Europe in narrow Royal Trophy win over Asia
Chonburi (AP) - Europe pulled out a victory against Asia Sunday
in a tightly fought Royal Trophy matchplay event, with Henrik Stenson
picking up a shot on the final hole to secure an 8½ to 7½ victory.
Thongchai Jaidee had a putt on the final hole to take the match into a
playoff but came up just short. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Stenson’s singles opponent Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand had a 15-foot
putt on the 18th to take his match and square the three-day event at 8-8
to force a playoff, but the ball came up inches from the hole. The
Swede, ranked 7th in the world, then sank a seven-foot putt to square
the match and give Europe victory in the three-day event.
“All credits to my team for fighting. We all contributed at least one
point this week,” European captain Colin Montgomerie said.
“Congratulations to my team. Good start for European golf.”
Asia’s non-playing captain Naomichi “Joe” Ozaki captain praised the
Europeans but said he was “pleased” with his team’s performance. He said
he remained convinced until the end the two teams would end in a
“Actually, I had a vision that Thongchai would make a putt on the 18th
hole and we would go to the playoff,” Ozaki said. “Unfortunately it
The roller-coaster match saw Asia take the early lead Friday but fall
behind after Saturday’s four-ball competition.
Europe team members pose for photographs after defeating the Asia team
at the 4th Royal Trophy men’s team tournament at the Amata Spring
Country Club course in Chonburi province, southeastern Thailand, Sunday,
Jan. 10, 2010. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Asia entered the final day a point down but appeared poised for a
victory after claiming 3½ points to 1½ over the first five singles
matches. Charlie Wie of South Korea, Koumei Oda of Japan and Jeev Milkha
Singh of India won their matches respectively against Simon Dyson of
England, Alexander Noren of Sweden and Robert Karlsson of Sweden.
But then Spain’s Pablo Martin and Denmark’s Soren Kjeldsen won their
matches, setting the stage for the final match.
Down by three after nine holes, Stenson fought back to even the match
with three holes to play. Thomchai, inspired by the cheering crowds,
retook the lead on the 17th hole with a clutch birdie putt from
Knowing he needed to win the match to force a playoff between the two
teams, Thomchai pushed hard on the 18th only to come up short. Stenson
coolly made a 7-foot par putt after Thomchai missed his 15-foot par
“I was three down after 10 and I had to dig deep and really find
something to make it even,” Stenson said. “I told the boys I wasn’t
playing great, but said maybe I could find something if I had to - and I
Clijsters wins all-Belgian
final over Henin
Brisbane, Australia (AP) - Kim
Clijsters hung on to win a momentum-swinging
all-Belgian final at the Brisbane International
in a vintage finish last Saturday to Justine
Henin’s comeback tournament.
Clijsters, only five tournaments into her own
comeback which has already netted the U.S. Open
title, saved two match points and then wasted
three before clinching 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (6) over
the seven-time Grand Slam titlist.
Clijsters celebrates after winning her final
match against Justine Henin during the Brisbane
International Tennis Tournament, Saturday, Jan.
9, 2010. Clijsters won the match 6-3, 4-6, 7-6
and donated her prize money to the Royal
Children’s Hospital in Brisbane. (AP Photo/Rob
Henin immediately withdrew from this week’s
Sydney International, saying she had strained
her upper left leg and didn’t want to risk
further trouble ahead of her Grand Slam return
at the Australian Open, which starts Jan. 18 in
Clijsters started strongly and led by a set and
4-1 before Henin, who struggled early and had
two double-faults to open her first service
game, staged a dramatic rally.
Henin, playing in the top tier for the first
time since she quit while holding the No. 1
ranking in May 2008, won the next eight games to
take a 3-0 lead in the third.
Clijsters rallied to 3-3, then gave up a break
and faced two match points in the 10th game.
Clijsters held her nerve and, 15 minutes later,
held her arms in the air, celebrating what she
thought was a championship-winning backhand down
the line in the tiebreaker - but the umpire
Henin got back to 6-6 in the tiebreaker but then
double-faulted to give Clijsters a fourth match
point. She made no mistake this time, with a
forehand that Henin couldn’t get.
“Huh, what a match!” Clijsters told the crowd at
Pat Rafter Arena. “I think we set the bar pretty
high for ourselves for the rest of the year.
“It’s a great tournament to start the year with.
I couldn’t be happier with myself.”
The top-seeded Clijsters closed Henin’s lead in
career head-to-heads to 12-11, ending the
three-match winning streak that Henin was on in
2006 - maintaining a sequence in which no player
won more than three straight.
Organizers say attack on Togo team won’t impact World Cup
Johannesburg (AP) - World Cup organizers are confident that the fatal
bus attack on the Togo team at the African Cup of Nations in Angola last
week should not impact on the tournament in South Africa later this year.
national soccer captain Emmanuel Adebayor is helped by an unidentified team
member from the bus that was attacked by gunmen in Cabinda, Angola, Friday,
Jan. 8, 2010. (AP Photo/TPA via APTN)
At least three people died and several more were injured when gunmen opened
fire on the Togo team bus on Friday. Togo captain Emmanuel Adebayor said
that soon after their convoy entered Cabinda, a northern enclave cut off
from the rest of Angola by a strip of Congo, “from nowhere gunmen began to
open fire on our bus.” He said the gunfire lasted 30 minutes before Angolan
soldiers repulsed the assailants.
Rich Mkhondo, media manager for World Cup 2010 organizers, said the incident
would not impact preparations for the 32-team tournament that begins June
11. To suggest otherwise, he said, would be like saying that such an
incident in the Czech Republic, for example, would have an impact on an
event in Britain.
“We wish to state that there is no link between what happened in Angola and
South Africa’s preparations to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup,” Mkhondo said.
“We also cannot compare organization and security in Angola with South
Africa just because the two countries happen to be in the same region in the
Because of South Africa’s notorious crime rate and the possibility that
football hooligans from around the world may be among an estimated 450,000
fans headed for the country for the World Cup, security is already a major
concern for organizers.
But they note South Africa has hosted trouble free events such as the
Confederations Cup and the rugby and cricket World Cups and the continent
had no trouble at other FIFA competitions.
“Africa has successfully hosted three successful FIFA events in the last
eight months - the FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa and the Under-17
and Under-19 World Cups in Nigeria and Egypt,” Mkhondo said.