Friday 15 December 2017

In brief: Mediate lines up rare victory

GOLF: Rocco Mediate edged closer to his first PGA Tour victory in eight years by grabbing a three-shot lead in yesterday's second round of the Frys.com Open in San Martin.

A stroke in front of the chasing pack overnight, Tour veteran Mediate fired a sparkling six-under-par 65 for a 13-under total of 129 at CordeValle Golf Club. The 47-year-old American needed a total of only 23 putts as he ended a sunny day three ahead of Japan's Ryuji Imada, who carded a 67.

Former world number one David Duval fired a bogey-free 65 to lie four shots off the pace, level with fellow American Dean Wilson (64).

Mediate, who won the most recent of his five Tour titles at the 2002 Greater Greensboro Classic, was delighted to be in a good position to end his victory drought on the US circuit.

"I want it," he said. "I want to be able to go out tomorrow and see what I got. I can't wait."

Backing for Ponting

CRICKET: Australia coach Tim Nielsen has backed Ricky Ponting amid calls for the Tasmanian to relinquish the Test captaincy ahead of the Ashes starting next month.

"While we haven't had some of the results we would have liked, there's no doubt in my mind, or anybody's mind inside the group that Ricky is the right man to lead the team," Nielsen said. Ponting has been under fire in the wake of Australia's 2-0 test series loss to India.

Meanwhile, Warwickshire new boy William Porterfield says he would surrender the Ireland captaincy if he had a chance to play Test cricket for England.

"It would obviously be a nice situation to be in if you're getting the call," Porterfield said. "I'm looking to play Test cricket so I think it's a call you'd be doing well to turn down."

He will be looking to follow batsmen Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott into the five-day game.

Stoner on pole in Oz

MOTO GP: Australia's Casey Stoner has claimed pole position for Sunday's Australian Grand Prix, boosting his chances of winning his home Moto GP event for the fourth straight year.

He edged Spanish world champion Jorge Lorenzo, on a Yamaha, by six tenths of a second. Ben Spies of the US, also on a Yamaha, was third.

Yankees blast back

BASEBALL: The New York Yankees erupted for five runs in the eighth inning as they overcame a 5-0 deficit to beat the Texas Rangers 6-5 in Friday's opening game of the American League Championship Series.

Game Two of the series will be played tonight in Texas.

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