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May 20, 2017



Bits and Pieces

Johnson tames gusting winds to challenge for lead


IRVING, Texas: World number one Dustin Johnson battled through tricky afternoon winds to post a three-under-par 67 and challenge for the lead after the opening round of the AT&T Byron Nelson in here on Thursday.

Reigning US Open champion Johnson is gunning for his fourth win in six outings.

Hahn rolled in a 20-footer to birdie the 18th for his share of the lead, while fellow early starter Barnes rode to the top of the leaderboard on the strength of five birdies on the front side.

Tied for second on four-under-par 66 were Americans Matt Kuchar, Jason Kokrak and Cameron Tringale, along with Venezuelan Jhonattan Vegas.

Australian world number four Jason Day, who had the misfortune of rolling off the green at the 16th after hitting the stick with his approach shot, made a long birdie at 18 gave him a two-under 68 to tie for 14th with 11 others including two-times major winner and local favourite Jordan Spieth.

Defending champion and Masters winner Sergio Garcia bogeyed the last to finish the round at TPC Las Colinas at the Four Seasons Resort with a three-over 73. The Spaniard was tied for 93rd and will be pressed to make the cut.


Disgraced Italian pair face sack for doping: team

TORTONA, Italy: Disgraced Italians Stefano Pirazzi and Nicola Ruffoni face the sack by their Bardiani team after confirmation of positive doping tests that saw the pair thrown out of the Giro d’Italia.

Second-division Bardiani, one of four “wildcard” invitations to the 100th edition, were stunned on the eve of the start in Sardinia earlier this month following news the riders had tested positive for growth hormones.

They were immediately thrown off the race and now face the sack after their “B” samples also tested positive for the performance enhancer.

“With regards to the official communication received from the UCI that confirms the positivity of the analysis of B samples belonging to Stefano Pirazzi and Nicola Ruffoni, Bardiani CSF Pro Cycling announces the start of proceedings to dismiss both athletes, in accordance with the team’s ethics charter and the contract signed by all riders on the team,” said a team statement on Friday.

“Bardiani reserves the right to proceed with legal action against Pirazzi and Ruffoni to protect the image of the team and its sponsor.”


Unbeaten Crawford to defend title in Garden debut

NEW YORK: Unbeaten double world junior welterweight champion Terence Crawford defends his crowns against former Olympic champion Felix Diaz on Saturday (today) at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Crawford, 30-0 with 21 knockouts, will try to retain the World Boxing Council and World Boxing Organization titles by dispatching Dominican top-ranked challenger Diaz, 19-1 with nine knockouts.

“This is a really big fight to me,” Crawford said. “Diaz is a worthy challenger and you can’t bring just any fight to the Garden.”

A victory could set up Crawford for a showdown with Namibia’s Julius Indongo, 22-0 with 11 knockouts, to create an undisputed champion in the 140-pound division.

The unbeaten African southpaw decisioned Britain’s Ricky Burns last month in Glasgow for the International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Association crowns.

“If I keep winning then the opportunities for even bigger fights will present themselves,” Crawford said. “I’m ready for any opportunities at 140 or 147 pounds. I want to put a show on for everyone on Saturday. I will make a statement.”


Ahsan beaten in Stortford Classic quarters

By our correspondent

KARACHI: Ahsan Ayaz lost in the quarter-finals of the $10,000 Stortford Classic Squash in Bishop’s Stortford, England, on Friday.

Unseeded Ahsan was beaten by second seed Richie Fallows of England 12-14, 2-11, 6-11 in 45 minutes.