Monthly Archives: May 2019

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Icher leads Swinging Skirts golf in US

France’s Karine Icher, helped by her caddie and husband Fred, took a two-stroke lead on Thursday after the opening round of the LPGA Tour’s Swinging Skirts Classic by shooting a six-under-par 66.


The pair hatched a strategy of leaving their approach shots short of the pin to allow for more controllable uphill putts.

“It’s the key on this course,” Icher said. “It’s a tough golf course, especially with the wind and temperature. It gets so cold. You try to stay warm and try to catch the right wind and go with it and make some putts.”

The start was delayed by two hours because of fog and play was suspended because of darkness with 24 golfers still on the course.

Icher birdied four of her first seven holes to set up a two-shot buffer ahead of a five players, comprising Lydia Ko – who celebrated her 17th birthday with a strong 68 – Maria McBride, Dewi Claire Schreefel, Jenny Shin and Ilhee Lee.

Morgan Pressel birdied four of her first eight holes and was among the players sitting three strokes back at 69.

“It was actually a bit of a struggle out there. My short game kept me in it. I stayed patient,” Pressel said. “It’s a tough golf course. I knew nobody was going to go out there and blitz it.”

Mo Martin also shot a 69 after warming up four times before finally hitting her first tee shot following the fog delay.

Top-ranked Inbee Park opened with a 73, while second-ranked Suzann Pettersen had a 70 in her first tournament since missing three events with a back injury. On the par-4 11th, a frustrated Pettersen made an eight-foot putt for triple-bogey to fall from three-under to even-par before bouncing back.

Michelle Wie, coming off her first win in nearly four years last week at home in Hawaii, finished at even-par 72.

Angela Stanford and Se Ri Pak withdrew on Thursday, and neither provided a reason.

Recovering McKinnon has arm movement, feeling in legs

The 22-year-old broke two vertebrae in his neck in the Knights clash with the Melbourne Storm on March 24 after a lifting tackle by three opposition players drove him head-first into the ground and he underwent emergency surgery before being placed in an induced coma for almost a week.


“(I have) a lot more movement in my right arm and a lot of movement in my left arm,” McKinnon said of his recovery in an interview on the Knights website (南宁夜网.newcaslteknights广西桑拿,广西桑拿网,) on Friday.

“It’s just a matter of time that hopefully I get a bit more movement in my legs. I’ve got a great sensational feeling through my legs. (There are) a lot of positive signs.”

A local television network had reported shortly after the incident that McKinnon had been told he would be a quadriplegic, a report the Knights and the player’s family angrily denied.

The Knights said at the time it was too early to determine any permanent outcomes from the injury and recovery could take up to two years.

The incident prompted a backlash against the NRL for allowing lifting tackle in the game.

Storm prop Jordan McLean, who lifted McKinnon into the air before he was driven into the turf with his arms pinned back, was suspended for seven matches for a ‘dangerous throw’.

McKinnon, who was speaking for the first time since the incident, added he had been able to play a board game this week and he was getting intense physiotherapy and rehabilitation sessions.

“Physio is pretty much getting my legs and my arms moving,” McKinnon said. “Obviously not moving much in the last four weeks they are a little bit stiff.

“It’s been a tough month. There is a lot of improvements and that’s the thing that is keeping me going.

“I’ve come a long way in four weeks.”

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

Mariners steeled for A-League semi: Moss

Coach Phil Moss has likened his travel-weary Central Coast Mariners to bullfighters in their steely focus on defeating Western Sydney in Saturday’s A-League semi-final showdown.


Arriving back in Sydney on Friday morning, the Mariners have scant time to regroup for the Parramatta Stadium clash following their Asian Champions League (ACL) loss in Japan on Wednesday night.

And while the Wanderers took confidence and more recovery time after booking their spot in the ACL second round by thrashing China’s Guizhou Renhe 5-0 in Sydney on Tuesday night, the Mariners’ 1-0 loss to Sanfrecce Hiroshima ended their ACL campaign.

Far from deflating them, Moss said the defeat has only made his side more determined to win on Saturday and they were putting aside all concerns about the effects of their harsh schedule.

“The loss will affect us but in a positive way,” he said.

“There was no disappointment in the dressing room, that was left out on the pitch in Hiroshima.

“As soon as the whistle blew on Tuesday you could see the focus turned to Saturday and I saw that steely resolve in their eyes.

“We’re kind of like the bull fighter, we don’t take our eye off the bull.

“Once you look at the circus going on around you that’s when you lose focus and we just don’t allow ourselves to do that.”

