The Malaysian Insider :: Sports

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The Malaysian Insider :: Sports

Misery for Andy Murray after another defeat by a qualifier

Posted: 25 Mar 2011 07:52 PM PDT

Andy Murray (left) walks away after congratulating Alex Bogomolov Jr at the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, March 25, 2011. — Reuters pic

MIAMI, March 26 — Andy Murray suffered a shock 6-1, 7-5 loss to American qualifier Alex Bogomolov in the second round of the Sony Ericsson Open yesterday, continuing his miserable start to the United States hardcourt season.

British world No. 5 Murray, who was ousted by little-known American qualifier Donald Young in the second round at Indian Wells earlier this month, looked badly out of sorts at Key Biscayne.

The Scotsman, who had a bye in the first round, won just 33 per cent of second-serve points against his 27-year-old opponent.

Moscow-born Bogomolov is ranked 118th in the world. — Reuters


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Britain’s Laird charges one ahead at Bay Hill

Posted: 25 Mar 2011 07:37 PM PDT


Martin Laird acknowledges the gallery at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando, Florida, March 25, 2011. — Reuters pic

ORLANDO, Florida, March 26 — Britain's Martin Laird fired a superb seven-under-par 65 to move one stroke ahead of American Spencer Levin and South Korean KJ Choi in the second round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational yesterday.

Laird, who has been based in the United States for the past decade, is searching for his second win on the PGA Tour following his breakthrough victory at the 2009 Las Vegas Open.

An eagle at the par-five 16th, the Scot's seventh hole of the day, made the difference for the 28-year-old, who sank a 30-foot putt there after hitting his second shot from the rough.

"I'm driving really well and putting really well, and ask any pro and they will tell you that's a pretty good combination to have, especially on a long course where you have to drive the ball on the fairway," Laird told reporters.

The Scotsman has quietly risen up the world rankings to 40th, but has enjoyed an excellent March, tying for 10th in the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral before finishing joint fifth at the Transitions Championship in Tampa last week.

Overnight leader Levin looked completely at home on a course that was much easier to handle today without the strong winds of the opening round.

The 26-year-old carded a 70, bogeying the par-three 14th and the short 17th before signing off with a birdie at the last for an eight-under total of 136.

Spectacular Choi

Choi had the round of the day, though, with a spectacular, bogey-free 64 highlighted by an eagle at the 16th where he made a 20-foot putt.

The Korean credited his success to a return to his trusty old Odyssey putter and to his unusual choice of including three hybrid clubs in his bag.

"The key thing was going back to my old putter — that helped so much," Choi said.

"I've always had trouble playing these par threes but I changed to the hybrids and they go far and high and I am able to stop the ball on the green. I think the strategy of going with the hybrids really paid off for me."

Steve Marino and Charles Howell III put themselves strongly in the frame for the weekend with respective rounds of 67 and 65, ending the day tied for fourth at six under with fellow Americans Hunter Mahan (69) and Vaughn Taylor (68).

Six-time champion Tiger Woods, seeking his first win since November 2009, moved into contention with a five-birdie 68, finishing six off the pace alongside Spaniard Sergio Garcia, who also carded a 68.

"I'm right there, there is a long weekend ahead of us . . . unfortunately I left a lot of putts dead centre short," said Woods. "There were about five putts that were dead centre. It could have been a pretty special round." — Reuters


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