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Canada’s Corey Conners reaches group of 16 for Match Play weekend

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AUSTIN, Texas — Jon Rahm lost his match and still made it to the weekend. Scottie Scheffler needed only 14 holes to win his match against Matt Fitzpatrick, and then six more to beat him in a playoff.

The third full day of endless action in the Dell Technologies Match Play finally ended Friday when Collin Morikawa drove the green on a par 4, this one not nearly dramatic as his shot that won the PGA Championship but still effective in getting him through group play.

Sixteen players remain for the knockout stage that begins Saturday morning, all of them knowing that three days of tense matches mean nothing going forward.

“Now it’s real,” Abraham Ancer said after squeezing by Webb Simpson. “Now you’re for sure not advancing if you don’t win.”

Rahm had that luxury by winning his opening two matches. He was sloppy on the back nine in losing to Patrick Reed, who played his best golf after already being eliminated. But the world’s No. 1 player avoided a playoff in his group when Cameron Young also lost.

Seamus Power also lost his match, but by then he was already assured of winning his group. The Irishman got another reward: By reaching the fourth round, Power is assured of staying in the top 50 and getting into the Masters.

Four of the groups were decided in extra holes.

There are no tiebreakers, and three players who won their match had to return to the first tee for sudden death against the player they just beat.

Scheffler had the toughest time. Takumi Kanaya felt the most fortunate.

Scheffler had to beat Fitzpatrick to have any chance, and that was the easy part in a 5-and-4 victory. They had to wait more than two hours for all the matches to go off before their playoff began. They matched birdies on No. 1, pars on the next three holes and birdies on the fifth. Scheffler finally won on the par-5 sixth when he holed a 6-foot putt after Fitzpatrick missed from about 15 feet.

“I knew the rules,” Scheffler said of going extra holes after beating Fitzpatrick in the match.

“I didn’t know we had to wait so long to come back for the playoff. I was a bit surprised with that. I would have loved to have just kept going the way I was playing in the beginning, and Matt did a really good job of regrouping, and he came out and played some really nice golf in the playoff.”

His reward is a fourth-round match against Billy Horschel, who beat Scheffler in the championship match last year.

Rahm faces Brooks Koepka, who narrowly avoided a playoff. Koepka was tied with Shane Lowry on the 18th when he hit a 45-yard pitch off packed dirt well left of the 18th green to 8 feet and made the birdie putt for a 1-up victory.

Kanaya was in the same predicament as Scheffler. He had to beat Lucas Herbert of Australia, and he ended the match in 14 holes.

On the first hole in the playoff, Kanaya found a fairway bunker and could only advance to some 90 yards short of the hole — Herbert with a good drive was just outside that with his second shot. Kanaya used the slope expertly for a shot to 2 feet, and Herbert three-putted from 18 feet above the hole to lose the match.

He’ll face Canadian Corey Conners in knockout play. Conners topped Alex Noren in 16 holes to advance.

Kanaya is No. 56, the lowest seed still playing, but not my much. And considering his going to the Masters in two weeks, he isn’t the biggest surprise.

That would be Richard Bland of England, at 49 the oldest player in the field and the No. 54 seed this week. Bland started his Match Play debut by halving his match with Bryson DeChambeau. On Friday, he beat Lee Westwood to win the group.

Bland last year became the oldest first-time winner in European tour history. With one more match victory, he might be headed to his first Masters.

“It’s just my time. That’s all I can put it down to,” Bland said. “But I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts.”

Will Zalatoris, known for his iron game, knocked out Viktor Hovland with his putter. Zalatoris made putts of 12 feet on the 16th and 18th holes, the last one giving him a 1-up victory to tie the Norwegian in group play.

In the playoff, Zalatoris made a 10-foot birdie on No. 1 _ Hovland made his from 6 feet _ and another 10-footer on No. 2 to advance.

