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Golf: DeChambeau three ahead of McIlroy; Bhatia T-16 at US Open

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Pinehurst (USA), June 16 (IANS) Rory McIlroy was in contention to end his 10-year Major drought, as he was tied second with two others, but Bryson DeChambeau took the three-shot lead in the round 3 at the US Open golf Championships.

DeChambeau, the U.S. Open champion in 2020, carded 3-under-par 67 for a 54-hole total of 7-under 203. He took a three-shot lead into the final round over Rory McIlroy (69), Patrick Cantlay (70) and Matthieu Pavon (69).

In the time since he won his last Major in 2014, McIlroy had been runner-up three times, been third once and has been in Top-5 four other times. In eight Majors starts in 2022 and 2023, he was in Top-8 seven times and missed the cut once, at the 2023 Masters. This year he was T-22 at Masters and T-12 at PGA.

The top Asians are Hideki Matsuyama (70) in Tied-fifth and Tom Kim (71) in T-9.

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Aaron Rai of England, whose parents have an Indian connection, was T-12 after a third round 68, while Indian American Akshay Bhatia (73) is T-16 and Sahith Theegala (72) is T-47.

DeChambeau, who is now so different from the ‘bulked-up’ golfer he was when he won the US Open in 2020, unleased the same power despite needing trainers to work on his ‘tight’ hips. He delivered a 347-yard drive soon after and it fetched him a birdie, too. He shot 3-under 67 and set up a three-shot lead.

Getting along well with the crowds, DeChambeau was in full flow and entertained the spectators, too. Now he is 7-under 203 and the only player to post three straight rounds of 60s in a U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2.

DeChambeau was runner-up by one shot last month in the PGA Championship and he had a top 10 at the Masters in April.

Swedish sensation Ludvig Aberg, who started the third round with a one-shot lead, made a triple on the 13th and fell back into tied fifth Hideki Matsuyama (70). They are five behind DeChambeau.

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McIlroy birdied third, bogeyed sixth and bogeyed ninth to turn in 1-under. On the back nine, he birdied the 12th and the 14th and dropped a bogey on the 15th and the 17th in a roller coaster of a round for 69.

No Asian has won the US Open, but Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama showed his resilience to remain in contention after an even-par 70 which left him five shots behind third round leader, DeChambeau.

The 32-year-old Matsuyama traded four birdies against as many bogeys at Pinehurst No. 2, including one at the last hole, for tied fifth place on 2-under 208.

Korean phenomenon Tom Kim also fought valiantly, posting a 71 which included five birdies, four bogeys, and a double bogey, to lie in a tie for ninth place on 210.

Collin Morikawa remarkably had a bogey-free round with a 66 that took him from a tie to 51st to just inside the top 10.

Scottie Scheffler, the No. 1 player who had to settle for a 71, played his fourth straight round over par going back to Sunday at the Memorial Tournament.

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–IANS

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Anahat, Bawa advance to Rd 4 in World Junior squash

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Houston, July 14 (IANS) Anahat Singh and Shaurya Bawa advanced to the fourth round of the World Junior Squash Championships in on Saturday in the girls’ and boys’ sections respectively.

Reigning women’s National champion Anahat, seeded 5/8, defeated Samantha Jaffe (17/32) of the US 11-7, 12-10, 11-6 in the third round and will meet Japan’s Akari Midorikawa (9/16) for a place in the quarterfinals.

Meanwhile, Bawa (17/32) rallied to beat Rustin Wiser (9/16) of the US 4-11, 11-7, 12-10, 11-6 in the third round and will lock horns with Segundo Portabales (17/32) of Argentina in the pre-quarterfinals.

Other Indian results:

Boys:

3rd round: Shaurya Bawa (17/32) bt Rustin Wiser (9/16) (US) 4-11, 11-7, 12-10, 11-6; Yuvraj Wadhwani (17/32) lost to Javier Emilio Romo Lopez (5/8) (Ecuador) 11-8, 6-11, 11-7, 8-11, 6-11.

