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Federer: Tennis taking proactive approach to address fixing

JUSTIN BERGMAN, Associated Press br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — At last year's Australian Open, the players were caught by surprise when a report was published on the eve of the season-opening Grand Slam alleging widespread match-fixing in the sport. Every news conference felt like an ambush, a peppering of pointed questions about corruption. This year, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and other stars of the game seem better prepared. They've got their talking points ready — and they can even have a sense of humor about the subject. 'I thought we were going to finish on a good one,' Federer quipped when a match-fixing question was asked at the very end of his pre-tournament news conference on Saturday. Then he smiled. It most likely won't be the last he'll ever be asked, either. Last season's tournament began beneath a cloud of suspicion after a report by BBC and BuzzFeed alleged that tennis authorities had overlooked suspected cases of match-fixing involving some top players, none of whom were named. Federer, in response, called the situation 'super serious' and argued that anyone who engages in match-fixing should be identified publicly. In the past year, this is what tennis authorities have tried to do. Nine players and officials were sanctioned by the Tennis Integrity Unit in 2016 — the most in a single year since the body was created in 2008. In the first two weeks of this year, six more were added to the list. All of them were lower-ranked players who played primarily on the lower-tier Challenger and Futures tours, considered the most at-risk for match-fixing because of the smaller purses and lack of scrutiny compared with larger ATP and WTA events. Federer said this is where tennis officials need to be focusing their efforts. 'Clearly we have no space for that kind of behavior in our sport,' he said, adding that efforts to combat corruption have had positive spinoffs. 'The good thing is that it's really only zero-point-something percent of players that actually have done something over the course of so many matches and so many players. I think we've done actually OK.' To be exact, the TIU said that only 292 matches generated suspicious betting alerts out of more than 114,000 played last year, or about 0.2 percent. Betting alerts, on their own, are also not conclusive proof that a match has been fixed. Federer also applauded the TIU's decision to name an independent review panel to examine its operations and recommend changes. The report is due later this year. 'That's going to change the sport for the better,' he said. Djokovic also said the problem seems to be confined to the lower-tier tours, taking a subtle shot at the media for making 'a great deal about it' when a case arises. But he, too, stressed that progress has been made and he believes the sport is cleaner than it was 12 months ago. 'Ideally, we don't want to see any kind of match-fixing occurrences,' he said. 'But, unfortunately, they do occur from time to time. 'We haven't experienced too many. Generally looking I think ATP and all the authorities are doing a good job in kind of tracking down those kind of potential match-fixing matches.' .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 14th, 2017Related News

Tennis stars look forward to start of Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Two days before the Australian Open begins, a stream of top players fronted news conferences Saturday to talk about their chances in the first Grand Slam tournament of the year. Here are excerpts of what they said: ___ — Novak Djokovic handed out dairy free, gluten free healthy sweets at the end of his opening news conference, something of a tradition of his at the Australian Open. Here's Djokovic on his confidence at the Australian Open, where he's won six of his 12 major titles: 'Nobody is invincible. I never thought of myself as a superior player on the court, even though, of course, at times, I was very confident. I was winning a lot of matches. But knowing how it feels on the court if you get overconfident, that's why I don't want to get into that kind of state of mind. I still want to put myself in a position where I'm quite even to other players, fight for this trophy as anybody else, even though I'm defending champion.' ___ — Serena Williams on her first-round match against Belinda Bencic, a former top-10 player: 'I didn't come here to lose in the first round, or the second round, or at all. If I can play the way I've been practicing, it will be fine. I know she's been playing well, so it will be good for both of us.' — Serena Williams on her recent engagement to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian: 'It's almost a little unreal right now because I haven't taken it in. I'm being rather selfish and focused on my career.' ___ — Belinda Bencic on how she first discovered she'd be opening against Williams, against whom she has a 1-1 record: 'My Twitter was blowing up. I was like, 'What's going on?' That's when I saw it. My first reaction was actually really happy. I think I'm super pumped, excited I get to play on the big court.' ___ — Roger Federer on his physical readiness to play 5-set matches at a slam again after his lengthy injury layoff: 'I guess it's slightly the unknown. I trained as hard as I possibly could, so I will be ready for it. I did numerous sessions where I trained over 2 ½, three hours. I feel I'm ready.' ___ — Andy Murray on how hard he'll have to work to retain the No. 1 ranking he took from Djokovic at the end of 2016: 'I do think it is a mindset thing, because I think it could be quite easy that once you get to No. 1 that you think, 'Well, actually, I just need to keep doing what I'm doing.' The reality is, in sport, that things obviously keep moving on, the game will get better. I'll obviously get older, the young guys will continue to improve, and also Novak (Djokovic) and Roger (Federer) and Stan (Wawrinka) and Rafa (Nadal) and all the guys at the top are still going to be wanting to get there. ... I need to continue to improve. I for sure need to keep working hard.' ___ — Kei Nishikori on whether he can break through and win his first Grand Slam title: 'I hope I can get a Grand Slam title sometime. But I haven't got a big title yet, even the Masters tournaments. That's something I need for my confidence and experience. Yeah, my goal this year is to win a big tournament.' ___ — Milos Raonic on hiring former Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek as his coach in the off-season: 'It's really to help me be more efficient going forward. I believe you have these two guys (Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic) that are phenomenal right now at the top of the game covering the baseline. It's really hard to get by them, especially with the way they move. I can't expect to move like they do. I've got to be at least 20, 25 pounds heavier than them. It's going to be about moving forward.' .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 14th, 2017Related News

