Category Archives: Golf

Weekend Roundup

Last weekend saw some classic sport on your screens, but did you miss some of it.

Lightening struck twice in the football league this season as Watford scored 18 seconds after their keeper had saved a penalty to put them into the playoff final, a repeat of the Brentford V Doncaster Rovers game which saw Rovers claim the title.

Manager Gianfranco Zola celebrated on the pitch with his stars and they will now face either Brighton and Hove Albion or Crystal Palace in the richest game in football.

Outside of football, Fernando Alonso won his home Grand Prix in Spain as Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg (who started on pole) and Lewis Hamilton (second on the grid)  were unable to cope with their tyre wear.

Leroy Cudjoe produced a fantastic performance as Huddersfield Giants defeat Leeds Rhinos 24-8 in the Tetley’s Challenge Cup, with the England centre scoring two tries.

Elsewhere Wigan Warriors’ star Sam Tomkins scored four tries as they beat Hull Kr 46-14 and holders Warrington Wolves won 52-6 against Salford City Reds.

Rafael Nadal won the Madrid Open as his dominance on clay continues and Serena Williams claimed her 50th career singles title beating Maria Sharapova.

Leicester Tigers and Northampton Saints beat Harlequins and Saracens respectively as they set up the Aviva Premiership final, with the Tigers looking to take another title.

In America, Tiger Woods claimed his second Players Championship title beating Sergio Garcia after the Spaniard found water on the par three 17th.

For more information about this weeks sport, look out for our preview later in this week.

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Hole In One – The Masters is Here – By Sam Duffy

The year’s first golfing major begins today at Augusta National Golf Course.

After all of the early season jostling for position, the best players from all around the world role into Georgia hoping to come away on Sunday night with the covered green jacket.

This year’s Masters is shaping up to be one of the most anticipated battles Augusta has ever seen, with the new world number one Tiger Woods back in red-hot form and the growing British challenge from Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Lee Westwood who are all hoping to end the 17-year wait for a British winner at Augusta, since Sir Nick Faldo in 1996.

A player who is tipped to go very close again this year is American Matt Kuchar. After such a positive showing last year, finishing tied for third; much is expected of Kuchar to win his first major in similar fashion to last year’s winner Bubba Watson.

Being straight off the tee around Augusta is imperative, so if Kuchar can keep his driving in order, he surely has a great chance of being the man to wear the green jacket on Sunday evening.

With regards to a European challenge, the best hope could lie once again with Rory McIlory. The Northern Irishman looks like he might have found his form at the right time, with a second place finish at last week’s Texas Open behind Martin Laird.

We all remember the unbelievable first three rounds he produced back in 2011, but the infamous final round collapse cost him what would have been his first major title. It looks like it could be a straight shoot-out between McIlory and Woods come Sunday afternoon, but can McIlory hold his nerve?

A player who most likely won’t trouble the leaderboards this week is China’s Tianlang Guan. But at just fourteen years old, he becomes the youngest ever player to grace Augusta’s famous grounds.

After winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championships, he has defiantly earned the right to be at Augusta; with Rory McIlory even saying that Guan could play at the Masters for the next sixty years. Truly unbelievable.

Certainly a name to look out during this week’s action.

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Hole in One – Gallagher holds off Sterne – By Sam Duffy

Steven Gallagher held of a spirited fight back from South African Richard Sterne to seal his first win on the European Tour in nine years.

The winning margin of three may look quite comfortable, but this was not the case as Gallagher’s tremendous iron play resulted in five eagles during the week.

None was more spectacular than at the 16th hole where he holed out from over 100 yards.

Both Gallagher and Sterne lead the way from the first tee, with Sterne shooting a career-best round 62 on Thursday.

The South African was still in front at the half way point, but then Gallagher matched the round of the week with a 62 of his own as they moved further clear away from the rest of the field.

Despite an up and down final round which included a penalty drop, a couple of bogies and an eagle, Gallagher was delighted with his victory.

He told Sky Sports: “I’m looking to build on this for the rest of the season now. My goal is to try and produce good golf to make the Ryder Cup in 2014.”

Positives can still be taken for Sterne, who has not featured much in the last two years due to injury, as he follows the South African crusade led by Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel.

The South African theme continues to run through the European Tour, with the players heading to the Joburg Open where local favourite Branden Grace will be hoping to defend his title.

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Hole In One – Wood you believe it, Chris bags maiden victory – By Sam Duffy

Englishman Chris Wood broke his duck last week and won his first European Tour event at the Qatar Masters in Doha. After finishing on eighteen under par, Wood professionally saw off a strong field, finishing above Sergio Garcia and George Coetzee.

Since bursting onto the scene at the 2008 British Open, after finishing fifth, much has been expected of Wood. However, after a slow start to his professional career he has finally fulfilled his potential by becoming the fifth different winner on the European Tour this season.