Moss had previously been vocal about his displeasure at the Mariners’ tough program this week.

Wanderers coach Tony Popovic however wasn’t buying it, insisting the Mariners have been in similar situations in the past and it hasn’t deterred them.

“The Central Coast have done a good job at taking pressure off themselves,” Popovic said on Friday.

“But they’re a club that has done this many times before.

“They played a grand final against us last year and, two days later, played a game in Korea and won that.

“So I don’t think the travel is a problem for them.

“If it is, then the Central Coast players should not be playing the game.

“It’s a one off semi-final – I’m sure they’re all looking forward to it like we are.”

Moss hit back, insisting the Wanderers’ favourable preparation puts the pressure squarely on Popovic and his men, who’ll be hungry to avenge last season’s grand final loss.

“It’s not mind games at all. It’s the facts,” Moss said.

“I’ve been quite amused to read some of the circus that’s gone on back here.

“Obliviously Popa’s not going to buy that, that’s his job.

“But anyone who knows anything about football knows that the home team carries the favourites tag.

“They haven’t had the travel, they had a positive result Wednesday night so everything is leaning in that direction.”

Martinez won’t give up on EPL top four

Roberto Martinez believes Everton will overhaul Arsenal into the race to qualify for the Champions League if they win their last three matches.


Martinez’s fifth-placed team trail fourth-placed Arsenal by a point after their bid to finish in the top four fell out of their own hands with last week’s 3-2 defeat at Crystal Palace.

A 2-0 win over Manchester United on Sunday in the following match revived Everton’s belief they can still qualify for Europe’s elite club competition.

Now Everton head to Southampton on Saturday before hosting Manchester City and then finishing the Premier League season at Hull.

The Gunners end their campaign with matches against Newcastle, West Brom and Norwich, making them favourites to win the qualification battle.

But Martinez remains confident three more victories will be enough to overtake Arsene Wenger’s team.

“Looking at the last 15 years or so, fourth place is well below 76 points,” Martinez said.

“There has only been one season where you have needed 76 points for that (fourth) and on average it’s always been a lot less points.

“You don’t go far wrong when you look at the points tally. We are well aware anything around 72 to 75 points is Champions League football so we are desperate to try to make sure we get that.”

However, Martinez’s hopes for a Champions League spot are in danger of being hampered by Everton’s long injury list.

Belgium winger Kevin Mirallas has been ruled out for the season with a groin problem, while defender Sylvain Distin is out of the trip to Southampton with a hamstring injury.

Captain Phil Jagielka is still sidelined, along with Bryan Oviedo, Darron Gibson, Steven Pienaar, Lacina Traore and Arouna Kone.

Southampton have little to play for except to hold on to eighth place, which would equal their previous best Premier League finish in 2003.

However, a number of players have a great deal more on their personal horizons as Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Luke Shaw are all keen to be included in the England World Cup squad as soon as the season is concluded.

Small Gallipoli turnout ahead of centenary

A much lower-than-expected crowd of just 4400 pilgrims has gathered for the 99th anniversary Anzac Day dawn service in Gallipoli.


The official crowd of 4393 is about 1000 fewer than organisers expected and compares with 5200 in 2013.

Numbers were thought to be down last year because people were waiting to see if they could secure a ticket to the 2015 centenary commemorations.

But the 10,000 successful ballot applicants, who will join 500 official guests on the peninsula next year, were only notified earlier this month meaning those who missed out didn’t have time to book a trip in 2014.

Organisers are therefore expecting a spike in numbers in 2016.

It’s estimated that 10,000 pilgrims attended the 90th anniversary at Gallipoli in 2005.

Counts have been conducted since with numbers subsequently staying high for three years before declining to this year’s low.

The head of the Villers-Bretonneux dawn service this week argued the Western Front is likely to surpass Gallipoli as the focal point of Anzac Day commemorations beyond next year.

But that’s not the view of Gallipoli services director Tim Evans.

He acknowledges people are starting to understand more about Australia’s military heritage and the “life changing experience” of being on the Western Front, and that’s attracting a lot of people.

“But Anzac Day at Gallipoli will always remain a very significant and resonant part of the Australian experience of our military experience,” Mr Evans told reporters in Gallipoli this week.

He said while numbers had “ebbed” at Gallipoli over the past three years, that had more to do people pacing themselves ahead of the centenary.

Veterans’ Affairs Minister Michael Ronaldson said while numbers at Villers-Bretonneux had been increasing dramatically over the past few years “the Gallipoli dawn service will be, in my view, a defining day for this nation for a long, long time to come”.