for two days at Trump National and got enough putts to fall for a 69, leaving him three back and in the final group with Stenson.

Talor Gooch had the best round by three shots, a 64 that moved him into a tie for third at 5 under along with Patrick Reed (73) and Carlos Ortiz (70).

Reed started the second of three rounds tied with Stenson and was keeping pace until he began the back nine with three straight bogeys. He rallied with an eagle late in his round to remain in the mix going into Sunday.

With fast greens, the wind made it tougher to score. Only 14 players shot par or better.

Phil Mickelson was not on that list again. Mired in a slump since a self-imposed four-month layoff, Mickelson could only manage a 73 and was tied for 40th, 15 shots out of the lead.

Since his return, Mickelson has a 74.5 scoring average, including the US Open and British Open, with his lone score under par in the first LIV Golf event outside London.

Stenson is still new to this 54-hole event with a shotgun start, though good golf means he will be starting on the first hole for the second straight time on Sunday, a degree of normalcy for him. What hasn’t been normal is being criticized for pledging his support to Europe in March in becoming Ryder Cup captain, and then signing with Saudi-backed and Greg Norman-led LIV Golf four months later.

Europe has stripped him of is captaincy for the 2023 matches in Italy.

“It’s certainly been a busy and emotional week, no question, or 10 days,” Stenson said. “But I was very happy with how I managed to channel the concentration and go out and play the best round of the season yesterday. Like I said, I didn’t have my best stuff today, but I was still focused and good attitude, and that’s what kept me in the ballgame.”

The Swede hasn’t lost his dry humor. Asked if he had a chip on his shoulder, Stenson replied, “I don’t see any.”

Johnson, who had been No. 1 in the world longer than any player since Tiger Woods, was the biggest player to sign with LIV Golf two months ago as it was about to launch.

His last victory was in early 2021 at the Saudi International. He hasn’t won a PGA Tour-sanctioned tournament since the Masters in November 2020. He has finished eighth and fourth in his two LIV events, which was worth $1.9 million.

Johnson wasn’t aware when he finished on No. 1 that Stenson had made bogey on the par-5 18th to end his round, reducing the Swede’s margin to three shots.

“He’s definitely in reach for sure, especially around this course,” Johnson said.


Brazil-Argentina World Cup qualifier definitively canceled

Brazil-Argentina World Cup qualifier definitively canceled
Updated 11 sec ago

Brazil-Argentina World Cup qualifier definitively canceled

Brazil-Argentina World Cup qualifier definitively canceled
  • Even if the match were replayed, its result could not affect the outcome of qualifying, with Brazil topping the group and Argentina finishing second

RIO DE JANEIRO: Last year’s aborted World Cup qualifier between Brazil and Argentina will not be replayed, the two South American countries’ football associations said on Tuesday.

The original fixture, in September last year, was halted when Brazilian health officials stormed onto the pitch after seven minutes in Sao Paulo, alleging COVID-19 quarantine breaches by the visitors.

But with nothing riding on the match as both countries have already qualified for the World Cup, which begins in Qatar on Nov. 20, they had pleaded with world football’s governing body FIFA to cancel the match definitively.

“The Brazil-Argentina match will not be played,” the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) and Argentine Football Association (AFA) said in a joint statement.

“AFA, CBF and FIFA have resolved the dispute at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).”

Both countries argued that playing the match as scheduled on Sept. 22 would adversely affect their World Cup preparations.

FIFA ruled in February that the game must be replayed and in May it rejected an appeal by both federations to have the match canceled, while also hitting them with fines worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The two federations then took their case to CAS, which was due to rule this month.

Both countries qualified for the World Cup with several matches to spare in the single South American qualifying group.

Even if the match were replayed, its result could not affect the outcome of qualifying, with Brazil topping the group and Argentina finishing second.

Brazil have won the World Cup a record five times while reigning Copa America holders Argentina are twice champions.


Serena Williams gets door from Raducanu in Cincinnati opener

Serena Williams gets door from Raducanu in Cincinnati opener
Updated 17 August 2022

Serena Williams gets door from Raducanu in Cincinnati opener

Serena Williams gets door from Raducanu in Cincinnati opener
  • Raducanu broke Williams at the start of both sets to claim victory in what was her first and likely last meeting with the 23-time Grand Slam singles champion

CINCINNATI: Serena Williams bowed out of the WTA/ATP Cincinnati Masters at the first hurdle on Tuesday, losing in straight sets to US Open champion Emma Raducanu as the end of her glittering career looms ever closer.

