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The Malaysian Insider :: Sports


Els holds off Goosen to win South Africa Open

Posted: 19 Dec 2010 05:45 PM PST

DURBAN, Dec 20 — South Africa's Ernie Els held off a strong finish from compatriot Retief Goosen to secure a one-shot victory at the South African Open yesterday.

Els claimed his fifth South African Open title thanks to a final-round six-under-par 63 to finish on 25-under 257 at the Durban Country Club in the 100th edition of the tournament.

Goosen could not halt Els's charge to victory as he also carded a final round six-under-par 63 to end on 24-under-par.

Els looked to have shut the door on Goosen thanks to a snaking 15-foot putt that resulted in an eagle on the 527-yard par-five 14th hole.

The eagle helped Els to a four-shot lead with four holes to play but Goosen hit back as he birdied the 16th, 17th and 18th holes but the 41-year-old Els held his nerve to close out the victory with four consecutive pars.

Els, ranked 12th in the world, began the final round holding a one-stroke lead over Goosen and he was quickly out of the blocks as he picked up three birdies with just one bogey on the front nine.

The 41-year-old Goosen fought back with three birdies in four holes from the seventh hole to the 10th.

However, Els's eagle on the 14th proved to be the difference as he completed rounds of 65, 65, 64 and 63 to claim the title.

In all Els helped himself to five birdies and an eagle with just one bogey marring his card while Goosen picked up seven birdies and a bogey after he struck his tee shot left into a thick bush and was forced to take a drop on the par-five third.

Els said his bogey on the eighth had caused a few flutters.

"I felt in control until I three-putted on eight for bogey and that threw me even though I made some good putts especially for eagle on 14," he told a news conference.

Els may have walked off with the €158,500 (RM652,000) first prize but he said Goosen had made him work hard for the victory.

"I knew Retief was going to come hard but I didn't know he would come so hard," he said. "We go back a long way, we played junior golf together in 1983. He is a great player and he showed it again by finishing with three birdies."

British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen was third on 21-under-par after a final round six-under 63 while fellow South African Charl Schwartzel was fourth on 18-under.

The leading foreigners were Briton Robert Rock and Frenchman Romain Wattel who finished tied for fifth on 16-under.

Heavy overnight rain meant organisers reduced the competition to 70 holes after the weather rendered the par-three fourth hole unplayable. The decision meant that the final two rounds were contested on a par-69 course instead of par-72.

The tournament has been plagued by bad weather with only 21/2 hours of play possible on the opening day, which resulted in the organisers having to schedule 36 holes for the final day. — Reuters

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Leaders beaten in Italy, Germany football leagues

Posted: 19 Dec 2010 03:54 PM PST

Christmaas comes early for Bundesliga top scorer Theofanis Gekas as he scores the only goal for Eintracht Frankfurt, to break Borussia Dortmund's 15-match unbeaten run. — Reuters pic

LONDON, Dec 20 — AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund stayed top in Italy and Germany despite 1-0 defeats at the weekend.

Barcelona cruised to a 5-1 win over neighbours Espanyol in Spain to stay two points clear of Real Madrid, who struggled past Sevilla 1-0. Wintry weather decimated the Premiership programme in England.

Italy

Leaders AC Milan slipped up, losing 1-0 at home to AS Roma, allowing Lazio and Napoli to cut the gap at the top to three points with victories.

Lazio beat Udinese 3-2 in a thrilling encounter and Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani fired in deep into stoppage time to give Napoli a 1-0 home win over Lecce.

Ten-man Juventus could have joined the duo on 33 points but Sergio Pellissier netted a late goal to grab a 1-1 draw for Chievo.

Seventh-placed champions Inter Milan did not play as they were involved in Saturday's Club World Cup final against TP Mazembe, winning 3-0. Coach Rafa Benitez's outburst about the club's lack of signings has sparked media speculation he will be sacked before Serie A resumes from its mid-season break on January 6.

