Olesen up by three strokes
Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark shot four birdies and an eagle for a five-under 67 to lead the Sicilian Open by three strokes on Saturday heading into the final round. Olesen, who was runner-up three times in his debut season on the European Tour last year, superbly managed the 25kph gusts off the Mediterranean. With the halfway lead shared by six overnight, only Olesen could break clear in the testing conditions to be at 12-under overall. The highlight of his round, the eagle on the par-five 14th, saw him reach the green in two, before sinking a difficult putt from 15 feet. “It was definitely not easy, but I played great,” Olesen said. “I am confident in my play for tomorrow, but there are a lot of good guys up there and I’m going to have to do my best.” At nine-under were Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium (69) and Andrew Parr of Canada (67). Irishman Peter Lawrie (72) remained in contention in a tie for fourth, with Lloyd Saltman of Scotland (69) and Soren Kjeldsen of Denmark (71). “I was pleased to shoot par in these conditions,” Lawrie said. “I think my experience of playing in Ireland certainly helped because I was struggling at times.” Little known American Scott Pinckney (70) was five shots off the lead, with two-time major winner John Daly (72) a shot further back.
Oosthuizen in pole position
South African Louis Oosthuizen posted a second straight 66 on Saturday to take a two-shot lead over Hunter Mahan after three rounds of the USPGA Tour’s Houston Open. Oosthuizen bounced back after two early bogeys, stringing together four straight birdies on the back nine as he took a 17-under total of 199 into the final round. “It’s a great leaderboard behind me,” Oosthuizen said. “It’s going to be tough, but I feel like I’m ready for it.” Mahan carded a 65 for 201 as the players put in another long day on the Redstone course to get the tournament, delayed by thunderstorms on Thursday, back on schedule. England’s Brian Davis shot a 69 and Carl Pettersson of Sweden a 67 to share third on 202. James Driscoll was alone on 204 after a 71, while defending champion Phil Mickelson posted a 70 to lead a group on 205 that also included Keegan Bradley (69) and Ryan Palmer (66). Three-time major champion Ernie Els, who must win to qualify for the Masters next week, was in a group on eight--under. The South African, who has not missed the Masters since 1993, did not think he had given himself much of a chance. “I needed to get to 10 or 11-under to really have a shot,” Els said. “I need a 62 or 63. It’s tough to do on a Sunday, but you might as well give it a go.” Ninety players made the 36-hole cut at two-under or better when the second round wrapped up on Saturday morning. Another cut was made after the third round, leaving 70 players in the field for the final round.
Quins match sets record
Harlequins’ win over Saracens in the English Premiership has set a world record for the number of fans at a club rugby match. While international rugby can attract huge crowds, club audiences are restrained by stadium size or relatively limited interest — even in the sport’s strongholds of England and New Zealand — but Saracens opted to stage the game against their London rivals at Wembley Stadium and Quins’ 24-19 win was watched by 83,761 fans. George Lowe scored one try and saved two as Harlequins extended their lead at the top of the Premiership. The old world record was 82,208 for a 2009 Heineken Cup quarter-final between Leinster and Munster at Dublin’s Croke Park.
Ryan Leaf arrested for drugs
Former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf, once a Heisman Trophy finalist and a first-round draft pick of the San Diego Chargers, was arrested in his hometown of Great Falls, Montana, on theft and drug charges, authorities said on Saturday. Leaf was arrested on Friday on suspicion of felony burglary and drug possession, as well as a misdemeanor theft charge, authorities said. No other details were immediately available. The arrest came just weeks after Leaf, 35, completed daily radiation treatments stemming from surgery last spring to remove a benign brain tumor. Leaf was one of college football’s brightest stars at Washington State University in the late 1990s and was considered a pro quarterback prospect on the level of Peyton Manning. Leaf was on probation from drug charges he faced in Texas three years ago when he was arrested in Montana.
