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Friday 15 December 2017

Bjorn looks for boost ahead of Ryder Cup

Golf: Thomas Bjorn (pictured) is the only member of Europe's Ryder Cup team competing in the KLM Open this week and the Dane is also scheduled to make it three tournaments in succession before Gleneagles in next week's Wales Open.

The 43-year-old has not played in the contest since 2002 but qualified automatically and said: "It's brilliant. You go through the qualifying process and there is so much going on in your head. You obviously try to put it at a distance but it is always there. You are always asked questions.

"Once that is over you have to come down a little bit and then build yourself up again. It's a mentally tough time because the last few events of qualifying are big events.

"It's draining so you have to come down and build yourself up to the level again.

"I'm using these weeks to get myself ready and hopefully in the process of that I can play some decent stuff. There's always a balance of how you do that. Some guys take the time off and go in fresh.

"I like to be on a run of tournaments and I normally play well on the back end of a run.

"The danger is if you don't play well you can play yourself out of confidence.

"It is there at the moment as it has been a good year. I'm just trying to get in there with a chance to win tournaments and have that confidence going into the Ryder Cup."

Selby battles way past Ken

SNOOKER: Ken Doherty bowed out of the Shanghai Masters, losing 5-2 to world champion Mark Selby, while Mark Allen progressed to a round-two meeting with Mark Williams.

Doherty qualified for the first round after a wildcard win over Chinese amateur Huang Jiahao and made Selby work hard for his win.

Selby raced in to a 3-0 lead but a break of 68 in the fourth saw the Dubliner take the frame. The world number one took the next before Doherty won the sixth, 70-51, but Selby was not to be denied and clinched the game with victory in the next frame.

Antrim's Allen, ranked world number nine, meanwhile, held on to claim a 5-3 win over Andrew Higginson after the Englishman drew level at 3-3.

Kwiatkowski claims the lead

Cycling: Michal Kwiatkowski seized the Tour of Britain race lead by stealing a stunning stage four victory in Bristol.

The Pole Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) won the sprint for the line at the end of the 184.6-kilometre route from Worcester to take the yellow jersey.

Holland's Albert Timmer (Giant-Shimano) was frustrated with second after being prominent throughout the stage and Belgium's Dylan Teuns (BMC Racing) was third.

The time bonus which accompanied the win saw Kwiatkowski move three seconds ahead of Edoardo Zardini (Bardiani CSF) in the overall standings.

Teuns is third, Ireland's Nicolas Roche (Tinkoff-Saxo) sits fourth after finishing sixth yesterday, 14 seconds behind, with defending champion Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) sixth, 27 seconds adrift, ahead of Thursday's fifth stage in Devon.

Ireland through to last four

Polo: Ireland beat England 7-6 at the European Polo championships in Chantilly, France to go through to the semi-finals, which take place tomorrow.

Max Hutchinson and Sebastian Dawnway were Irish scorers, with both sides having beaten both Austria and Spain in the competition so far.

Irish team captain Sebastian Dawnay said: "I am pleased with the way the team played and even though England is a strong team, I felt it was all to play for.

"On Friday we are up against either France or Italy, depending on who wins League A."

Ireland: Sebastian Dawnay (Team Captain), Richard Fagan, Max Hutchinson, Stephen Hutchinson. First Reserve: Patrick Ephson.

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