Germany

Borussia Dortmund's 15-match unbeaten run, including eight away wins on the trot, ended in a 1-0 defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt where Bundesliga top scorer Theofanis Gekas scored the only goal.

Dortmund, with 43 points from 17 games, go into the winter break 10 clear of Mainz 05, who won 4-2 at St Pauli, and Bayer Leverkusen, who drew 2-2 with Freiburg. Mario Gomez scored a hat-trick against his former club to help Bayern Munich win 5-3 at VfB Stuttgart, where Bruno Labbadia was making his league debut as the hosts' third coach of the season.

Spain

Barcelona made light of a tricky derby at Espanyol to win 5-1 ensuring they went in to the La Liga winter break two points clear at the top of the standings.

Pedro and David Villa scored two apiece, the other being added by Xavi, as the champions made it ten wins in a row in all competitions with another sparkling display on Saturday.

The pressure told on second-placed Real Madrid as they struggled to beat Sevilla 1-0 at the Bernabeu on Sunday, Angel Di Maria rescuing them with a late goal after they had had Ricardo Carvalho sent off just after the hour.

Barca have 43 points from 16 matches, Real 41 and Villarreal are third with 33 after a 3-1 home win over Real Mallorca.

England

England's freezing temperatures served up a Premier League title twist over the weekend as yesterday's much-anticipated clash between champions Chelsea and leaders Manchester United was postponed along with a host of other fixtures.

Second-placed Arsenal's match at home to Stoke City was also called off because of snow, leaving Manchester City with the prospect of spending Christmas in top spot if they beat Everton at Eastlands today.

Just two matches were played on Saturday, with Sunderland moving up to sixth courtesy of Danny Welbeck's winner against Bolton Wanderers, and bottom club West Ham United drawing 1-1 at Blackburn Rovers.

France

Lille remained top of Ligue 1 despite having their game against Nancy called off due to heavy snow in the north of France.

Lille, who have 31 points from 17 games, lead on goal difference from Paris Saint Germain, who were held 2-2 by struggling Monaco, and Rennes, who beat Valenciennes 1-0.

Olympique Lyon missed the opportunity to go top after a 1-1 draw at Olympique Marseille. Lisandro Lopez opened the scoring for the visitors against the run of play before diminutive midfielder Mathieu Valbuena levelled shortly after the interval.

Lyon extended their unbeaten run to eleven matches but still slipped to fourth on 30 points, two ahead of Marseille who have taken only three points from their last four games. Only four points separate Lille from eighth-placed Toulouse.

Portugal

Goals from Argentina defender Nicolas Otamendi and Brazilian forwards Hulk and Walter gave leaders Porto a 3-0 away win over Pacos Ferreira that took them into the Christmas break unbeaten and with an eight-point lead.

Second-placed Benfica put in one of their best performances of the season to beat Rio Ave 5-2 at home, with Argentine midfielder Eduardo Salvio scoring two and his compatriots Pablo Aimar and Javier Saviola netting one each.

Netherlands

PSV Eindhoven went into the winter break with a four-point lead at the top of the Dutch league after beating Roda JC Kerkrade 3-1 in the only one of yesterday's games to survive the icy weather.

Jeremain Lens put PSV ahead in the fifth minute but Anouar Hadouir levelled 19 minutes later with a curling free kick. Substitute Marcus Berg restored PSV's lead eight minutes after the break before Balazs Dzsudzsak settled the match.

PSV are top with 41 points from 19 matches, four more than champions Twente Enschede who have a game in hand after Friday's match against Heracles Almelo was postponed due to heavy snow.

Greece

Leaders Olympiakos went five points clear at the top with a 1-0 win at Larissa.

Olympiakos took advantage of a slip-up by second-placed Panathinaikos as the champions suffered a shock 1-0 home defeat to mid-table Olympiakos Volos on Saturday, Argentine Vicente Monje scoring in the 78th minute. — Reuters

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