2nd round: Ayaan Vaziralli lost to Wasey Maqsood (Canada) 3-11, 4-11, 9-11; Arihant KS lost to Low Wa-Sern (Malaysia) 11-9, 7-11, 4-11, 7-11; Wadhwani bt Ivan Santamaria (Colombia) 11-6, 11-6, 6-11, 11-4; Bawa bt Altamis A Sufian (Malaysia) 11-8, 11-7, 11-8; Avalokit Singh lost to Seojin Oh (S Korea) 6-11, 5-11, 7-11.

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Girls: 3rd round: Tiana Parasrampuria (17/32) lost to Lauren Baltayan (France) 5-11, 3-11, 3-11.

–IANS

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Former Pakistan allrounder Billy Ibadulla passes away at 88

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New Delhi, July 14 (IANS) Former allrounder Billy Ibadulla, who was the first Pakistani to score a century on Test debut, passed away on Friday at 88.

The Pakistan Cricket Board extended its condolences to the deceased cricketer’s family.

“PCB extends its heartfelt condolences to his friends and family,” the board said in a statement.

Ibadulla made his Test debut against Australia in Karachi in 1964. He played a historic knock of 166 in the first innings of his first international appearance. His innings was part of a record-breaking 249-run opening partnership with fellow debutant and wicketkeeper Abdul Kadir, a record that still stands as the highest partnership between two debutants for any wicket in Test cricket.

Despite his spectacular start, Ibadulla’s Test career was brief. He played only three more Tests, and picked up one wicket in the format.

Ibadulla’s prowess was more pronounced in first-class cricket, where he amassed 17,078 runs at an average of 27.28 and claimed 462 wickets. He played 417 first-class matches, 377 of which were for Warwickshire, a club he served with distinction for over a decade.

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Later in his career, Ibadulla moved to New Zealand, where he played for Otago for a couple of seasons. His contributions to cricket extended beyond his playing days, as he stood as an umpire in 20 first-class matches and 12 List A games.

In List A cricket, Ibadulla scored 829 runs and took 84 wickets in 64 matches. His love for the game was passed down to his son, Kassem Ibadulla, who played 31 first-class games and 19 List A games for Gloucestershire and Otago.

–IANS

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Emotions are still going through, it was an unbelievable experience: Samson on WC win

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Harare, July 14 (IANS) Sanju Samson, India’s vice-captain on T20I tour of Zimbabwe, recalled being a member of T20 World Cup winning team last month, saying emotions from the victorious scenes at Barbados are still going through his mind and called it an unbelievable experience.

“The emotions are still going through. The photos are still around. It was an unbelievable experience. I couldn’t stop smiling. Very fortunate to be part of the team. Credit to everyone who contributed. It was a complete team effort,” said Samson to broadcasters.

Talking about the change to bring in Mukesh Kumar and Riyan Parag, as well as being the deputy to Shubman Gill in the series, Samson remarked, “There will be some shuffle in the batting order, hoping to get some time in the middle. I have been leading RR for the last four years.”

“There have been some legends. I take care of legends and youngsters. You understand cricket a bit more. When you are a captain, you think about other players and team as well. I have been getting better.”

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Zimbabwe fast-bowler Richard Ngarava said he feels quite alright now after dealing with fitness troubles. “I have put in the hard yards over the past month. I had a knee issue, quite happy to be back in the team. Quite a lot of lessons you take from playing in the (T20) leagues. You come across a lot of coaches and fitness trainers. You get to learn a lot of things. At the end of the day, you want to do the simple things better.”

Asked about what makes his bowling partnership with Blessing Muzarabani effective, Ngarava said, “We have been in the same academy, it’s been going for us for a long time. He’s one guy who pumps me when I am low and I pump him up when he’s low. Hopefully, we keep taking wickets. Hopefully, both of us can take fifers in the same match.”

–IANS

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'I’m a believer of dreams': Southgate and England stand on the cusp of greatness

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Berlin, July 14 (IANS) The 1996 Euros were not a pleasant one for English manager Gareth Southgate. The former Three Lions defender was the one who missed the penalty in the shootouts against Germany in the semi-finals of what was their home tournament. Deutschland went on to win the tournament.

