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The Malaysian Insider :: Sports

Pacesetting Donald on course to become world number one

Posted: 23 Apr 2011 08:19 PM PDT

Luke Donald of England watches his tee shot on the fourth hole during final round play in the 2011 Masters golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club on April 10, 2011. — Reuters pic

HILTON HEAD ISLAND (South Carolina), April 24 — Luke Donald recovered from a faltering start to remain one shot clear after The Heritage third round yesterday, staying on track to become world number one for the first time.

Briton Donald, who will take over at the top of the rankings if he triumphs at Harbour Town Golf Links on Sunday, fired a one-under-par 70 for an 11-under total of 202.

Jim Furyk, who won last year's title in a playoff, was second after carding a 69, a stroke in front of fellow American Scott Verplank (67) and Zimbabwe's Brendon de Jonge (66).

Englishman Donald, one shot ahead overnight, double-bogeyed the par-five second after hitting his tee shot out of bounds but fought back on a blustery afternoon to retain control of the PGA Tour event.

The world number three mixed three birdies with a bogey to reach the turn in level-par 36 and picked up one more shot at the par-four 16th, where he struck a superb approach to three feet and knocked in the putt.

Furyk had been tied for the lead with Donald playing the last but his second shot bounced over the green into a bunker from where he failed to get up and down to avoid a bogey.

Donald, who claimed his maiden PGA Tour victory at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in February, is bidding to become the fourth world number one in less than six months.

He will leapfrog top-ranked Martin Kaymer, who is not playing this week, and number two Lee Westwood even if the latter wins the Indonesian Masters because the Heritage carries more ranking points than the Asian Tour event.

Westwood, deposed as number one by German Kaymer earlier this year, can regain the top spot with a victory in Indonesia if Donald fails to win at Hilton Head. — Reuters

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Dortmund put title party on hold after away loss

Posted: 23 Apr 2011 07:07 PM PDT

Borussia Moenchengladbach goalkeeper Marc Ter-Stegen saves the ball during his team's 1-0 victory over Borussia Moenchengladbach in their German Bundesliga first division match in Moenchengladbach on April 23, 2011. — Reuters pic

BERLIN, April 24 — Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund put title celebrations on hold yesterday after a surprise 1-0 defeat at relegation-threatened Borussia Moenchengladbach cut their lead to five points.

Dortmund are on 69 points with second-placed Bayer Leverkusen, who beat Hoffenheim 2-1, on 64 with three matches remaining.

Cameroon's Mohamadou Idrissou snatched the winner in Gladbach when he beat marker Neven Subotic to slot in 10 minutes before the break as the hosts, desperate for a win that would boost their chances of staying up, showed no signs of nerves.

Gladbach coach Lucien Favre had prepared his team well against Dortmund's lethal offense and they allowed only one big chance in the first half when Robert Lewandowski was sent through by Mario Goetze but goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen stood his ground to protect their one-goal lead.

Goetze hit the crossbar midway through the second half as the visitors poured forward and Marcel Schmelzer saw his 20-metre shot palmed onto the post by ter Stegen.

The result lifted Gladbach off the bottom spot for the first time since mid-November.

"We did not make Gladbach run enough," said Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp. "We were not calm enough in our game but we clearly improved in the second half. A draw would have been deserved," he said.

Leverkusen, aware that a draw or defeat would kill their own faint title hopes, recovered from a goal down when left-back Michal Kadlec drilled in a header just before the break to cancel out Gylfi Sigurdsson's 28th minute strike.

A defensive blunder by Ryan Babel in the 51st minute allowed Leverkusen's Arturo Vidal to chip to Stefan Kiessling, the striker chesting it down for the Chilean, who had no trouble firing the hosts into the lead from inside the box.

"This was a tough week for us because the Bayern Munich (5-1 defeat last week) was still in our bones," said Leverkusen assistant coach Peter Hermann, replacing boss Jupp Heynckes who has been ill for much of the week.

Last-gasp penalty

"We found it hard going in the first half but based on the number of chances we had in the second we deserved to win."

Fourth-placed Bayern Munich needed an 89th minute penalty by top scorer Mario Gomez to rescue a 1-1 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt and move a point behind third-placed Hanover 96, who are on 57.

The two teams are locked in a battle for a Champions League qualification spot.

Frankfurt had taken the lead early in the second half through a Sebastian Rode shot and missed a golden chance from five metres with Fanis Gekas before Gomez netted his 23rd league goal of the season, converting the penalty just before the end to snatch a point for the reigning champions.

"We are bitterly disappointed because in such a situation you just have to win," said Bayern interim coach Andries Jonker. "When you travel to a relegation-threatened team then you have to come back with the three points."

Champions League semi-finalists Schalke 04 failed to build some confidence ahead of their first leg against Manchester United next week, slumping to a 1-0 home defeat against Kaiserslautern, who moved up to 12th on 37 points.

Werder Bremen and VfB Stuttgart also took major step towards staying up with wins over St Pauli and Hamburg respectively.

Hanover beat Freiburg 3-1 on Thursday. — Reuters

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