Dustin Johnson, Kevin Kisner and Tyrrell Hatton were among five players who won all their matches. Kisner, who has won and been runner-up at the Match Play, looked tougher than ever in taking down Justin Thomas. Kisner was 6 under through six holes and shot 28 on the front nine to build a 5-up lead. He closed him out on the 15th hole.

“It had to be a 10,” Kisner said when asked to rate his performance.

He moved on to face Adam Scott, who had no trouble beating Jordan Spieth to advance to the weekend for the first time since 2005. His record isn’t as bad as that would suggest.

“It’s hard to get there when I don’t play in the event,” Scott said with a smile. He hasn’t been to the Match Play since 2016. He liked it better at La Costa, especially in 2003 when he went 19 holes before losing to Tiger Woods.



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Women’s League Cup round-up: Birmingham City upset Brighton, West Ham held by London City Lionesses | Football News

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Birmingham City caused an upset in the Women’s League Cup by beating top-tier Brighton in the first round.

Libby Smith scored the opener before Jade Pennock then made it two shortly after the break.

Brighton pulled a goal back through Lee Geum-Min but Lucy Quinn extended Birmingham’s lead once again.

Danielle Carter added an 89th-minute penalty but it proved to be only a consultation as the Championship side picked up the three points.

Brynjarsdottir spares West Ham’s blushes

Meanwhile, West Ham picked up two points after beating London City Lionesses in a penalty shootout

West Ham had looked on course for defeat but a last-minute equaliser from Dagny Brynjarsdottir spared their blushes and salvaged a draw.

And after the 2-2 draw, the Hammers secured an additional point with a 10-9 penalty shootout win.

Wins for Spurs and Liverpool

In an all-WSL affair, Tottenham beat Reading 2-1 thanks to goals from Ashleigh Neville and Nikola Karczewska.

Elsewhere, Leicester beat Blackburn 3-0 and Liverpool secured a 1-0 win against Sunderland.

Durham and Sheffield United shared the spoils after a thrilling 3-3 draw with Durham picking up the additional point, winning the penalty shootout.

In Sunday’s other games, Lewes beat Charlton, Bristol City secured a 4-0 win at home to Crystal Palace and Coventry United defeated Southampton.





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Cardinals’ J.J. Watt plans to play just days after having his heart shocked back into rhythm

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JJ Watt says he’s playing Sunday, just days after having his heart shocked back into rhythm.

JJ Watt says he’s playing Sunday, just days after having his heart shocked back into rhythm.
Image: Getty Images

Arizona Cardinals’ defensive end J.J. Watt posted an alarming Tweet Sunday morning just hours before kickoff of the team’s game on the east coast against the Carolina Panthers. Watt stated that some news about him had been leaked and was going to be reported today. Immediately, most who caught this tweet were probably racking their brains and thinking, ok, what happened? From there, Watt went on to explain the following.

“I went into A-Fib on Wednesday, had my heart shocked back into rhythm on Thursday, and I’m playing today. That’s it.”

Wow! I don’t think anyone expected to hear that about Watt. Everyone is relieved that Watt is out of the hospital and seemingly “alright,” but the fact that he plans to play in this game today only four days after having his heart shocked back into rhythm is scary.

If the Cardinals won’t do it, someone from the league office or the NFLPA needs to step in and force him to sit this game out. After what we’ve seen in the past week, with Tua Tagovailoa suffering two concussions in less than five days, Watt needs to be held out of Arizona’s game today.

No, Watt didn’t sustain an injury to his head, but his heart was shocked so it would work properly. Even if Watt was cleared by his own independent doctor, precautions should be taken just in case. Yes, it’s football, we know that, and everybody is tough. You have to be tough to make it in the NFL, but these players also need protection from themselves regarding their health. It doesn’t matter if atrial fibrillation isn’t “considered” too serious. Take extra precautionary measures and be careful.

Last week, during coverage of the Tua incidents, multiple former NFL players were asked about head injuries along with others and if they’d ever lied to get back into a game. The answer was a resounding YES. Former Patriots and Chargers All-Pro safety Rodney Harrison went on Dan Patrick’s show and admitted to lying about head injuries and others. Harrison says he lied every time he had an injury to continue playing.