Thomas sets 36-hole record and leads by 5

DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer br /> HONOLULU (AP) — Justin Thomas finished with another eagle and put himself in the PGA Tour record book again Friday in the Sony Open. One day after his 59 made him only the seventh player in PGA Tour history break 60, Thomas made an 8-foot eagle putt on the 18th hole at Waialae for a 6-under 64 to set the 36-hole scoring record on the PGA Tour. Thomas was at 17-under 123 and had a five-shot lead over Gary Woodland. The previous mark was 124, last matched at the 2015 BMW Championship by Jason Day at Conway Farm. 'It's cool,' Thomas said. 'Just like yesterday, anytime you can get your name in the record book, it's awesome. I had no idea until I finished.' Thomas started slowly, not picking up his first birdie until the fifth hole. Irritation from a three-putt bogey on the eighth hole got him going, and Thomas ran off four straight birdies around the turn. From there, no one got closer than four shots on another ideal day for scoring off the shore just up the road from Waikiki Beach. Woodland made a 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole for his second straight 64. Woodland and Thomas as part of the final group could be a real power show — Woodland is regarded as one of the premier power players in golf, though he has been far more reserved off the tee, despite being tempted to hit driver. 'I did that my first couple times here and that didn't work out for me,' he said. 'I'm very comfortable with where my game is. Driver feels great, I just don't get many opportunities out there. I'm not complaining about being in the fairway, either.' Thomas wasn't bashful. He smashed a 355-yard drive down the 12th fairway that set up a flip wedge to 12 feet for his fourth straight birdie. He also took an unusual line on the 14th, hammering a high drive over the trees and bunker down the left side and back into the fairway, leaving him 70 yards to the green on the 430-yard hole. He pitched that up to just under 5 feet and missed the putt, one of the few he failed to convert. Zach Johnson had a 61 and Olympic gold medalist Justin Rose shot 64. They were in the group seven shots behind along with Hudson Swafford, who opened with a 62 but could only manage a 68. Jordan Spieth felt empty after rounds of 65-67, partially because he was nine shots behind and primarily because he had as many chances as Thomas over the last two days. Only one of them has been converting putt after putt. 'Just has a really cold putter this week,' Spieth said. 'I think it added to the frustration on the green, because the game is looking so easy to him. I felt like I was hitting the ball in the same location, I'm just being outdone on the green. That's something a little abnormal to me.' That made Thomas, his best friend in golf for the last 10 years, chuckle. 'Now he knows how a lot of people feel,' Thomas said. Thomas never made it to the North Shore on Thursday after his 59, though he was happy to have missed out on Spieth and Smylie Kaufman's ocean adventure that included a capsized kayak. He approached the next day like any other, trying to hit good shots, get birdie chances and expand his lead. He ticked every box, even picking up a record he knew nothing about. Thomas rolled in a 12-foot birdie from the collar left of the 15th green, only to give the shot back with a tee shot he pulled into the bunker. From the left rough, with the sun in his face, he belted it out and onto the green for another closing eagle. Coming off a three-shot victory last week at Kapalua, he is in prime position to join Ernie Els in 2003 as the only players to sweep Hawaii. 'He's not stopping, as we can see,' Spieth said. 'Someone has to go out and chase him.' Rose was one shot out of the lead when he finished — Thomas had yet to tee off — and was hopeful of staying in range. Rose knows from experience that starting strong and holding it together for four rounds isn't easy. He shot 60 in the first round at Disney in 2006, stretched his lead early in the second round and by the end of the week was five shots behind the winner. 'You definitely need the mindset when you're that far ahead to keep the accelerator down,' Rose said. 'But it's hard to keep that sort of momentum going, for sure.' .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 14th, 2017Related News

'Selfish' Serena says engagement hasn't sunk in

'Selfish' Serena says engagement hasn't sunk in.....»»

Source: Rappler RapplerCategory: NewsJan 14th, 2017Related News

Rose, Johnson try to make up ground on Thomas

 DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer HONOLULU (AP) — Olympic gold medalist Justin Rose and Zach Johnson did their parts to stay in the game Friday at the Sony Open. Then it was up to Justin Thomas. Johnson birdied his last three holes for a 9-under 61, and Rose shot a 64. They joined Hudson Swafford (68) at 10-under 130. That allowed them to get within one shot of Thomas, who played Friday afternoon after opening with a 59. br /> 'Today was an important round to keep pace with them and obviously Justin Thomas, I also anticipate him playing well,' Rose said. 'It's about consistently playing well the whole week and waiting for your hot round.' br /> The conditions were so pure again — fast fairway, soft green and barely enough wind to blow a palm frond — that Rose isn't sure his 64 will be his best this week.' br /> Johnson, who has posted a 60 at the Tour Championship and at the Texas Open, holed a bunker shot for eagle on the par-5 18th as he made the turn, and he closed with a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 7, a birdie from 6 feet on No. 8 and a two-putt birdie from 30 feet on the par-5 ninth. br /> 'There wasn't any major stress,' Johnson said. br /> Swafford, who opened with a 62, could only manage a 68. br /> Webb Simpson (65) and Charles Howell III (66) were among those at 9-under 131, while the group at 132 included former Navy lieutenant Billy Hurley III (68) and Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines, who had his best year in 2016 on the Asian Tour. br /> Thomas posted the eighth sub-60 round in PGA Tour history on Thursday with a 15-foot eagle putt on the final hole. The only other player to shoot 59 in the first round was Paul Goydos in the 2010 John Deere Classic. He finished second that week to Steve Stricker, who opened with a 60. br /> Rose knows the feeling of a hot start. br /> Just over 10 years ago, he flirted with a 59 on the Palm course at Disney and settled for a 60. He was just as good the next day, but only for a short time, and had to settle for a 67. On the weekend, rounds of 72-69 left him in fourth place, five shots behind the winner, Joe Durant. br /> The message from that: It's a long week. br /> 'I think I started strong the second day ... and then yeah, stalled a bit,' Rose said. 'The rest of the field is going to keep making birdies, especially when they're playing free with nothing to lose when you are up ahead of them. You definitely need the mindset when you're that far ahead to keep the accelerator down. But it's hard to keep that sort of momentum going, for sure.' br />   .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 13th, 2017Related News