Williams, who last week indicated that she is planning to retire after this month’s US Open, was no match for British teenager Raducanu, who romped to a 6-4, 6-0 win.

The 40-year-old Williams left the court swiftly after the defeat without speaking to television reporters and did not hold a press conference.

Raducanu broke Williams at the start of both sets to claim victory in what was her first and likely last meeting with the 23-time Grand Slam singles champion.

“I was nervous from the first point to the last,” Raducanu said. “Serena is dangerous and can come back from any situation.

“I had to stay focused. I’m so pleased I managed to keep my composure.”

Williams, winner of titles here in 2014 and 2015, was competing in only her fourth match of 2022 after starting her season at Wimbledon due to injury.

Raducanu announced her intentions from the start with a break to love of Williams and never let up.

The young Briton improved to 14 wins, 17 defeats since winning the Open last September from a qualifying start.

Raducanu meanwhile said she was honored to be part of the spectacle on Tuesday in what was one of Williams’ final games as a professional.

“We all need to honor Serena and her amazing career,” she said. “I’m so grateful for the experience of playing her and for the fact that our careers have crossed.

“All she has achieved is inspirational. It’s a true honor to share the court with her.”

Raducanu never let Williams into the match.

The young Londoner seeded 10th took a 4-1 lead in the opening set and completely swept the second, advancing on her first match point, an unreturnable serve.

Raducanu committed a single unforced error in the opening set compared to a dozen for Williams.

Williams’ elder sister Venus took a 7-5, 6-1 loss earlier in the day, losing to 2016 champion Karolina Pliskova.

In the men’s draw of the joint event, Nick Kyrgios began the last major US Open tuneup with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

The Australian marched through with 29 winners — including 10 aces — and three breaks of the Spaniard’s serve to reach the second round.

The 28th-ranked Kyrgios has won all 11 of his first-round matches this season and won his 22nd match since returning to the ATP in June after skipping the clay season.

He now faces good friend Taylor Fritz after the American crushed Sebastian Baez 6-1, 6-1.

“Physically, I didn’t feel the best, but you have to keep pushing, keep trying,” Kyrgios said.

“Alejandro’s a hell of a player, he’s got a lot of shots at his disposal. I had to serve well and dictate,” the Montreal quarter-finalist added. “It was tricky conditions out there, the courts are a lot more lively than Montreal, it was harder to control the ball.”

It marked a happy return to Cincinnati for Kyrgios, who was fined a record $113,000 during a spectacular meltdown at the tournament in 2019

“I’ve played some amazing tennis here and had some crazy outbursts,” he said. “It’s a flip of the coin as to which Kyrgios shows up here.”

Elsewhere, Spanish third seed Carlos Alcaraz advanced in his tournament debut, defeating American Mackenzie McDonald 6-3, 6-2.

Italian 10th seed Jannik Sinner celebrated his 21st birthday by beating Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-7 (9/11), 6-4, 7-6 (8/6).


Dutch debut for Vuelta a Espana as Roglic targets fourth title

Dutch debut for Vuelta a Espana as Roglic targets fourth title
Updated 17 August 2022

Dutch debut for Vuelta a Espana as Roglic targets fourth title

Dutch debut for Vuelta a Espana as Roglic targets fourth title
  • The flat Dutch terrain means stages two and three are likely to culminate in mass sprints, so Jumbo’s best chance on home soil is the opening day team race

UTRECHT: Cycling’s Vuelta a Espana embarks Friday with defending champion Primoz Roglic chasing an unprecedented fourth straight victory over a mountainous 3,280km route that begins, however, on the flatlands of the Netherlands.

After the Giro d’Italia started in Budapest and the Tour de France in Copenhagen, both to rousing support from roadside fans, the final grand tour of the season begins its 21-day odyssey with a 23km team time-trial around Utrecht.

It is home terrain for Slovenian Roglic’s Jumbo team. They are Dutch-based and include three Dutch riders in Sam Oomen, Robert Gesink and Mike Teunissen.

“We have a nice and balanced team at the start that can optimally support Primoz in all areas,” Jumbo director Merijn Zeeman said.

The flat Dutch terrain means stages two and three are likely to culminate in mass sprints, so Jumbo’s best chance on home soil is the opening day team race.