Renowned runner dies
Searchers have found the body of renowned long-distance runner Micah True, who vanished four days ago after going for a run near New Mexico’s Gila National Forest. New Mexico State Police Lieutenant Robert McDonald said True’s body was found on Saturday in a remote area of the Gila Wilderness. The Boulder Daily Camera reported that the cause of death was still unknown, but there were no obvious signs of trauma. A medical examiner was sent to examine the body. Authorities said the 58-year-old True, who lived in Colorado, went for a run on Tuesday morning and did not return. A search began the next day. True was an accomplished extreme-distance ultrarunner — taking on distances of 80km or more — who was featured in the bestselling book Born to Run.
Wariner eyes London spot
Former Olympic 400m champion Jeremy Wariner has his sights set on the London Games after recovering from a toe ligament injury that forced him out of last year’s World Championships. Wariner anchored his Central Texas All Stars squad to victory in the 4x400m relay at the Texas Relays meeting in Austin on Saturday in 3 minutes, 1.54 seconds, and said afterwards that his left foot was feeling fine. Wariner already has three Olympic golds — the 2004 Athens solo 400m and the 4x400m relays in Athens and Beijing 2008 — as well as the individual 400m silver in 2008. He is gearing up for the US Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon, in June. He tore a ligament in a toe last year, which forced him out of last year’s World Championships in Daegu, South Korea. Wariner, who has not won a major international 400m title since the 2007 World Championships, plans to run his first individual 400m of the season at a meeting at Texas State University next week.
Drowned players found
South African police say the missing bodies of five rugby players who drowned when they went to cool down following a practice session on a beach have been recovered. The South African Press Association reports that Eastern Cape police say the final body was found on Saturday close to a river mouth near the south-coast city of Port Elizabeth. Twenty-one people, many of them members of the Motherwell Rugby Club from a nearby impoverished township, were swept out to sea in strong currents off Port Elizabeth on March 25. Fifteen people were rescued by lifeguards, while a sixth man was found drowned on the same day.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker found himself in need of an assist to help the state fight the COVID-19 pandemic. He called on the New England Patriots. One of the team’s private airplanes on Thursday evening landed in Boston after returning from China carrying more than 1 million masks critical to healthcare providers fighting to control the spread of the coronavirus. Members of the Massachusetts National Guard met the airplane and offloaded the containers of masks onto waiting trucks for transport to warehouses for distribution. Baker secured the N95 masks from Chinese manufacturers, but had no way of getting them to the US. He
WAIT AND SEE: The estimated cost of postponement started at US$2 billion and has kept rising, but the IOC has yet to say whether it would help pay for the extra expenses Postponing the Tokyo Olympics to next year would make the event more costly for all parties, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) acknowledged on Thursday, although it offered few details on what the final bill might be. Four directors of the Olympic body held a conference call three days after Tokyo’s new dates were finalized, with the Games pushed back to July 23 to Aug. 8 next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the new dates cleared up any uncertainty about the event’s future, there are still plenty of question marks as the committee begins to work with Tokyo organizers and the
MEDIA RUMORS? With no pay agreement secured and players’ representatives calling for more financial information ahead of talks, the sport had another week of bad press Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle could be sacked in a matter of days, media reported yesterday, as the embattled governing body struggles to deal with a financial crisis compounded by a shutdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Castle this week took a 50 percent pay cut and laid off 75 percent of Rugby Australia (RA) staff members, saying that the body would face losses of up to A$120 million (US$71.95 million) if no more rugby was played this year. With no pay agreement secured with the players and their representatives calling on RA to provide more financial information ahead of negotiations, the
OLYMPICS Delay pushes rower to retire British rowing gold medalist Tom Ransley on Friday announced his retirement after deciding that the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games to next year was a step too far. The 34-year-old was part of the men’s eight who won gold in the 2016 Rio Olympics and also a bronze in the 2012 London Games. “I have used up everything I had and I know that to get myself in the necessary condition to compete for a seat in 2021 is a step too far,” he told the BBC. The years of early starts, of three training