Sat, May 20, 2017 - Page 16 News List


Staff writer, with agencies


Thompson leads Kingsmill

Lexi Thompson had six birdies in a seven-hole stretch and finished with a six-under 65 on Thursday to take the first-round lead at the Kingsmill Championship in Williamsburg, Virginia. Playing her third tournament since losing the ANA Inspiration in a playoff after being penalized four strokes for a rules violation that a TV viewer spotted, Thompson had a one-stroke lead over US Solheim Cup teammates Gerina Piller and Brittany Lincicome, and young American Angel Yin. Thompson played her opening nine in even-par with a birdie on No. 11 and a bogey on No. 17, then birdied No. 1 and Nos. 3 through 7 on Kingsmill Resort’s River Course. Candie Kung, Hsu Wei-ling, Min Lee, Chien Pei-yun, Yani Tseng and Cheng Ssu-chia were the Taiwanese competing. The best placed among them was Kung in a share of eighth after a round of three-under 68. Hsu was a shot behind with the rest in the 70s.


Geraint Thomas withdraws

Britain’s Geraint Thomas has pulled out of the Giro d’Italia due to injuries sustained in a crash last weekend, Team Sky announced yesterday. Thomas had started the 100th edition of the race as Sky’s coleader with Spain’s Mikel Landa hoping to challenge for the race leader’s pink jersey. However, a crash on the climb to Blockhaus, caused by a rider colliding with a police motorcycle at the side of the road during the ninth stage, saw the Welshman lose more than five minutes in time to his rivals and left him with injuries that have hampered his campaign since. “I’ve been suffering since my crash on Sunday,” said Thomas, who had to have his dislocated shoulder popped back in by the race doctor before continuing and finishing the stage. “I’ve had an issue with my shoulder, which is manageable, but my knee has also been getting worse each day.” On the road, Colombian rider Fernando Gaviria won a bunch sprint at the end of the longest stage on Thursday to earn his third victory in his first Grand Tour. Gaviria, who rides for Quick-Step Floors, edged Italian rival Jakub Mareczko at the end of the 229km route from Forli to Reggio Emilia. Sam Bennett of Ireland was third in the 12th stage. Overall, Tom Dumoulin remained 2 minutes, 23 seconds ahead of 2014 winner Nairo Quintana and 2:38 ahead of Bauke Mollema.


Wayne Smith to step down

Wayne Smith will step down as an All Blacks assistant coach at the end of the Rugby Championship in October, choosing not to join in the team’s attempt to win a third consecutive World Cup. The 60-year-old Smith yesterday announced he would end an almost two-decade coaching involvement with the All Blacks to spend more time with his family and to pursue personal interests. “There are a lot of things I want to do,” Smith said. “I want to reconnect with some people. I’ve got a grandson and I want to spend time with the family. We’ll do a wee bit of travel and I’ll probably do a couple of projects ... but essentially it will be time to refresh.” Smith ruled out any coaching involvement with another major national team. “I’ve got no interest helping other teams try to beat the All Blacks,” he said. “I’ve told [New Zealand Rugby chief executive] Steve Tew and [All Blacks head coach] Steve Hansen that. I will do some stuff in rugby, but it won’t be with tier-one teams competing against the All Blacks.”

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