Thomas will take his 59, and a trophy would be a bonus

div>DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer /div> div>  /div> div>HONOLULU (AP) — Two islands, two big moments to celebrate, and Justin Thomas had to think about which meant more to him. /div> div>  /div> div>He won at Kapalua, but that won't put him in the record book. Winning a PGA Tour event happens 47 weeks out of the year. /div> div>  /div> div>And then on Thursday in the Sony Open, he made a 15-foot eagle putt on the final hole to shoot 59 . That gets him in the record book with the eighth sub-60 round in PGA Tour history. But he still hasn't won the tournament. /div> div>  /div> div>That won't be decided for three more rounds, and history is not necessarily on his side. Of the previous seven sub-60 rounds, only three players wound up winning — Al Geiberger at the Memphis Classic in 1977, David Duval at the Bob Hope Classic in 1999 and Stuart Appleby at the Greenbrier Classic in 2010. Duval and Appleby each shot 59 in the final round. /div> div>  /div> div>So which was the greater feat? Which brought more satisfaction? Winning a tournament or shooting 59? /div> div>  /div> div>'On paper, it would be today,' Thomas said. 'I have a chance to win a golf tournament every week. I don't have many chances to shoot 59.' /div> div>  /div> div>Oddly enough, only when he thought he had a chance did he start thinking he was out of chances at Waialae Country Club. /div> div>  /div> div>Golf's magic number — even though Jim Furyk holds the record with a 58 , any score that starts with 'fifty' is still magic — first crossed his mind when he two-putted for birdie on the par-5 18th to make the turn in 29. /div> div>  /div> div>'As well as I was driving it, I can go shoot 6 or 7 (under) on this side and really, really post history,' he said. /div> div>  /div> div>He birdied the next two holes. On the par-3 fourth, he hit 7-iron to 5 feet for birdie. He was 9 under through 13. And then he started to think that maybe this wasn't going to be his day. Thomas missed a 10-foot birdie chance on No. 5 and still doesn't know how his 30-foot birdie attempt on the No. 7 didn't go in. /div> div>  /div> div>Spieth and Daniel Berger — all of them were born in 1993 and graduated high school in 2011 — were as much into this pursuit as Thomas, if not more. Spieth wrapped his hands around the back of his neck when Thomas didn't make the putt on No. 7. /div> div>  /div> div>'When those didn't go in, I was kind of saying to myself, 'Maybe this isn't meant to be.' I thought some of the things that happened earlier in the day, I was kind of curious if I was going to post a number or if it was just an unbelievable round,' Thomas said. /div> div>  /div> div>He made eight birdies and two eagles. Equally important — maybe even the key shot for him — was a 10-foot par save on the eighth hole. That kept him at 9 under going to the par-5 ninth, his final hole which is 506 yards and easily reachable with a good drive. /div> div>  /div> div>He thought he hit a good drive. It wasn't easy. Instead of clearing a fairway bunker down the left side, Thomas saw it hit top of the bunker. /div> div>  /div> div>'I saw some sand flying and I was ready to punch something,' Thomas said. 'I was pretty upset about that, because I felt like all chances right there were gone.' /div> div>  /div> div>That's when Berger saved the day. /div> div>  /div> div>Berger, who beat out Thomas for PGA Tour rookie of the year in 2015, also was in the bunker. Thomas already was planning to hit wedge out of the sand and take his chances from the fairway. At worst, he shoots 60 or 61. /div> div>  /div> div>But then Berger hit a 4-iron out of the bunker and onto the green. Thomas asked for a 5-iron. /div> div>  /div> div>'This isn't a time for me to lay it up,' he said. /div> div>  /div> div>From 207 yards, with as good a shot as he has hit, Thomas cleared the lip and hit it to 15 feet. Berger was just outside of him, so he got a good read — the putt broke to the right — and he poured it in. /div> div>  /div> div>Thomas joined Duval as the only players to break 60 with an eagle on the last hole. He joined Furyk as the only players to break 60 with a bogey. /div> div>  /div> div>He just wasn't sure what to make of it. This wasn't the stoic Duval fist-pumping his way around the green. Thomas held both arms to the side, and he punched the air with his right fist only after seeing Spieth and Berger celebrating far more than he was. /div> div>  /div> div>'I think I got more excited from seeing them get excited than I did my putt going in,' Thomas said. 'I thought about it going up to the green. I'm like, 'If I make it, what am I going to do?' It's not like winning a tournament. You have three days left to try to play well. So I didn't really know how to react. I never had a putt on the last hole on a Thursday mean that much.' /div> div>  /div> div>And that's where he was on Friday. Back to work. His name is in the record book, but not yet the trophy. /div> div>  /div> div>The only other player to shoot 59 in the opening round was Paul Goydos at the John Deere Classic in 2010. He was runner-up to Steve Stricker, who opened with a 60. /div> div>  /div> div>Thomas only had a three-shot lead over Hudson Swafford when the day ended. /div> div>  /div> div>No matter. It's already a great week. /div> div>  /div>.....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 13th, 2017Related News

Final hole eagle gives hot Thomas rare 59

HONOLULU – Staring over the top of a bunker on his final hole, the prudent play for Justin Thomas might have been to make sure he got out of the sand and avo.....»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: SportsJan 13th, 2017Related News

Island adventure for Jordan Spieth, Smylie Kaufman

DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer   HONOLULU (AP) — The fishing didn't quite work out for Jordan Spieth and Smylie Kaufman. The kayak wasn't much better. Not long after Spieth watched good friend Justin Thomas shoot 59 at the Sony Open, he decided to join Kaufman for an island adventure . It was all that. They abandoned plans to fish from the shore, especially when Kaufman's first cast landed a few feet in front of him. So they wandered out in a two-man kayak. Spieth put his phone in a plastic bag. Kaufman held onto his. They were surprised by a few waves, especially the one that broke on top of them and toppled the kayaks. As Kaufman tried to climb back into the kayak, another wave got them. 'Chasing a sea turtle 'crush' was a bad idea,' Kaufman tweeted. 'That's when our fishing trip took a turn for the worst. Lost the fishing poles but survived.' Moments later, Spieth saw a plastic bag floating on the water. It had enough air in it to float, and his phone was safe. Spieth thrust both arms in the air and celebrated as if he had just won a tournament. Kaufman wasn't so fortunate. By late afternoon, when the S.S. Minnow made it back to shore, Kaufman put his water-damaged phone in a bag of white rice. 'An old college trick,' Spieth said. Kaufman removed the phone, filled with replies to his Instagram, and they were blurred. Spieth pulled out his phone, and it was in good enough shape for him to watch video of their wobbly entry into the water, the kayak capsizing and Spieth finding his phone. Maybe the Texan had it right when he said last month about the Hawaii swing, 'Try and make it last as long as possible,' Spieth said. 'Because once you get off the islands, it's back to reality.' .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 13th, 2017Related News