Wood’s stunning round-of-the-week 64 in the third round was the difference in the end between himself and the chasing pack. Straight driving and a steady hand on the putter right from the first tee set the tone for the rest of the weekend.

Another bright spot to come out of Doha was the improving form of runner-up Sergio Garcia who finished one off the lead. Aside from the Ryder Cup, Garcia has only recorded one top-ten finish since July last year and this good start to the year could be a platform for him to finally bag that elusive major title.

A player who has started 2013 extremely well is Thongchai Jaidee who has recorded his third top-ten finish in three tournaments and is certainly a name to look out for during the rest of the season.

The European Tour heads back to Dubai on Thursday for the Dubai Desert Classic, with previous winners including Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and last year’s champion Rafa Cabrera-Bello all looking to win back their crown in Dubai.

 

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Hole in One – Donaldson claims Abu Dhabi Title – By Sam Duffy

Welshman Jamie Donaldson held his nerve in a tense final round to see off the challenge from world number four Justin Rose to win the Abu Dhabi Golf Championships.

Donaldson finished on fourteen under par also one clear of Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark.

Abu Dhabi is a happy hunting ground for Donaldson, who finished in the top ten in the last event held in the UAE and also his previous best finish in this event (11th) in 2011.

Despite trailing by two shots going into the final round, he managed to clinch victory from the chasing pack to become a multiple European Tour champion after his Irish Open success last year.

After such a strong start to the year from the South African players, with both Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen being victorious already this season – rising star Brandon Grace shot the round of the weekend on Sunday.

A stunning 65 projected him to fifth in the leader-board and added to the heat that was on Donaldson at the top but it was too little too late.

Other names that impressed in the heat were Ricardo Santos who finished fourth, returning tour player David Howell and Dutchman Joost Luiten who are all players who could have bright seasons as they progress nicely up the Race to the Dubai standings.

So as the sun sets of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championships, we now head to Qatar where defending champion Paul Lawrie is looking to build on his Ryder Cup success and kick off his season with a victory.

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Hole In One – Oosthuizen Opens Season with Win – By Sam Duffy

Louis Oosthuizen has started 2013 where he left off in 2012, with a dramatic one-shot victory at The Volvo Golf Championships in Durban.

The South African saw off the challenge of Scotsman Scott Jamieson as the world number six finished on sixteen under par, one better than the Scot. One shot further back was Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee.

However, it was all not plain sailing for Oosthuizen as he was trailing by five shots going into the last round. Despite this though, he held his nerve and saw off the rest of the field with a final round 66.

Jamieson held the commanding lead after the third round and looked odds on to clinch his second victory on the European Tour within the last six months, after victory in the same city in the Nelson Mandela Championships.

Even after losing his lead, with just the par four eighteenth to play, Jamieson was two shots behind local favourite Oosthuizen.

Victory looked even bleaker after he smashed his drive off the tee into the trees, but then, a stunning second pitched on the front edge of the green before missing the hole by an inch, handing the victory to an overjoyed Oosthuizen.

Other players that showed promise through the week included fourth place Padraig Harrington, Englishman Paul Casey and Ryder Cup hero Francesco Molinari.

Also in the field were potential Ryder Cup captains Thomas Bjorn and Colin Montgomerie and winning captain Jose Maria Olazabel who will be enjoying a more relaxed start to the year unlike the pressures of the last twelve months.

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Jimenez Breaks Leg

Miguel Angel Jimenez faces a five month layoff from golf after the Spaniard broke his leg in a ski fall last Saturday.

The oldest ever winner on the European Tour was skiing in Andalucia when the freak accident occurred.

Unfortunately for one of the most loved characters on the course, he could well miss the Masters in April.

On the accident, he said: “I broke the top of the tibia in my right leg, just where it meets the knee, and they put in two pins.

“It will take three, four or five months to recover and be able to return to competition. I was playing very well but these things happen in life.”

Jimenez had been skiing for a while and admits that he knew the dangers when he took up the sport.

“When I took up skiing I knew the risks that I was taking but I love it so much I could not stop,” he said.

It is unfortunate for the Tour professional as 2013 had looked to be one of greater success.

More information on the injury and his rehabilitation will be available on the BBC Sport and European Tour websites in the coming months.

 

 

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Sports Personality of the Year Shortlist

This years Sports personality of the year is one of the most eagerly anticipated ever.

After an amazing 2012, the following 12 stars have made the shortlist for this years award:

Bradley Wiggins – Tour De France winner and also Olympic time trial gold medalist. Recently broke a few ribs on a bike ride in training but 2012 was a great year for the team sky rider.

Ben Ainslie – Olympic Gold medalist for the fourth time in the sailing, and flag bearer at the London 2012 closing ceremony.

Ellie Simmonds – Won even more Olympic golds as she cemented herself as GB’s queen in the pool. at only 17 years of age, the best could sill be yet to come for Simmonds

Jessica Ennis – Olympic heptathlon gold medalist, as well as breaking the world record in Gotzis earlier in the year.

