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Wednesday 23 August 2017

Golf: Rory McIlroy has already described winning the Ryder Cup as putting the icing on the cake of an amazing season, but more cake could be on the cards in the Dunhill Links Championship.

Golf: Rory McIlroy has already described winning the Ryder Cup as putting the icing on the cake of an amazing season, but more cake could be on the cards in the Dunhill Links Championship.

As well as victory in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, McIlroy won the Open Championship, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and US PGA Championship in consecutive appearances this summer.

The world number one then helped Europe win the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles and admitted the celebrations were so extensive that he has no idea how he ended up pictured topless, wearing a mini-kilt and bright red wig on Sunday evening. And yesterday, he was voted PGA Tour player of the year for the second time in three seasons. However, the 25-year-old will be back in action straight away in the pro-am event staged over the Old Course at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns, and has extra motivation to win it for the first time.

"It's a tournament that I have played well at but never been able to win," said McIlroy, whose amateur partner is his father Gerry (pictured). "I finished third in 2007 (enough to gain his European Tour card in his second event as a professional), second in 2009 and second again in 2011. I've been close so it would be nice to win, especially as it's my dad's 55th birthday on Sunday. If we can make the cut in the team event and be able to walk around St Andrews on his birthday and me have a chance to win the tournament as well, it would be very special."

Djokovic outlines No1 aim in China

Tennis: Men's top seed Novak Djokovic maintained his perfect China Open record but Caroline Wozniacki's hopes of qualifying for the year-ending WTA Finals in Singapore took a hit after she crashed out.

World number one Djokovic needed 85 minutes to overcome Canadian Vasek Pospisil 6-3 7-5 in the second round and extend his China Open record to 21-0. Djokovic, eyeing a fifth title at Beijing, boosted his hopes of securing the year-end number one ranking.

"You work all your life and you dream about becoming the No. 1 in the world, the best in what you do," Djokovic said. "It's definitely always the highest priority out there with winning Grand Slams. That gives me plenty of motivation. It would mean, of course, a lot to me."

Wozniacki needed to win the Beijing title to definitely qualify for Singapore but was troubled by the sharp-serving Stosur, who broke her in the seventh game to claim the first set and saved five set points in the tiebreak before closing it out 6-4, 7-6 (11-9).

Hamilton's 'still hunting' Rosberg

Motor Sport: Despite deposing Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg as Formula One leader, Lewis Hamilton still sees himself as very much the hunter rather than the hunted as he chases a hat-trick of victories in Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix.

Hamilton took a three-point lead in the standings after winning in Singapore last month. With five races to go, and double points on offer in the finale in Abu Dhabi, the title duel between the two is wide open even if Hamilton now has the momentum.

"I don't think in my head that I am leading the championship. I still feel that I'm 20 points behind or whatever. I still feel like I'm chasing. I still feel like I'm hunting so that's a good feeling."

White withdrawn after finger fracture

Cricket: Craig Young took five wickets and top scored with an unbeaten 37 but it wasn't enough to stave off another comprehensive defeat for Ireland against Queensland in the second game of their tour.

Young took three early wickets to reduce Queensland to 30 for 3, but a fourth wicket partnership of 79 between Simon Milenko (41) and skipper Jason Floros (30) put the home sides innings back on track.

George Dockrell broke the stand when he trapped Floros lbw, and when Peter Chase (4-52) removed the impressive Milenko shortly afterwards, Ireland were back in contention with Queensland 110 for 5.

The defining moment of the innings came just six runs later when Young dropped James Bazley at long-on from the bowling of Dockrell.

Bazley took full advantage of the reprieve to smash 90 from just 58 deliveries (9 fours, 5 sixes), taking the game away from Ireland.

Killester draw holders Demons in cup

Basketball: Killester landed defending champions Demons in the Men's National Cup first round draw, which was made yesterday.

Men's National Cup Round one: UCD Marian v Neptune; UL Eagles v Dublin Inter; DCU Saints v Templeogue; Belfast Star v Travelodge Swords Thunder; Killester BC v C&S UCC Demons.

Women's National Cup Quarter-finals: Courtyard Liffey Celtics v Killester; UL Huskies v Maxol WIT Wildcats; Singleton's SuperValu Brunell v Team Montenotte Hotel Cork; DCU Mercy v Meteors.

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