Worth a mention: Williams aiming for record 23rd major title

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer   MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Serena Williams definitely doesn't want to talk about the No. 23. She doesn't really want to think about planning a wedding, either, while she's pursuing a Grand Slam record. Newly engaged Williams brushed off concerns about the 88 unforced errors she had in a loss in New Zealand last week in her only warmup tournament ahead of the Australian Open, which starts Monday and where she's aiming for Open-era record 23rd major title. 'I've moved on,' she said. 'I'm feeling relaxed, calm, ready and poised.' Williams responded to questions about milestone achievements last year when she had 21 Grand Slam titles, and it didn't help — she lost the final here to Angelique Kerber and to Garbine Muguruza at the French Open before winning Wimbledon to equal Steffi Graf's Open era mark of 22. She's being more superstitious this time. 'I'm not talking about that,' Williams, a six-time Australian Open winner, said as she shut down questions during a promotional activity this week. 'I said I'm not talking about that. Move on.' Another Australian title is also high on the agenda for Novak Djokovic, who already has won six. But he isn't thinking much beyond his opening match after drawing Fernando Verdasco. A first is the priority for Andy Murray, recently knighted in Britain after finishing 2016 at No. 1. He is looking at the draw from the top for the first time at a major and is hoping it comes with a change in fortunes at Melbourne Park. He has lost five Australian Open finals — the first to Roger Federer in 2010, the other four to Djokovic. Federer could again stand in his way, only at the quarterfinal stage this time. The 17-time major winner slipped down the rankings during six months off last year recovering from an injured left knee and was seeded No. 17. Williams took time off after the U.S. Open, where she lost in the semifinals for the second year running and lost the top ranking to Kerber. The big news during her break was her engagement to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian last month, when she posted a poem on the news website to confirm she'd accepted his proposal. After hitting this week with 16-year-old Destanee Aiava, who will be the first person born in the 2000s to play in the main draw of a major when she meets a qualifier in the first round, Williams said her mind was back entirely on business. 'I told (Ohanian) my main goal was to win this title,' she said. 'Yeah, it really doesn't feel like anything different.' No date has been set for the wedding, with Williams' mind on one major thing, so she's not thinking about a dress or a cake, and she's not wearing a ring to practice. 'Oh my God. I don't think about it really,' she said, responding to questions about her marriage plans. 'I'm just ... I don't know I'll have to ask him that. I have a job — I mean, he does too. I kinda gotta focus.' Kerber won the Australian and U.S. Open titles last year, so will be attempting to defend a major for the first time in Melbourne. She may be feeling pressure as the No. 1 seed, having won only one match in two warmup tournaments in Brisbane and Sydney. That doesn't take any pressure off Williams. 'I am No. 2, I guess. I definitely don't feel like anyone's saying that, 'Oh, there's no pressure on Serena,'' she said. 'It's always there, I'm used to it. 'I feel like I've been No. 1 for so long, so many times. I've done things that are amazing. Sometimes that ranking really means a lot, but also I feel like sometimes just winning events ... means just as much.' That's something Djokovic understands. His 122-week streak at No. 1 ended amid Murray's incredible finish to last season, when he won Wimbledon and defended the Olympic gold medal among eight titles he won after reuniting with Ivan Lendl as coach. Before then, Djokovic had beaten Murray in the Australian and French Open finals, his 11th and 12th major titles. Half of those have come in Melbourne, where his victory last year equaled the record six Australian titles Roy Emerson won (1961 and 1963-67). 'I'm feeling phenomenal,' Djokovic said after arriving in Australia following a win over Murray in his season-opening event at Doha. 'Maybe this is the year — 2017 for seven. I'm not a numerologist, but it sounds good.' Murray jumped on a flight almost immediately after last year's final to be with his wife, who was expecting their first child. There have been plenty of changes for him since, becoming a father for the first time, No. 1 in the world for the first time, and reuniting with Lendl. 'Each time I come, I think I've got a chance of winning but it's just never happened,' he said. 'Hopefully, this year will be different. 'I do think the last few months of last year can help me with giving me confidence — other players look at that and see you're playing well and (I) feel physically and mentally strong.' Fourth-seeded Stan Wawrinka, who ended the run of wins by Djokovic and Murray when he won the U.S. Open last September, said the next generation of players such as Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic and 2014 U.S. Open runner-up Kei Nishikori would be among the contenders for the Australian title. But he thinks it will be difficult for any new champion to emerge against the likes of the in-form Murray and Djokovic, and the returning Federer and Rafael Nadal. 'So far, last 10 years, the 'Big Four' was really strong,' Wawrinka said, 'so it's going to be interesting to see this year how Novak, Andy, Rafa, and Roger will play.' .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 13th, 2017Related News

Fresh off a victory, Justin Thomas joins the 59 club

DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer   HONOLULU (AP) — Staring over the top of a bunker on his final hole, the prudent play for Justin Thomas might have been to make sure he got out of the sand and avoided a big number. But then, Thomas didn't care about a big number. It was about golf's magic number. 'This isn't a time for me to lay it up,' Thomas said Thursday at the Sony Open. He hit a 5-iron so clean and so high that it carried 207 yards into a light Pacific breeze to 15 feet on the par-5 ninth hole at Waialae Country Club. Thomas poured in the eagle putt for an 11-under 59, becoming the seventh player to post a sub-60 round in PGA Tour history. For a brief moment, he reacted as if it were little more than the perfect finish to a great opening round. He stretched out his putter that was still in his left hand, smiled and punched the air with his right fist. Only when he looked over at Jordan Spieth and Daniel Berger, the two witnesses to a 59 that Thomas made look easy, did the sense of history start to hit him. Berger thrust his arm in the air. Spieth, his best friend in golf since they were 13, crouched as the ball neared the cup and delivered a left-handed fist pump as both raced over to congratulate him. 'I think I got more excited from seeing them get excited than I did my putt going in,' Thomas said. 'I thought about it going up to the green. I'm like, 'If I make it, what am I going to do?' It's not like winning a tournament. You have three days left to try to play well. So I didn't really know how to react. I never had a putt on the last hole on a Thursday mean that much.' It was different from the feeling he had four days ago when he won the SBS Tournament of Champions at Kapalua. That was his third victory on the PGA Tour, and the 23-year-old Thomas is sure to win more. 'I don't have many chances to shoot 59,' he said. Jim Furyk was the last player with a sub-60 round when he closed with a record 58 at the Travelers Championship last summer. Furyk also had a 59 in 2013 at the BMW Championship, joining the exclusive group that includes Al Geiberger (1977 Memphis Classic), Chip Beck (1991 Las Vegas Invitational), David Duval (1999 Bob Hope Classic), Paul Goydos (2010 John Deere Classic) and Stuart Appleby (2010 Greenbrier Classic). This was special because he made it look so easy. He began by pitching in for eagle from 35 yards. Thomas never hit more than a 7-iron into the par 4s at Waialae on a perfect day for scoring — very little breeze, fast fairways and soft greens. That 7-iron was chipped under the trees and into a bunker on No. 8 when he was trying to save par. His only bogey came on his second hole, the par-3 11th, when his tee shot went into a bunker and he missed an 18-foot par putt. Duval was the only other player to shoot 59 with an eagle on the last hole. Furyk at Conway Farms is the only other player to shoot 59 with a bogey. Spieth was more nervous than Thomas and far more demonstrative. Thomas had a 30-foot birdie putt on No. 7 that looked good even when it was inches from the cup until burning the edge. Spieth clutched the back of his neck and was still asking how the putt didn't fall when he walked onto the next tee. He was talking to himself, of course. He gave Thomas his space. 'It's like sitting on the bench with a teammate throwing a perfect game,' Spieth said. 'It was awesome. What an awesome last five rounds he's had.' Thomas first thought about a 59 when he found an extra long tee at the par-5 18th and figured that was an omen for him to tee it high and hammer a high draw, which left him only an 8-iron into the green. He narrowly missed his eagle putt and settled for a 29. The way he was playing, he expected to go lower, and he did. 'When I was on 18, I thought about 59. I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing, but I just knew that I was driving it well,' he said. 'And if you drive it well out there, you can make a lot of birdies.' He followed with three birdies in four holes, and two years at Alabama was enough for him to start doing the math. 'He had full control of his golf swing,' Spieth said. Spieth and Berger were along for the ride. They all graduated high school in 2011 and grew up in junior golf. They were together a few weekends ago at a resort in Maui ahead of the Tournament of Champions. And they put on quite a show, with Spieth and Berger each shooting 65. On only three holes — No. 15, 5 and 8 — did someone in the group not make birdie or better. Their best-ball score was 17 under. Thomas started to think a 59 wasn't in the works when he was fooled on a 10-foot birdie chance on No. 5 and the putt on No. 7 somehow stayed out. He kept his hopes alive with a 10-foot par save on No. 8, knowing he could get home in two on the par-5 ninth hole. And then he hit into a bunker. 'I saw some sand flying and I was ready to punch something,' Thomas said. 'I was pretty upset about that, because I felt like all chances right there gone.' But then he saw Berger hit out of the bunker with a 4-iron, and Thomas took 5-iron and 'absolutely flushed it.' One putt later, he posted the eighth sub-60 score in history, and became the youngest to shoot 59. Thomas planned to go to the North Shore in the afternoon. Even watching from the beach, he can appreciate the feeling of catching a big wave. He's on one right now. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 12th, 2017Related News

