Superb start for Shubhankar, lying fifth in Dutch Open; Gandas 44th
Shubhankar Sharma shrugged off his recent disappointments with a stunning 5-under 67 in the first round of the KLM Dutch Open, placing him inside the top-5 at the DP World Tour event.
Sharma’s round of 67 was his best in relation to par since his opening round of the year, when he shot a similar 67 at the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship where he finished tied-seventh.
In the first round of the Dutch Open, where he was T-14 a year ago, Sharma had five birdies, an eagle hole out from the bunker and two bogeys.
India’s other player in the field, Manu Gandas (71) was T-44 with four birdies against one bogey and one double bogey.
Sharma was four behind Spaniard Jorge Campillo who posted a brilliant nine-under opening round of 63 to take a three-stroke lead. The Spaniard, who won his third DP World Tour title at the Magical Kenya Open, made the most of calm morning conditions to race into the lead at Bernardus Golf.
Senior PGA Championship: Modest start for Atwal as Harrington leads with 64
Arjun Atwal, playing his first senior Major and only his second event on the Champions Tour, got off to a modest start at one-over 73, which gave him a good chance of making the weekend cut at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship.
Atwal, the only Indian to have won on the PGA Tour, was tied for 54th, but Jeev Milkha Singh, playing his third Senior Major, had a rough day as he shot 4-over 76 and was tied-113th. He will need a solid second round to make the cut.
Ireland’s Padraig Harrington, a three-time Major winner, got off to a hot start with an 8-under 64 for a two-shot lead. The 51-year-old Irishman made the cut at Oak Hill at the PGA last week.
Atwal, who started on the back nine, birdied the 12th but gave that gain away on the 13th. A birdie on Par-5 18th saw him turn in one-under. His next holes were action-packed as he did not have a single par.
He birdied third, fourth and eighth and bogeyed first, second, fifth, sixth and seventh and closed with a par on the ninth. At 1-over he is on the cut line.
Jeev birdied first and seventh and bogeyed third and fourth to turn in even par. On the back nine, he had four bogeys and no birdies.
Chasing Harrington was Senior PGA debutant Japan’s Katsumasa Miyamoto, who shot 66 with seven birdies and one bogey and he was second.
Brazilian Adilson da Silva had a 67 on his Senior PGA debut as did Phillip Price at PGA Frisco’s Fields Ranch East course.
Stewart Cink, who turned 50 less than a week ago, carded 68 and was alongside Miguel Angel Jimenez, Robert Karlsson, Thomas Bjorn, Alex Cejka, Charlie Wi and Richard Green in Tied-fifth.
Steve Stricker, who won the season’s first PGA TOUR Champions major two weeks ago with his second consecutive Regions Tradition title, and defending champion Steven Alker shot 70. Justin Leonard, seeking his first PGA TOUR Champions title, shot 71.
Harrington was bogey-free and had four birdies on either side of the course as he played with Rocco Mediate (69).
Harrington won four times in his PGA Tour Champions debut season last year, including the U.S. Senior Open and the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship. He has four top 10s in five starts this season.
There were two aces. The first came from Dave McNabb (78) on the 161-yard eighth hole, and Corey Pavin (71) had one at the 183-yard fourth.
Aditi wins her 2nd match, stays in hunt for knockout berth in LPGA matchplay
India’s Aditi Ashok recovered from the opening day reversal to claim a win over USA’s Caroline Inglis in the second match and stay in the hunt for a spot in the knockout stage of LPGA Match-Play.
Aditi, who lost her first match on the 18th hole, won her second match against Inglis as she held off the American to win 1-up.
The 25-year-old from Bengaluru has now won one match and lost one as have the other three players in the group.
The hugely talented Jennifer Kupcho, who opened with a loss to Inglis, beat Perrine Delacour, who had beaten Aditi 1-up in the first set of matches. Kupcho won 2&1.
Aditi meets Kupcho, and Inglis meets Delacour in the last set of matches in Group 10 of the 64-player tournament.
The 64 players have been divided into 16 groups and the winner of each will move to the knockout stage to be played over the weekend.
Coming off two Top-5 finishes on the LPGA including a loss in the play-off in the JM Eagle championship, Aditi won her fourth title on the Ladies European earlier this season and leads the LET Order of Merit.
Aditi won the third hole but lost the fourth and again won the seventh but lost the ninth as she and Inglis were tied at the turn.
The Indian won the 11th only to see Inglis tie again on the 14th. A par on the 15th and a birdie on par-5 16th put Aditi 2-up with two to go. Inglis fought back again to win the 17th but they parred the Par-5 18th as the Indian won the match.
Switzerland’s Albane Valenzuela defeated top-seeded American Lilia Vu 2-up as the fight for round-of-16 berths became intense.
Valenzuela improved to 2-0 with her win over Vu, the highest-ranked player in the field at fourth in the world and winner of her first major title at the Chevron Championship last month.
China’s Lin Xiyu, the highest-ranked player in her group, suffered a second straight defeat with her 3&2 loss to Thailand’s Pajaree Anannarukarn.