Sir Chris Hoy – Six time Olympic gold medalist with his gold at the Olympics. Looking to become a second time winner of the trophy.

Rory McIlory – World number One, money leader on both the PGA and European tours and a major winner.

Nicola Adams- The first ever female Olympic Boxing champion, an iconic moment for British female sport.

David Wier – Winner of four gold medals at the Paralympic games, and has a dominance in the sport unrivaled by anyone else in any other sport right now.

Mo Farah – Double Olympic champion in the 5000m and 10,000m with some of the greatest ever moments in Olympic history.

Andy Murray – Finally ended that long wait for a British grand slam winner, as well as taking a gold medal at London and a silver in the mixed doubles

Sarah Storey – 11th gold medal at the London Paralympics made her the most decorated British Olympian ever.

Katherine Grainger – Finally won that rowing gold medal that had eluded her so far, after a moments last Olympic cycle.

The 12 nominations above have all had amazing 2012’s and the winner this year will fully deserve the prize.

Sports Personality of the year will take place on December 16th at the Excel centre in London, live from 7.30pm

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Weekend Roundup

This weekend saw some epic sporting moments, with tales of woe, success and heartache twinned with controversy and foul play.

In the Premier League, their were shocks a plenty as former assistant at Chelsea, Steve Clarke, took on his former employers and beat them 2-1. it was a victory that took his West Brom side up to fourth, one point behind the European Champions.

Elsewhere, Norwich City kept their third clean sheet in four to take victory at home against Manchester United. It was the first time since the 2-0 victory back in 2005, that the Canaries had defeated the Red Devils.

The North London derby finished 5-2 to Arsenal once more after former Gunner Emmanuel Adebayor scored and was then sent off for a reckless tackle on Santi Carzola.

Man City took advantage of the other big boys losing and returned to the top of the table after beating Aston Villa 5-0. The scoreline did not tell the story as Joe Hart made some brilliant saves and two penalties cost the midlands side.

The other scores in the Premier League were: Liverpool 3-0 Wigan, Newcastle 1-2 Swansea, QPR 1-3 Southampton, Reading 2-1 Everton.

In rugby union, it was a poor weekend for the home nations as Wales lost heavily to Samoa, England could not add to their victory against Fiji previously and went down to a below strength Australia outfit and Scotland lost an entertaining battle to the South Africans.

Ireland did put some credibility on the weekend for the home sides, winning 53-0 against Fiji, as their coach Declan Kidney tried out some of his younger players.

Alistair Cook continued his great batting form as England tried to salvage anything from the first test. The England captain remains at the crease on 168 not out and in the process became the first England captain to score three test 100’s in their first three games as skipper.

He is joined at the crease by Matt Prior who himself has been great with the bat too. The final day is tomorrow and England currently lead by 10 runs after been forced to take the follow on by India.

In Boxing, Carl Froch defeated Yusaf Mack with a third round count as he continued to develop into one of the best boxers of all time.

The fight in Nottingham started well for Froch, who burst out in the first two rounds and then professionally took out his opponent in the third.

After the fight, Froch admitted he now wants to have a rematch with either Mikkel Kessler or Andre Ward.

Elsewhere, Sebastian Vettel took pole for tonight’s Austin Grand Prix, as he looks to wrap up a third straight drivers tittle. Fernando Alonso will start eighth on the grid after a poor qualifying display.

Luke Donald claimed another title this morning as he won Dunlop Phoenix tournament in Japan as as a result moves ahead of Tiger Woods and into second in the world rankings.

Still in golf and Miguel Angel Jimenez became the oldest winner of a European Tour event, aged 48 and 318 days, as he took victory in the Hong Kong open.

The World Track cycling is currently going on as Britain try to replace Victoria Pendleton after she retired from the sport. Jess Varnish and Becky James are however doing a good job as they took silver and bronze respectively.

You can catch more sports action in the week in our regular features such as Game On, Puck Plays and It’snowheaven or catch up with anything else by checking out the archives.

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McIlroy Misses Cut

Rory McIlroy missed his first cut since June as a second round of 72 was not enough at the Hong Kong Open.

The world number one, and double tour money list winner for 2012, was out of sorts towards the end of his round, finishing the final seven holes with four bogeys and a double bogey.

The defending champion had looked good over the front nine with four birdies and was in good shape at the turn to make a charge that has become as famous as Tiger Wood’s third day charge in the majors.

But from there on it all unraveled and the Irishman looked like an amateur player rather than the best in the world. His closing four putt final hole summed up his day, as the putter let him down repeatedly.

McIlroy will however have the chance to turn it around and end his season on a high as he lines up on the tee at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship next week.

The Hong Kong Open is currently led by former US Open winner Michael Campbell on nine under after the New Zealand golfer fired a second round 64.

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