Match-fixing back in spotlight on eve of first Grand Slam

JUSTIN BERGMAN, Associated Press   For Rafael Nadal and the other stars of tennis, there's a familiar ring to the questions being raised as the first ball is about to be struck at the Australian Open. Recent match-fixing sanctions and a new case are bringing fresh scrutiny to the integrity of the sport a year after corruption allegations cast a pall over the first Grand Slam of the year. '(It's) obviously negative, always in the first month of the season starts to happen,' Nadal said at the season-opening Brisbane International. 'You get tired about this kind of stuff, but the most important thing is fight against these kinds of things.' The headlines started appearing early in the new year. On Jan. 5, police in Australia charged an 18-year-old player with a match-fixing offense at a lower-tier tournament last October in Traralgon, near Melbourne. Days later, another Australian player, Nick Lindahl, now retired but once ranked in the top 200, was handed a seven-year ban and $35,000 fine from the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) for offering to throw a match at a minor tournament in the city of Toowoomba in 2013. Lindahl had already been fined after a criminal trial. Two other Australian players received lesser punishments in connection with the incident. While Traralgon and Toowoomba are far removed from the glittering lights of Melbourne Park, the timing of the developments was troubling nonetheless. Last season began similarly beneath a cloud of suspicion after a report by BBC and Buzzfeed alleged that tennis authorities had suppressed evidence of match-fixing and failed to investigate possible cases of corruption. The reports went over old ground, but the timing and the headlines overshadowed the tournament. 'I haven't heard anything (about match-fixing) since last year's Australian Open,' German player Mischa Zverev told The Associated Press last week in Brisbane. 'I think it was funny timing. ... Like the day before the Oscars, they're going to bring something up to make somebody not win it, or win it.' Since then, tennis leaders have gone into overdrive to restore confidence in the sport. An independent panel was created to review the TIU, the internal body tasked with combating corruption, and authorities promised to implement all of its recommendations when it is completed this spring. The TIU also took separate steps to strengthen its monitoring and investigation efforts, develop new anti-corruption education programs for players, and improve the transparency of its operations. In an email statement to The AP, the agency said nine players and officials were sanctioned last year for match-fixing — the most for a single year since the unit was established in 2008. Several were banned for life, including a young South African player and four officials from Turkey and Uzbekistan. The unit also expanded its outreach efforts with betting operators and regulators, leading to increased reporting of suspicious wagers. In 2016, the TIU received 292 betting alerts — an 18 percent increase over the previous year. The vast majority of those came from the Challenger and Futures circuits on the men's tour, considered the most at-risk for match-fixing given the lower likelihood of detection and the smaller earnings of the players. However, the TIU said three alerts were generated at Grand Slam events, as well. The agency was quick to note, though, that an alert isn't necessarily proof of match-fixing. Of the more than 114,000 matches played last year on the professional tours, only 0.2 percent triggered a suspicious betting alert. 'Tennis was one of the first major sports to recognize the potential threat of betting-related corruption and do something about it,' the TIU said. 'It will be for the independent review panel to take a view on the conduct and effectiveness of the unit and to put forward recommendations to improve the current structure and approach.' Whatever the investigators recommend, the fact remains the TIU faces an uphill battle. Technology has shifted the gambling landscape in such a way, it's increasingly difficult for monitors to keep up. In tennis, wagers aren't just placed on who wins or loses; bets can be placed during matches in real time on everything from total points won in a game to whether a set goes to a tiebreak. 'We're talking individual player activities here,' said Hans Westerbeek, dean of the College of Sport and Exercise Science at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia. 'It's much easier to get into a situation where you approach individual players to do things that can be, if done well, quite well hidden from it being suspicious.' He likens it to the ongoing battle against performance-enhancing drugs. 'You're always struggling to keep up with the innovations that a better-resourced front of gambling operators, legal or illegal, will have available to advance their technology.' Ryan Rodenberg, an associate professor of forensic sports law analytics at Florida State University, says this is one reason a more sophisticated approach is critically needed. He recommends an internal monitoring system that analyzes each match for suspicious activity in real time, rather than relying solely on betting alerts. 'A robust betting data-monitoring operation would have both in-house capabilities and a number of collaborative information sharing agreements with third parties such as sportsbooks, private monitoring firms or academics,' he said. 'Anything less is sub-optimal.' With a limited budget of just $3.23 million for 2017, however, there is only so much the TIU can do. As such, preventative measures such as education have become a priority. More than 25,000 players and officials have completed the TIU's online anti-corruption training program, and a new version will be launched that players will be required to complete every two years. 'Educating players who are up-and-coming and those who support those players is a very good, positive and necessary thing to do,' Westerbeek says. 'Because the root of the problem is ... people not really (understanding) they're engaging in criminal activity.' ___ AP Sports Writer John Pye contributed to this report. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 12th, 2017Related News