Defending champion Ji Eun-hee, who had opened with a victory on Wednesday, lost to Canadian Maddie Szeryk 3&2.
Valenzuela was among 10 players to improve to 2-0, a group that also included American Ally Ewing -- winner of the inaugural edition in 2021 -- and 2022 runner-up Ayaka Furue of Japan.
Three-time major winner Anna Nordqvist of Sweden notched her second-straight win, leading 4-up before holding on for a 1-up win over Lauren Coughlin. Sweden’s Maja Stark also won her second-straight match, downing Liu Yu of China 2&1.
India makes final of NSC CAVA Women’s Volleyball Challenge Cup
The Indian senior women’s volleyball team entered the final after beating Uzbekistan by 3-0 sets (25-17, 25-20 & 25-15) in the semifinal match on Friday of the “CAVA Women’s Volleyball Challenge Cup 2023” held at Kathmandu, Nepal.
India’s blockers Soorya and Aswini, attacker Anushree and setter Jini were exceptional in the win against Uzbekistan. India will face the winner of the second semifinal between Nepal and Kazakhstan in the final on May 28.
BAI to conduct trials for Badminton Asia Junior Championship
The Badminton Association of India (BAI) will be conducting the selection trials for the highly-anticipated Badminton Asia Junior Championships 2023 at the Karnail Singh Stadium in New Delhi from June 4-7.
One of Asia’s most prestigious junior badminton tournaments, which is scheduled in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, from July 7-16, provides a remarkable platform for young talents to showcase their skills and compete against the best players from across the continent. The tournament serves as an excellent opportunity for young Indian shuttlers to gain valuable international exposure and further their development in the sport.
The players will be selected on the basis of their performances in the selection trials.
The trials will include Top-8 boys and girls singles shuttlers, as well as Top-4 pairs from doubles events from the All India Junior Ranking Badminton Tournament, held in Guwahati earlier this month, along with Top-4 singles players and Top-2 doubles pairs in the BAI rankings.
Anwesha Gowda (4), Anupama Upadhyaya (8), Unnati Hooda (14) and five other players, who are ranked inside Top-20 in BWF rankings, will also take part in the trials and look to secure their places in the Indian team.
Trap shooter Bhowneesh in joint lead at Almaty World Cup
Olympic quota winner Bhowneesh Mendiratta shot 73 out of 75 to be in joint lead after three rounds of trap, with four others, in the Shotgun World Cup in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on Friday.
Bhowneesh shot 25, 23, and 25. Khaled Almudhaf of Kuwait, Giovanni Pellielo of Italy, James Willett of Australia, and Alberto Fernandez of Spain were the others in the lead with him.
Zoravar Singh Sandhu (71) and Prithviraj Tondaiman (70) were in the 18th and 27th place in a field of 69 shooters, respectively. Two more rounds will be followed by the final for the top six on Saturday.
In women’s trap, Shreyasi Singh (70) did well to stay close to the top five with a series of 22, 25, and 23. Olympic champion Catherine Skinner of Australia led with 73.
Manisha Keer (65) and Preeti Rajak (61) found themselves in the 23rd and 30th spots, respectively.
National sub-junior championship: Paparkar beats second seed Kshitij
Arnav Paparkar sustained his strong run as he beat second seed Aradhya Kshitij 6-3, 6-4 to make the boys final of the Ramesh Desai Memorial National sub-junior tennis championship at the KDLTA Complex on Friday.
In the final, Arnav will challenge title aspirant Samarth Sahita, who eased past Praneel Sharma for the loss of four games.
In the girls section, Sai Janvi set up a title fight against Rishitha Basireddy.
The results (semifinals):
Under-16 boys: Samarth Sahita bt Praneel Sharma 6-4, 6-0; Arnav Paparkar bt Aradhya Kshitij 6-3, 6-4.
Under-16 girls: Sai Janvi bt Nainika Bendram 6-3, 6-4; Rishitha Basireddy bt Prisha Shinde 6-1, 7-6(2).
AITA National Series juniors: Vansh to go up against Rishi in title clash
Vansh Nandal beat Manish Yadav 6-4, 6-2 to set up a title clash against Rishi Sadeeshkumar in the AITA national series under-18 tennis tournament at the Joygaon Academy on Friday.
Vansh partnered Manish to win the doubles title, beating Kavin Karthik and Rishi Sadeeshkumar.
The girls final will be between Samaira Malik and Samiksha Dabas.
Under-18 boys (semifinals): Rishi Sadeeshkumar bt Keshav Goel 7-6(3), 6-1; Vansh Nandal bt Manish Yadav 6-4, 6-2.
Doubles (final): Manish Yadav & Vansh Nandal bt Kavin Karthik & Rishi Sadeeshkumar 6-2, 5-7, [10-6].
Under-18 girls (semifinals): Samaira Malik bt Srijana Thapa 4-6, 6-3, 6-4; Samiksha Dabas bt Divya Sharma 7-6(3), 6-3.
