Tjaart leads in France
South African Tjaart van der Walt, seeking his first European Tour win after 14 years as a professional, led after the first round of the St Omer Open in France on Thursday. The 38-year-old Pretoria-born Van der Walt shot a four-under-par 67 to lead by one shot from France’s Victor Rui. After producing five birdies the South African said: “I managed the ball really well. I have been doing that well the last few weeks, but the putting hasn’t been great. I holed a few putts, which was good.” Rui was breathing down his neck after a closing birdie, birdie eagle finish having like Van der Welt started his round on the back nine. Placed third, one shot adrift of Rui, was Briton Daniel Brooks.
Reward system devised
Sick and tired of crowd violence marring matches, Malaysia’s soccer association will offer fans a financial reward if they catch hooligans causing trouble at the FA Cup final later this month. The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) said supporters would be given 1,000 ringgit (US$320) for their “policework” during the showpiece final between Kelantan and Johor Darul Takzim at the National Stadium on June 29. “We have decided to take a different, and positive, approach to preventing crowd trouble during the Cup final,” FAM competitions committee chairman Hamidin Mohd Amin was quoted as saying by Malaysian media yesterday. Johor’s semi-final second leg against Pahang was abandoned due to crowd trouble, while Kelantan were fined 40,000 ringgit last year after their fans caused a long delay to a Cup match when they threw bottles on to the field. Amin said each team would also appoint 100 marshals to help the police with crowd control at the match, which is expected to be an 87,000 sell-out.
Official apologizes for ball
The commissioner of Japanese baseball apologized yesterday for the confusion caused by introducing a new official ball this season without notifying players. Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) commissioner Ryozo Kato held a meeting with representatives of the 12 professional teams in Japanese baseball and apologized for the confusion, while saying his management of the situation was insufficient. Kato, a former Japanese ambassador to the US, indicated he would not resign and vowed to work toward reform within his organization. NPB acknowledged this week for the first time that a new, livelier ball was introduced at the start of the season, resulting in a sharp increase in the number of home runs. Many players in Japanese baseball have criticized NPB for a lack of transparency.
Sports bar deck collapses
A crowded outdoor deck behind a popular Miami-area sports bar collapsed during the NBA Finals, sending dozens of people into the shallow waters of Biscayne Bay. Miami-Dade fire chief David Downey said 24 people were injured late on Thursday, and two were in serious condition. Authorities said about 100 people were on the deck of Shucker’s Bar & Grill when it gave way. Customers and rescuers pulled people from the water amid chaos. Downey said crews had completed their search and everyone was accounted for. “According to witnesses, a lot of people jumped in to help,” Downey said. “Those efforts can make a lot of difference sometimes.”