Jane Fonda says people should not be fooled by Trudeau

EDMONTON, Alberta — Actress Jane Fonda says people should not be fooled by "good-looking liberals" like Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who she says ".....»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: MoviesJan 11th, 2017Related News

NBA fines Mavs' Anderson $25K for foul on T-wolves' Dunn

NEW YORK (AP) — The NBA has fined Dallas Mavericks guard/forward Justin Anderson $25,000 for a flagrant foul against Minnesota Timberwolves guard Kris Dunn. Anderson was called for a flagrant 1 foul for striking Dunn in the head with 10:45 left in the second quarter of the Timberwolves' 101-92 victory at the Target Center on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). The league on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) upgraded it to a flagrant foul 2, which is considered unnecessary and excessive. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 11th, 2017Related News

Jose Mourinho to face the 'new Mourinho' in League Cup

JUSTIN PALMER, Associated Press br /> LONDON (AP) — Jose Mourinho is preparing to face the man who has been dubbed the 'new Jose Mourinho.' The Manchester United manager will lead his team against Hull on Tuesday in the first leg of the League Cup semifinals. Hull is coached by Marco Silva, a Portuguese manager who has drawn comparisons with Mourinho. 'I'm Marco Silva only,' said Silva, who has been called a 'kid friend' by Mourinho. 'He's a friend also,' Silva said. 'All Portuguese coaches are proud of him for what he did before and for me, what he continues to do in his career.' Hull has been struggling in the Premier League, sitting in last place with only 13 points, while United has won eight consecutive matches and next faces Liverpool in the league on Sunday. 'We play against Liverpool, a big match for us, but we want to be in the (League Cup) final,' Mourinho said. 'So we are going to face this Hull match with everything we have, all the power we have, as we know it's two legs but the second leg is away. If we can do something in the first leg that gives us the advantage, so we will try to do that.' Liverpool plays at Southampton on Wednesday in the other League Cup semifinal, only days after the team was held to a 0-0 draw by Plymouth in the FA Cup. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has since defended his decision of making 10 changes and fielding the club's youngest ever starting lineup against Plymouth. 'If you want to see it (the result) in a bad way then I am 100 percent responsible, I have no problem with that,' Klopp said. Besides the two legs of the League Cup and the match against United, Liverpool also has a replay at Plymouth and matches against Swansea and league leader Chelsea in January. ___ UNITED RECALL After resting a number of key players in Saturday's 4-0 FA Cup win over Reading, Mourinho said he will recall Antonio Valencia, Ander Herrera, Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Tuesday. Defender Marcos Rojo is a doubt with a muscle injury, however, after coming off in the first half against Reading. United are unable to call on defender Eric Bailly, who is away at the African Cup of Nations. ___ ROONEY TO WAIT? With Zlatan Ibrahimovic back in the starting lineup, Wayne Rooney may have to wait for his chance to become Manchester United's all-time leading scorer after netting his 249th goal for the club against Reading, equaling Bobby Charlton's milestone. ___ FONTE DILEMMA Southampton, which lost all three of its Premier League games over the holiday period and was held to a 2-2 draw by Norwich in the FA Cup over the weekend, has been hit by a transfer request from captain Jose Fonte. The Portugal defender was left out against Norwich and it remains to be seen if manager Claude Puel will recall the 33-year-old Fonte. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 9th, 2017Related News

McIlroy says he resents Olympics for making him choose sides

  DUBLIN (AP) — Rory McIlroy says he resented how the Olympics forced him to decide whether he would represent Ireland or Britain and that it reached a point that it 'wasn't worth the hassle' to compete in Rio de Janeiro. In an interview with the Sunday Independent in Ireland, McIlroy explained why he was so critical of golf's return to the Olympics during a press conference at last summer's British Open. McIlroy, the four-time major champion from Northern Ireland, cited concerns over the Zika virus as his reason not to go to Rio. He told the Irish newspaper that when the International Olympic Committee announced in 2009 that golf would be part of the program for the first time since 2004, 'all of a sudden it put me in a position where I had to question who I am.' 'Who am I? Where am I from? Where do my loyalties lie? Who am I going to play for? Who do I not want to (upset) the most?' McIlroy said. 'I started to resent it. And I do. I resent the Olympic Games because of the position it put me in. That's my feelings toward it. And whether that's right or wrong, that's how I feel.' McIlroy said he sent a text message to Justin Rose to congratulate him on winning the gold medal in Rio for Britain. He said Rose thanked him and asked if McIlroy felt as though he had missed out. 'I said, 'Justin, if I had been on the podium (listening) to the Irish national anthem as that flag went up, or the British national anthem as that flag went up, I would have felt uncomfortable either way.'' McIlroy told the newspaper. 'I don't know the words to either anthem. I don't feel a connection to either flag. I don't want it to be about flags. I've tried to stay away from that.' McIlroy was among several top stars who opted to skip the Olympics, most citing the Zika virus. He had been scheduled to play for Ireland until announcing in June he would not be going. Jordan Spieth did not announce his decision to miss Rio until a few days before the British Open. McIlroy spoke after Spieth, and the Olympics was brought up again. McIlroy dismissed the notion that he had let down his sport, saying, 'I didn't get into golf to try and grow the game.' He also said that he probably wouldn't watch Olympic golf on TV, only 'the stuff that matters.' 'Well, I'd had nothing but questions about the Olympics — 'the Olympics, the Olympics, the Olympics' — and it was just one question too far,' McIlroy said. 'I'd said what I needed to say. I'd got myself out of it, and it comes up again. And I could feel it. I could just feel myself go, 'Poom!' And I thought, 'I'm going to let them have it.' 'OK, I went a bit far,' he added. 'But I hate that term, 'growing the game.' Do you ever hear that in other sports? In tennis? Football? 'Let's grow the game.' I mean, golf was here long before we were, and it's going to be here long after we're gone. So I don't get that, but I probably went a bit overboard.' McIlroy said Olympic golf didn't mean that much to him. 'It really doesn't. I don't get excited about it. And people can disagree, and have a different opinion, and that's totally fine,' he said. 'Each to their own.' McIlroy, who is to play the South African Open this week, said he has never been driven by nationalism or patriotism because of where he was raised. 'And I never wanted it to get political or about where I'm from, but that's what it turned into,' he said. 'And it just got to the point where it wasn't worth the hassle.' .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 9th, 2017Related News