Balaji, Jeevan in Challenger final
Top seeds Sriram Balaji and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan beat Filip Bergevi and Jason Taylor 6-3, 6-4 in the doubles semifinals of the €73,000 Challenger tennis tournament in Skopje, Macedonia, on Friday.
In the final, the Indian pair will play the Czech duo of Petr Nouza and Andrew Paulson.
In the $15,000 ITF event quarterfinals in Addis Ababa, Rishab Agarwal missed three match points in the second tie-break and was down 0-2 in the decider before winning 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-3 against Digvijay Pratap Singh.
€73,000 Challenger, Skopje, Macedonia
Doubles (semifinals): Sriram Balaji & Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan bt Filip Bergevi (Swe) & Jason Taylor (Aus) 6-3, 6-4; Quarterfinals: Balaji & Jeevan bt Karol Drzewiecki & Kacper Zuk (Pol) 6-3, 6-4.
$15,000 ITF men, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Singles (quarterfinals): Rishab Agarwal bt Digvijay Pratap Singh 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-3; SD Prajwal Dev bt Nitin Kumar Sinha 6-2, 7-6(2); Eric Vanshelboim (Ukr) bt Karan Singh 6-2, 4-6, 6-3; Pre-quarterfinals: Eric Vanshelboim bt Chirag Duhan 6-1, 6-1; Benjamin Lock (Zim) bt Parth Aggarwal 6-4, 6-2.
Doubles (semifinals): SD Prajwal Dev & Nitin Kumar Sinha bt Akram El Sallaly & Faris Zakaryia (Egy) 6-3, 6-4; Alec Beckley & Kris Van Wyk (RSA) bt Ishaque Eqbal & Karan Singh 4-6, 6-3, [10-7]; Quarterfinals: Ishaque & Karan bt Benjamin Torres & NicolasValdes (Chi) 6-3, 6-3; Prajwal & Nitin bt Yash Chaurasia & Jagmeet Singh 6-3, 6-1.
$25,000 ITF women, Monastir, Tunisia
Singles (quarterfinals): Gabriele Knutson (Cze) bt Sahaja Yamalapalli 6-3, 6-2.
$15,000 ITF women, Recife, Brazil
Singles (pre-quarterfinals): Smriti Bhasin bt Emma Van Poppel (Ned) 7-5, 6-1.
Srinivasa Rao given top billing at Cusat chess
M. Srinivasa Rao, a FIDE Master from Andhra Pradesh, has been given the top billing in the 32nd Cusat all-India FIDE-rated chess tournament, which begins at the Cochin University campus on Saturday.
Sreyas Payyapat, a 14-year-old from Kerala, is the second seed. Nearly 450 players will be seen in action in the four-day, eight round tournament, which carries a total prize fund of Rs 3 lakh.
Delhi FC secures maiden I-League berth
Delhi FC defeated Ambernath United Atlanta FC 3-1 to emerge second division champion and gain promotion to I-League for the first time here on Friday.
Playing in its debut second division season, the Mumbai-based Atlanta FC needed a point at the Minerva Academy Ground in Chandigarh to win the title.
But a brace from Bali Gagandeep and an audacious strike from Vanlalhriatzuala scripted a memorable afternoon for the hosts Delhi FC.
The capital side had previously made it to the I-League Qualifiers Final Round in 2021 but finished third and missed out on the promotion.
However, there was redemption and scenes of pure joy when Delhi FC finally got the job done and booked their berth in the I-League for the first time ever.
After an opening half-an-hour of sustained pressure, Delhi opened the scoring in the 34th minute with a fine team goal.
Skipper Balwant Singh released Fahad Temuri in acres of space down the left wing, and the youngster charged forward before squaring the ball into the box for Bali Gagandeep to side-foot it home at full stretch.
However, Atlanta FC, who barely threatened in the first half, came out strong after the break and equalised in the 48th minute with a move similar to the Delhi goal.
But it wasn’t to be the Mumbai side’s day, as parity only lasted eight minutes. Gagandeep struck again for Delhi, rising highest in the six-yard box to head in Bhupinder Singh’s brilliant delivery from the corner.
Although Steven Dias’ Ambernath United Atlanta only needed a goal to take pole position again and spoil the hosts’ party, they just couldn’t find any inspiration in the final third.
Eventually, two minutes from time, Vanlalhriatzuala sealed the deal for Delhi FC with a sensational 35-yard strike, which curled right into the top corner.
The 22-year-old had attempted a similar shot in the first half which came off the crossbar, but there was no denying him this time.
A top-notch goal to secure the top spot in the table for Delhi FC.
The other 2nd Division match between hosts FC Bengaluru United and United SC was a dead rubber, the former ran out 1-0 winners.
Irfan Yadwad scored the only goal, thus taking his season’s tally to 13 goals to finish as the league’s top scorer.
Atlanta FC and FC Bengaluru United finished third and fourth respectively with six points each.
United SC was bottom of the table with three points.
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