Rodney Harrison Discusses Tua’s Injury, Shares How Often He Lied About Injuries | 09/30/22

Patrick also told a story about Steelers legend Hines Ward grabbing his ankle after getting his “bell rung” because he didn’t want to come out of a game. It doesn’t matter if it’s the head or the heart. If it involves either, that player should be further evaluated and forced to sit out a game. We can’t continue to gamble with these guys’ lives.

If Watt ends up playing at 4:05 p.m., it could be the biggest story of the day on the heels of what happened with Tagovailoa over the last week. Left up to them, NFL players will choose to play virtually every time. The league doesn’t want bad PR, yet they continue to invite it at every turn.

The NFL is too concerned about trivial matters like players celebrating or not wearing the “correct” socks. The league fined Lions running back Jamaal Williams for a touchdown dance last week that may have been a little too provocative for their liking. A player can be put in harm’s way after clearly looking concussed and allowed to play a few days later, but heavens forbid a black player offends their audience by swiveling his hips after scoring, à la Ravishing Rick Rude. The NFL needs to be more concerned with the well-being of its players and protecting them as they claim.

Hopefully, someone steps in and talks some sense into Watt or takes the decision out of his hands.





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F1: Sergio Perez wins hectic Singapore Grand Prix as Max Verstappen misses first chance to seal title

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A heavy downpour 30 minutes before the scheduled start time led to an hour-long delay and the first wet start in Singapore since 2017 – when a first corner crash wiped out a Red Bull and two Ferraris, including title contender Sebastian Vettel.

There was no such flying debris at the start this time around but still drama aplenty as Perez leapt past pole-sitter Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton lost out to Carlos Sainz for third.

Verstappen, starting eighth, found himself bogged down off the line and had only recovered to ninth when a safety car was required on lap eight.

Nicholas Latifi, recently confirmed to not be staying in F1 next season, squeezed Guanyu Zhou, who is, into the wall at Turn 5 and both were forced to retire.

Verstappen was quickly up to seventh at the restart before Fernando Alonso, in his record-breaking 350th start, put up stout resistance for his next overtake.

Alas, the Spanish veteran’s Alpine could not match its driver’s longevity and his engine blew on lap 21. A string of virtual safety cars was then began with Alex Albon hitting the wall shortly after the green flag and Esteban Ocon’s engine popping once racing had resumed once more.

The prime time to swap to slick tyres began to dominate thinking as the second hour began on the two-hour limit, with 61 laps a far too ambitious total (perhaps even in the dry).

Hamilton, pushing Sainz for third, came in too hot at Turn 7 and headed straight into the barrier. Fortunately for the Brit, the damage was merely a broken front wing and he clambered out between the sparring Lando Norris and Verstappen.

Moments later, the trigger was pulled by the remaining cars (George Russell aside, who while struggling from a pit-lane start leapt for slicks far too early) and Hamilton was left in ninth place.

Yuki Tsunoda became the sixth retiree after sticking his AlphaTauri in the barrier fresh on Medium tyres, prompting a second full safety car and the fifth interruption to an already-delayed race.

Verstappen, who could have won the title in Singapore had a series of events gone drastically different, locked up lunging at Norris for fourth place and darted down the escape road. Having to pit, he was last for a brief moment before Russell suffered a puncture when giving Mick Schumacher a bump as he overtook the German.

Finally, with half an hour to go, a proper race for the lead broke out. Now on slicks, Leclerc dragged Perez into his crosshairs.

Singapore’s propensity for being a tough circuit to overtake at helped the Mexican survive an onslaught from the Ferrari but Leclerc began to make errors and Perez broke DRS to build out a comfortable lead.

Red Bull came into the weekend with some hope of crowning Verstappen as champion at the chequered flag but it instead heralded a second win of the season for Perez, with a lowly finish of seventh for the championship leader reducing his chances of getting the job done in Japan next week, too.



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