Masters: Nick Dougherty hoping for a McIlroy Slam, but American challenge is strong | Golf News

first_img Rory McIlroy is confident his game is in the right place heading into The Masters as he reiterated that limiting mistakes will be especially vital. One player who has never had a distance problem is Rory McIlroy, and as much as I’d love to see him complete the Grand Slam of major titles, I’m not sure it will be this year.Rory is more “under the radar” this week with so much attention directed at Bryson, and he’s said he’s happy to not be the main focus ahead of the one major that eludes his collection.After he won the third leg of the Grand Slam at The Open in 2014, he finished in the top 10 in each of the next four Masters tournaments, although he lost his way a little last year and managed only a tie for 21st. But he’s generally been fantastic, and clearly one of the premier players at Augusta over the last 10 years. There are so many home players to get past even before you add tournament-favourite Bryson DeChambeau into the mix, so it’s going to be really tough for the British contingent to emulate Lyle, Faldo, Woosnam and Willett.There’s no doubt they’re capable, they’ve all got big golf games and Augusta always offers the opportunity to step out from the crowd and put in an inspired performance. But it needs something extra special to get across the line here.One thing in favour of the less-experienced players this week could be the absence of patrons. Any major championship is ramped up by an atmosphere that can be so big, powerful and often overwhelming for the uninitiated – and no more so than at Augusta National. “As strong as the British and Irish challenge is, the Americans are looking pretty formidable right now. DJ, Cantlay and Schauffele all look good, and there are so many home players to get past even before you add Bryson DeChambeau into the mix” Last Updated: 12/11/20 6:19am As strong as the British and Irish challenge is, the Americans are looking pretty formidable right now. Dustin Johnson looked in great form last week in Houston, Patrick Cantlay beat a very strong field at the Zozo Championship, and Xander Schauffele has not finished outside the top-25 in his last 11 starts and went so close to Masters glory last year. Can the British and Irish challengers upstage a powerful home contingent at the Masters this week? Nick Dougherty explains the magnitude of that challenge …Only four British golfers have made the trip to the Butler Cabin to be presented with a Green Jacket, so what are the chances of making that a “famous five” this week?Tyrrell Hatton certainly has great form coming into the Masters, but his record at Augusta National isn’t the best. In three appearances, he’s yet to crack the top 40, but he’s in great shape to improve on that this week. Get Sky Sports Golf for just £10 a month All four days of The Masters exclusively live. Get our £10 golf offer. Find out more here. World No 1 Dustin Johnson could deny Rory McIlroy this week – Advertisement – He’s been tipped by many to lead the British challenge, but I’d lean towards the more experienced players in the field. Lee Westwood has had a great year and still hasn’t given up hope of winning that elusive major, and I’m expecting a good week for Justin Rose.He hasn’t had the best of years and has slipped to 28th in the world rankings, but he’s got a cracking record at Augusta. Runner-up twice, including that play-off defeat to Sergio Garcia in 2017, three other top-10 finishes and he’ll be determined to atone for his first missed cut in the tournament last year.- Advertisement – Experience is likely to be a big factor at Augusta Experience is likely to be a big factor at Augusta

Other Sports Valtteri Bottas pips Lewis Hamilton to pole position in historic Chinese Grand Prix