The 23 teams, which start with 184 riders, transfer to Spain on Monday, and start climbing at once with all six stages before the next rest day in medium or high mountains.

The race winds through the rugged terrain of the Basque Country and Asturias, where plenty of traveling Dutch fan are expected.

Stage five ends in Bilbao, near Frank Gehry’s landmark Guggenheim museum, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Stage eight and nine in Asturias offer climbers the chance to gain serious time.

After a second rest day, the race swoops south where the kind of sizzling temperatures that effected the Tour de France could play a roll.

An individual time-trial on stage 10 should provide a minor shake up while the cliff-perched city of Ronda hosts the start of stage 13.

A mountaintop finish, more than 2,500m high in the Andalusian Sierra Nevada may provide some drama on stage 15.

The race might only be settled on stage 20 with a series of climbs designed to produce a final showdown on the road toward Madrid.

Quick Step starlet Remco Evenepoel targets his first Grand Tour at 22 and was the bookies tip for triumph before Roglic was declared fit on Monday.

The rigours of a 21-day Tour will test Evenepoel, who has won several shorter tours, but he will be chaperoned by the world champion Julian Alaphilippe, as co-leader.

“He doesn’t start as a favorite, and we will just take it day by day,” said Quick Step sports director Klaas Lodewyck.

“It’s a whole new adventure for him,” Lodewyck said of the rider with 11 wins this season, including a resounding triumph at Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

Former Giro champion Richard Carapaz leads a youthful Ineos line up and, after a narrow miss at the Giro in May, the reigning Olympic champion cannot be ignored.

Ineos director Rod Ellingworth expects “an exciting edition of the Vuelta” with some “outstanding racing.” 

Powerful roller Dylan van Baarle and the climbers Pavel Sivakov and Tao Geoghegan Hart provide ample back up in an otherwise youthful Ineos lineup.

Giro champion Australia’s Jai Hindley and British climber Simon Yates both appear to have the credentials to target at least a podium shot.

But several of cycling’s hottest riders are missing with Egan Bernal, Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar all sitting out this Vuelta.


Elon Musk says he is buying Manchester United

Elon Musk says he is buying Manchester United
Updated 17 August 2022

Elon Musk says he is buying Manchester United

Elon Musk says he is buying Manchester United
  • Musk is currently trying to exit a $44 billion agreement to buy the social media company, which has taken him to court

LONDON: Elon Musk, the world’s richest person, on Tuesday tweeted that he was buying football club Manchester United Plc, without offering any details.

Musk has a history of being unconventional and making irreverent tweets, and it was not immediately clear whether he planned to pursue a deal to secure Manchester United.

“I’m buying Manchester United ur welcome,” Musk said in a tweet. The team is controlled by the American Glazer family. Neither the family nor Musk immediately responded to a request for comment.

British newspaper The Daily Mirror reported last year that the Glazers were prepared to sell the club but only if they were offered in excess of £4 billion.($4.84 billion)

Musk is currently trying to exit a $44 billion agreement to buy the social media company, which has taken him to court.

Manchester United is one of the world’s best supported football clubs. They have been champions of England a record 20 times and have won the European Cup, the most prestigious club competition in the global game, three times.

Dissatisfaction among fans at the Glazers’ perceived lack of ambition to bring in top players intensified after the club finished sixth in the English Premier League last season, while crosstown rivals Manchester City won a second successive title.

The football club had a market capitalization of $2.08 billion, as of Tuesday’s stock market close.

Manchester United fans have in recent years protested against the Glazers, who bought the club for 790 million pounds ($955.51 million) in 2005, due to the team’s struggles on the pitch.

The anti-Glazer movement gained momentum last year after United were involved in a failed attempt to form a breakaway European Super League.

Some fans have urged Musk to buy Manchester United instead of buying Twitter.

Musk has a history of unconventional actions and comments, making it difficult sometimes to tell when he is joking.

His ambitions range from colonizing Mars to creating a new sustainable energy economy, and in the process he has built the most valuable car company in the world, electric vehicle maker Tesla, rocket company SpaceX, and a slew of smaller firms. One is a tunnel maker called the Boring Company.

Musk has appeared to smoke marijuana in a podcast and fought US regulators over his comments about his plans for Tesla, including an abandoned effort to take it private.

Forbes estimates his fortune at $270 billion. 