After 28 years, Southgate has the chance to lead the nation to their very first European Championship in Germany. When asked about the chance to complete his fairytale ending, Southgate answered with a wonderful response.

“I am not a believer in fairytales, but I am a believer in dreams. We have had big dreams and felt the importance of that, but you have to make those things happen. The run we’ve had, the late goals and penalties, doesn’t equate to it being our moment. We have to make it tomorrow and perform. It would be a lovely story and it’s in our hands but the performance is the most important thing,” said Southgate to reporters in the pre match conference.

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Germany were eliminated by Spain in the quarterfinals of the tournament in what was perhaps one of the best games of the tournament.

Southgate is not the only one who has the chance to finally complete his dream. England captain Harry Kane has been criticized for many years on his trophy record. The all-time top scorer in English football claimed ‘it is no secret,’ when asked about his trophy aspirations.

“It is no secret that I haven’t won a team trophy. Every year that goes by, you are more determined to change that. Tomorrow, I have the opportunity to win one of the biggest prizes you could ever win and to make history with my mates. I’m extremely proud to be English, so no question I would swap everything I’ve done in my career to have a special night and a win,” concluded the Bayern Munich striker.

–IANS

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Durand Cup returns to Kokrajhar for the second consecutive year

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Kokrajhar, July 14 (IANS) The return of the Durand Cup tournament, now in its 133rd edition, is a very prestigious event for Kokrajhar in Assam. The three coveted Durand Cup trophies (Durand Cup, President’s Cup and the Shimla Trophy) were displayed at the Bodofa Cultural Complex, Chandamari here on Sunday.

The iconic trophies were presented in the presence of Pramod Boro, Chief Executive Member, Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) and Nandita Gorlosa, Minister for Power, Sports & Youth Welfare.

Also present at the event were the Cooperation and Indigenous Tribal Faith & Culture (Archaeology) Dept Government of Assam, Lt General RC Srikanth VSM, Chief of Staff, HQ Eastern Command, Chairman Durand Cup Organising Committee (DCOC).

Kokrajhar hosted six group matches in the previous edition of the Durand Cup, when it became only the second city in Assam to host the prestigious tournament. The tremendous response received has ensured that Kokrajhar not only continues as hosts this year, but also hosts an additional match and that too a knockout game.

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Clearly enthused on the occasion, Boro while welcoming all dignitaries and guests said, “I am very happy that the Indian Army has favourably responded to our request of holding an additional game this year in Kokrajhar and have kept their promise to us. As a result a seventh game, that too a quarter-final knockout of the Durand Cup will be held here for the very first time. We are very grateful and such magnanimity will only do wonders to the already cordial civil-military relationship, existing in the Bodoland region.

“Like everyone here, I too will be rooting for our favourite Bodoland FC boys, however, we look forward to competitive and exciting football matches in the coming days and wish all visiting teams and guests a wonderful time at Kokrajhar,” he added.

Assam Sports Minister Gorlosa said, “We have seen last year how a tournament like the Durand Cup brought the entire Kokrajhar together and this year, thanks to the leadership of our Chief Minister and the Chief Executive Member, it promises to be bigger and better here. Boro has done a tremendous job with the infrastructure here and Kokrajhar is now firmly established on the footballing map of India, thanks to his tireless efforts. I wish the football-loving youth and fans of Kokrajhar a wonderful time supporting your local heroes, while also appreciating good football from all quarters.”

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Of the six groups, Group E, comprising ISL sides North-East United FC (NEUFC) and Odisha FC along with BSF, besides the local Bodoland FC team, will be based in Kokrajhar.

The first match is scheduled to kick off at the SAI Stadium between the popular Bodoland FC and NEUFC, in what can be dubbed as an all-Assam derby, on July 30.

All matches of the Durand Cup will be broadcast live on the Sony Sports Network and can also be live-streamed on the SonyLiv OTT platform.

A total of 24 teams, including two Services teams from Nepal and Bangladesh, will be seen in action across 43 matches, which will be played in the four host cities of Kokrajhar, Shillong, Jamshedpur (last two named making their debut as host cities) and Kolkata. Kolkata will also host the grand final at the hallowed Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK) on August 31.

–IANS

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