Mon, Apr 02, 2012 - Page 18 News List

SPORTS BRIEFS

Agencies

GOLF

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.

GOLF

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.

RUGBY UNION

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.

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