Jacobs storms to Euro 100m crown as Ingebrigtsen and Perkovic shine

Jacobs storms to Euro 100m crown as Ingebrigtsen and Perkovic shine
Updated 17 August 2022

Jacobs storms to Euro 100m crown as Ingebrigtsen and Perkovic shine

Jacobs storms to Euro 100m crown as Ingebrigtsen and Perkovic shine
  • In a heady night of track and field at a packed Olympic Stadium, the raucous crowd went wild as unheralded home favorite Gina Lueckenkemper pulled off a shock by winning the women’s blue riband sprint
  • There was also drama in the decathlon as Germany’s Niklas Kaul snatched gold from Swiss rival Simon Ehammer on the back of a monstrous 76.05m in the javelin and a personal best of 4:10.04 in the strength-sapping final 1500m

MUNICH: Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs put an injury-ravaged season behind him to storm to gold in the 100m gold in the European Athletics Championships in Munich on Tuesday.

Jacobs, who was world indoor 60m champion in Belgrade in March, but withdrew before the semifinals of the 100m at last month’s world championships in Oregon, clocked a championship record-equalling time of 9.95 seconds.

Defending champion Zharnel Hughes claimed silver in 9.99sec with another Briton, Jeremiah Azu, taking bronze in 10.13.

“This was a difficult season with problems, with injury,” said the 27-year-old Italian, who has been beset by leg injuries and who competed with a heavily-strapped left calf in Munich.

“My leg is not good and I am not happy about how the race went technically, there were some problems.

“But I am over the moon with the gold medal. After Olympic gold, I’ve now got the European gold. I’ve got to get the world championship gold now.”

In a heady night of track and field at a packed Olympic Stadium, the raucous crowd went wild as unheralded home favorite Gina Lueckenkemper pulled off a shock by winning the women’s blue riband sprint.

The 25-year-old, who won 100m silver in the last European champs in Berlin in 2018 and 200m bronze in 2016, threw herself at the line to clock 10.99sec for a photo-finish victory over Switzerland’s Mujinga Kambundji.

Britain’s Daryll Neita took bronze with 11.00sec, while her teammate, defending champion Dina Asher-Smith, pulled up with injury halfway through the race and finished last.

A trio of proven performers had earlier showed off their prowess in perfect, balmy conditions, retaining their titles in no little style. 

Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen celebrates winning the men’s 5000m final during the European Athletics Championships at the Olympic Stadium in Munich. (AFP)

First up was Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen, who dominated the 5,000m to keep a repeat double bid on track.

The 21-year-old, crowned world champion over the distance at last month’s worlds in Eugene, timed 13min 21.13sec.

“I believe in myself and I believe in the things I have done before. It was amazing here today, it was a great race to be a part of,” said Ingebrigtsen.

“It feels great to be back and win, it is special.”

Greece’s defending long jump champion Miltiadis Tentoglou, the reigning Olympic and world indoor champion who won world silver in Eugene, then set a championship record to retain his Euro title.

The Greek soared out to 8.52m on his fourth attempt, bettering the previous best of 8.47m set by Germany’s Christian Reif in Barcelona in 2010. 

Croatia’s Sandra Perkovic during the women’s discus throw final at the European Athletics Championships. (AFP)

Then came the turn of the doyenne of the women’s discus, Croatia’s Sandra Perkovic.

The 32-year-old Croat left it late, going out to a winning 67.95 meters on her fifth attempt for gold.

It was a record sixth successive European title, the two-time Olympic and world champion having first won the continental competition in Barcelona in 2010.

“I just won my sixth European title here at this beautiful stadium in front of this amazing crowds, so I am so happy and proud tonight,” said Perkovic.

“I knew I was ready to do it and I think the fight was nice.”

There was also drama in the decathlon as Germany’s Niklas Kaul snatched gold from Swiss rival Simon Ehammer on the back of a monstrous 76.05m in the javelin and a personal best of 4:10.04 in the strength-sapping final 1500m.

After also registering 11.16sec in the 100m, 7.10m in the long jump, 14.90m in the shot put, 2.02m in the high jump, 47.87sec in the 400m, 14.45sec in the 110m hurdles and 41.80m in the discus, Kaul was left with 8,545 points.

Ehammer had to be happy with silver, just 77pts behind, while Estonia’s Janek Oiglane claimed bronze (8,346).