Ginebra struggling with life without Justin Brownlee

Safe to say, Brgy. Ginebra is missing a familiar figure in the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup. A familiar figure that wears jersey no. 32 and goes by the name Justin Brownlee. Struggling to put together a winning streak in the All-Filipino after winning their first championship in eight years during the Governors' Cup, the Gin Kings are longing for their prolific import as they consistently stay inconsistent in the new PBA season. 'Maraming adjustments kasi unang-una, dati si Justin [Brownlee] nandun para sa amin,' Scottie Thompson said after Ginebra lost to San Miguel, dropping its record to 3-4. 'Ngayon wala na si Justin so kailangan namin mag-take over. Siguro yun yung medyo magulo sa team ngayon, yung role namin sa isa't-isa,' he added addressing the locals. Still below .500 with only four games left in the regular season, confidence hasn't left the Ginebra side entirely. Especially with the way they played the champs Sunday night, holding them down to only 72 points and marking three-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo to single digits. 'Actually, si coach Tim [Cone], sabi niya sa amin kung ganito lang lagi lalaruin namin, siguro darating din ang mga panalo. Okay naman siya, siguro kailangan lang namin yung finish sa bandang huli,' Thompson said.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 9th, 2017Related News

Justin Thomas holds on to beat Hideki Matsuyama at Kapalua

br /> DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer   KAPALUA, Hawaii (AP) — Justin Thomas kept reminding himself that a one-shot lead with two holes to play is never a bad place to be on the PGA Tour. Ignoring that his five-shot lead was nearly gone against Hideki Matsuyama, Thomas thought more about the great golf that had put him in this position Sunday at the SBS Tournament of Champions. He responded by hitting an 8-iron from 214 yards on a downhill lie that was so pure he stopped to admire it before it landed. It plopped down in front of the pin and settled 3 feet away for a birdie. Matsuyama three-putted for bogey, and Thomas was on his way to a comfortable victory at Kapalua that moved him into the conversation of golf's young stars. 'The best shot I hit this week,' Thomas said. 'There's a tree that's a little slanted, and it's a perfect aiming point. I just kind of aimed it there and made sure I held onto the club, if anything, to make sure my miss was right. ... And really, I just flushed it. As soon as it came off, I knew it was going to be perfect.' Matsuyama, going after his fourth straight victory worldwide, knew he needed to make his 30-foot birdie putt to stay in the game. He ran it 8 feet by, missed the par putt coming back and was out of chances when Thomas hammered another tee shot on the par-5 18th. Thomas closed with a two-putt birdie for a 4-under 69 and a three-shot victory, his second of the PGA Tour season that moved him to No. 12 in the world. His other two PGA Tour title were at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia. 'I think it's potentially floodgates opening,' said Jordan Spieth, his best friend in golf since they were teenagers. 'The guy hits it forever. He's got a really, really nifty short game. He manages the course well. He's playing the golf course the way it should be played, and honestly, he's taking advantage of the easier holes. 'It's awesome to see,' Spieth said. 'He's going to be tough to beat next week, too.' Spieth closed with a 65 and tied for third with Pat Perez (67) and Ryan Moore (71). Matsuyama, who made two soft bogeys on the front nine to fall five shots behind, made it more of a game than anyone expected. The 24-year-old from Japan holed a flop shot for eagle on the 14th hole, and then Thomas hooked a 4-iron into the hazard on the par-5 15th hole and made double bogey. Just like that, Thomas went from a five-shot lead to a one-shot lead, and Matsuyama had a 10-foot birdie putt on the 16th to tie for the lead. The putt narrowly missed, and Thomas answered with his 8-iron for birdie to end it. Matsuyama closed with a 70. 'My putter let me down there at 16, 17 and 18,' Matsuyama said. 'I tipped my hat to Justin. He played well all day long.' Thomas is the only player to beat Matsuyama over the last three months. In his last six tournaments worldwide, Matsuyama had four victories and a pair of runner-up finishes — both to Thomas, in Kuala Lumpur and Kapalua. Thomas, who finished at 22-under 270, said his immediate thoughts were booking a return trip to Kapalua next year for the winners-only event. 'It changes things going forward because I know I'm coming back here,' Thomas said. The scenery down the 18th toward the blue Pacific, where humpback whales spent the afternoon breeching and splashing their tails, was even better because his parents were watching him win for the first time. His father, Mike Thomas, is a longtime head pro in Harmony Landing in Kentucky who is still his coach. Spieth closed with a 65 to tie for third with Pat Perez (67) and Ryan Moore (71). Spieth and Jimmy Walker came down to the 18th to congratulate the winner. Thomas started the final round with a two-shot lead and no one got closer until his blunder on the 15th. One of the longest hitters in golf with his slight build, Thomas really did miss a shot until the ninth hole, and that's when he got a huge break. With the wind stiff and in his face, he got quick with his driver and hit a snap-hook into the knee-high weeds left of the fairway. He hit a provisional for a lost ball and was about ready to abandon the search when a TV spotter was summoned to give an indication where it went. They found the ball, and it was sitting up a few inches above the roots, allowing Thomas to at least hack out into the fairway. He followed with a 3-wood onto the green for a two-putt par after starting with a shot that made double bogey appear likely. Thomas wasn't so fortunate on the 15th. 'I stumbled more than I would have liked to do,' Thomas said. 'But it shows where my game is at right now. I had some woes there, but I stuck it out to still get it done.' .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 8th, 2017Related News

Girls rule 2016

Justin Bieber transformed himself. Kanye West ruled the headlines. Shawn Mendes did well for a newbie. And Drake dominated the hit charts......»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: MoviesJan 8th, 2017Related News