first_img Shanghai: Valtteri Bottas pipped Lewis Hamilton to pole position for Sunday’s milestone Chinese Grand Prix in a dominant Mercedes front-row lockout. Sebastian Vettel was third-fastest for Mercedes’ arch-rivals Ferrari for the race in Shanghai, the 1,000th grand Prix in Formula One. Bottas, who leads the world championship by a point ahead of title-holder Hamilton after two races, scorched to the best time of one minute 31.547 seconds. That was just 0.023 secs ahead of Hamilton, the Briton who has been wrestling with his Mercedes and has voiced concern about Ferrari’s superior straight-line speed.Mercedes though appear to have the edge on the corners.    “The car has been really good this weekend and Lewis also improved a lot in qualifying, it was super close,” said the flying Finn Bottas, who is beginning to climb out of the shadow of his more famous team-mate.RELATED    Vettel, the four-time world champion who has been in the spotlight after a series of unforced errors stretching back to last season, was 0.301secs off Bottas.    The German this time got the better of his decade-younger Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc, who is fourth on the grid and failed to so far to match his performance last time out in Bahrain. Fifth was Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and sixth his team-mate Pierre Gasly.    The young Dutchman Verstappen was infuriated after traffic prevented him from clocking a final, flying lap, and made his anger clear in an expletive-filled message over his radio.    Seventh and eighth were the Renault duo of Daniel Ricciardo — last year’s victor in China — and Nico Hulkenberg.    Bottas though is the man in form, going fastest in the last two practice sessions after Vettel topped the times in first practice.    Bottas had also gone quickest in Q1, but five-time world champion Hamilton was marginally faster in Q2. Hamilton, who snatched victory in Bahrain after Leclerc’s Ferrari failed, said that he had been “struggling with the car so I was just battling the thing”, despite joining Bottas on the front row.    “Valtteri was particularly quick in the first sector so I was experimenting throughout the session,” said the 34-year-old, a five-time winner in Shanghai.Hamilton conceded that “Valtteri’s been stellar all weekend”.    Bottas took a clear victory in the season-opening race in Melbourne and grabbed a bonus point for the fastest lap to take the edge in the early standings.    Albon smash     A notable casualty in Q2 was former world champion Kimi Raikkonen, the Alfa Romeo veteran who is a crowd favourite in China. Earlier, Toro Rosso’s Alexander Albon lost control and smashed at high speed towards the end of final practice, so did not take part in qualifying.    The 23-year-old rookie climbed gingerly out of his wrecked car, but only after a huge scare that drew gasps from the crowd in Shanghai.    The Thai-Briton, who is in his first season in F1, careened into a wall as he entered the straight with less than 10 minutes left of third and final practice.    His car was badly mangled and there was a frantic call from engineers asking if he was okay.    He was later given the all-clear but missed qualifying because his ruined car could not be fixed in time.    Albon said that he had been “a bit too greedy”. “I was obviously pushing, trying to find the limits, but it should have been in qualifying, not FP3 (third practice),” he said. highlights The Chinese Grand Prix will be the 1000th race in Formula One history.Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari was third.Valtteri Bottas won the Australian Grand Prix.center_img For all the Latest Sports News News, Other Sports News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.last_img read more

Zenith B’ball League Star, Akashili, Relishes Football Stint

first_imgFinal Phase in semisFemale basketball star, Nkechi Akashili, would have ended up lacing the boots for a top football club in the country or somewhere else in Europe.But her love for the dunking game won her over from the wish of her father.Nkechi’s father had wanted the player currently making waves at the ongoing Zenith Bank Women Basketball League to play soccer but her passion for basketball did not allow her. Beautiful Nkechi started going to basketball courts by following her elder sister, Sunnychi Akashili who played the game years back in the ancient city of Warri.“I started playing the game in 2009 at Warri at the secondary school level, but did not get the approval of my father who wanted me to be a footballer.“But when we won the All Nigeria Secondary School Milo title and came back home with cartons of Milo drinks and the ticket to represent the country at the World Secondary Championship in Argentina, my father changed his mind started supporting me,” she revealed.On her return from South America, Akashili moved to Asaba to join the Delta State basketball team, Delta Force.She hardly played two seasons at Delta Force before the prying eyes of scouts from First Deepwater caught up with her and she moved to Lagos.She won the Zenith Bank Most Valuable Player (MVP) award with Deepwater at her first outing before First Bank came for her signature.The University of Lagos graduate says she is not in a hurry to be a mother.Nkechi said she would be looking forward to win her sixth Zenith Bank Women Basketball League title this weekend in Lagos.“I have won it five times in the past and will be gunning for the sixth this weekend,” Nkechi who is aspiring to go abroad soon to continue with her exploits in the game said.Meanwhile, the ongoing final phase of the 2017 Zenith Basketball League enters crucial stage today as finalists are expected to emerge after the semifinal matches this evening.RESULTSFirst Bank 83-40 GT 2000Dolphins 69-64 PlateauIGP Queens 61-60 Delta ForceShare this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more