Thomas takes 2-shot lead over Matsuyama in Kapalua

DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer br /> KAPALUA, Hawaii (AP) — Justin Thomas, who as a skinny kid in Kentucky had to hit driver to reach a par 3 in junior golf, stood on the 14th tee at Kapalua trying to decide if 3-wood would be enough to drive the green on a par that was playing 287 yards up the hill. His caddie thought driver was the club, and Thomas took it from there. 'It needs to be something hot to run up there,' he said. 'And I just nuked it, and hit it low and just enough to scoot up the ridge.' The ball bounded onto the green to 20 feet, and Thomas made that for eagle . It was enough for him to take control Saturday at the SBS Tournament of Champions, ultimately leading to a third straight round of 6-under 67 and a two-shot lead over Hideki Matsuyama, who had a 66. Perhaps it's only fitting that those who will be in the final group. Thomas, who was at 18-under 201, is the only player to beat Matsuyama over the last three months. The 24-year-old from Japan has won four of his last tournaments dating to Oct. 16 at the Japan Open, a streak that includes seven-shot victories in Japan and at a World Golf Championships event in Shanghai. Thomas beat him by three at the CIMB Classic at Malaysia, and Matsuyama wasn't much of a threat that final round. He is now. 'If I'm near Hideki in the tournament, that's usually a pretty good thing on Sunday,' Thomas said. 'He's obviously a tremendous player and he's on an unbelievable run here the last five events. I actually had no idea I was the only one to beat him in the last five events, which is absurd, the fact he's won four of his last five. ... But there's a lot of great players out there. I just need to go take care of my job.' There might not be as many players to beat in this winners-only field after Thomas gave himself a little separation. Only five players were within five shots of the lead going into the final round, with Dustin Johnson seven shots back and world No. 1 Jason Day eight shots behind. Thomas was only mildly perturbed that his lead wasn't greater. Following his eagle on the 14th, he smashed another drive that caught the slope on the par-5 15th and rolled to the bottom of the hill, a 348-yard drive that left him only 180 yards to the elevated green. But his shot was a clunker coming out of the short rough, and while he hit a tough pitch to 6 feet, he read a fraction too much break in the putt and had to settle for par. 'I had 8-iron twice and made par,' he said of his week. On the short 16th, he pounded another drive within 60 yards of the pin, but his wedge came up well short and he missed from 15 feet. He also looked back to how he closed out the front nine, with a soft bogey on No. 7 and missed birdie chances of 10 feet on the par-3 eighth and a 3-footer on the par-5 ninth. 'I'm definitely not disappointed with today, but I left a lot out there,' Thomas said. Matsuyama made three birdies over his last five holes, starting with a chip-in on the 14th hole, to get into the final group as he goes for his fourth straight victory 'Justin doesn't have any weaknesses at all in his game,' Matsuyama said. 'He hits it long, has a marvelous short game, putts well, hits the ball well. We've got to go low tomorrow to be able to catch him.' Memorial winner William McGirt, one of 11 players playing the Plantation course at Kapalua for the first time, played bogey-free for a 66 and was four shots behind, along with Ryan Moore (71) and Jimmy Walker (70). Moore was tied for the lead until Thomas drove the 14th green for his eagle and Moore missed a 15-foot birdie putt. On the next hole, Moore's tee shot plugged into the steep face of a bunker and he had no choice but to pitch out sideways, leading to another bogey. Walker spent most of the gorgeous afternoon wincing over putts that kept burning the edges of the cup. 'Plenty of looks. Nothing went in,' Walker said. 'That's just kind of frustrating, especially the finish. I had a good look on 17, and then to not get that up-and-down on 18 is a bummer. ... I'm hitting the putts the way I feel like I need to hit them. They're just not going in.' Thomas has won twice in his three years on the PGA Tour, both in Malaysia. Jordan Spieth, meanwhile, had another double bogey, this one on his second hold. He ended with a three-putt par on the 18th for a 70 and was 10 shots behind. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 8th, 2017Related News

No. 10 Bluejays prey on Providence on the road

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- Creighton coach Greg McDermott will get a little extra time to relish his first victory over the Friars in Providence. The 10th-ranked Bluejays were preparing for an unexpected night in Rhode Island's capital on Saturday night after beating Providence 78-64. A snowstorm blanketed the area with up to a foot of snow, and Creighton wasn't optimistic about getting out on time. ''I haven't enjoyed my stays here very much in the past,'' said McDermott, who was 1-6 against the Friars and 0-3 in Providence. ''So I'm going to try to smile a little bit tonight.'' Justin Patton had 20 points and Maurice Watson Jr. scored 11 with 14 assists as the Bluejays (15-1, 3-1 Big East) won in Providence for the first time since 1970. Marcus Foster had 17 points and Khyri Thomas added 16 for Creighton. Emmitt Holt scored 17 points and Kalif Young had nine rebounds for Providence (11-6, 1-3). With a snowstorm dumping 6-12 inches on the area, the Dunkin' Donuts Center was unusually quiet for a visit from a Top 10 team. The early stumble didn't help. PC missed its first six shots before Holt's layup made it 10-2 with 4 minutes gone in the game. The Friars managed to stay within 10 points until there were about 8 minutes left, when Creighton went on a 15-1 run to put the game away. ''I appreciate everyone who came out,'' Providence coach Ed Cooley said. ''I don't think we ever gave the crowd enough down the stretch for them to get us over the hump like they have in the past.'' Providence had won its last five against Creighton, including the 2014 Big East title game. The Bluejays' only victory in Providence was in 1970, when the Friars played on campus. Creighton scored the first 10 points of the game and nursed the lead for most of the first half until two layups by Holt and a jumper by Isaiah Jackson tied it 27-all with 5 minutes before the break. It was 31-31 when the Bluejays scored eight straight points on two dunks by Patton and two layups by Thomas to help them take a 39-33 halftime lead. BIG PICTURE Creighton opened the season with 13 straight wins before losing to then-No. 1 Villanova on New Year's Eve. The Bluejays will have another big test against No. 18 Butler. The Friars had a tough start to Big East play, with games against ranked Xavier, Butler and Creighton among their first four (along with Georgetown). Next up is unranked DePaul. UNDER THE WEATHER I The announced attendance of 8,176 was 4,000 short of a sellout and probably inflated by several thousand no-shows. Both coaches noticed. ''The weather probably helped us a little today. There wasn't as many as we usually see here,'' McDermott said. ''It's one of the places we've never been able to get a win. We came in here with a really good team our first year in the Big East and got pounded.'' Creighton had planned to head back after the game but was making plans to stay. ''Our plane's here ready to go,'' McDermott said, ''but the pilots are putting on the brakes.'' UNDER THE WEATHER II Watson threw up at halftime of Wednesday's game against St. John's and was still feeling the effects of flu-like symptoms late this week. But he played a team-high 36 minutes. ''I'm OK. We got a win. We've got a day off,'' he said. ''It's all in a day's work.'' INJURIES PC point guard Kyron Cartwright left the game with knee tendinitis with 5 minutes left in the first half and the Friars trailing by two points. They managed to tie the game twice before Creighton went on an 8-0 run. Cartwright, who averages 10 points and seven assists, finished with one point and no assists in 12 minutes. ''That's a big blow to your team,'' McDermott said. ''We certainly weren't playing a full-strength team.'' UP NEXT Creighton returns home to play No. 18 Butler on Wednesday. Providence visits DePaul on Tuesday. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 7th, 2017Related News