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Wednesday 16 January 2019

In brief: Rustiness set to cost G-Mac placing after Yang reversal

GOLF: Graeme McDowell's chances of moving up to third spot in the world rankings took a hit after he lost to YE Yang in the last 16 of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship at the Ritz-Carlton Resort.

The Ulsterman went down by 3&2 to the 2009 US PGA champion in a scrappy encounter.

Following a four-week break from the game, McDowell struggled all week to shake the rustiness from his game. And that proved to be the difference coming down the stretch as he lost by 3 and 2 to Yang, who played the last four holes in an estimated four under par.

The defeat also places a question mark over McDowell's potential rise to third in the world when the rankings are updated on Monday.

Victory in Tucson would have propelled McDowell as high as number two, yet, while he can still become number three, that now depends on Luke Donald failing to win the title here.

The Englishman, yet to be behind in any game, followed wins over Charley Hoffman and Edoardo Molinari with a 3&2 victory over 17-year-old Matteo Manassero yesterday.

Yang will now meet Matt Kuchar in the quarter-finals following the American's 2 and 1 win over Rickie Fowler.

German Martin Kaymer (pictured above), who needs to reach the final to take the world number one spot off Lee Westwood, faces 47-year-old Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez in another of the quarter-finals. Jimenez demolished Ben Crane 8&6 the day after the American had beaten Rory McIlroy 8&7, while Kaymer came from two down after 12 to defeat Hunter Mahan on the 17th.

Bubba Watson caused an upset when he battered two-time winner, Geoff Ogilvy, 6&4. The semi-finals have been brought forward to today due to Sunday's forecast of heavy rain.



Porterfield promises to bounce back

CRICKET: Ireland captain William Porterfield has vowed that his side can bounce back in the World Cup after gifting a 27-run victory to Bangladesh in their first match yesterday.

The leading non-Test nation messed up their chase of Bangladesh's modest 205 all out and were dismissed for 178 in 45 overs in the day-night game at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium.

"It's not hard to work out where we lost this game, we let ourselves down with the bat," said Porterfield, 26, who plays for Gloucestershire in English county cricket.

"After 50 overs it was pretty good and we did really well to claw back after the first five or six overs with the ball.

"You can't afford that many soft dismissals throughout a tournament, let alone an innings, but we've just got to bounce back from this, we can't get too down.

"We've got a lot of cricket still to play in this tournament. We've showed glimpses of what we can do and we've batted well in the two warm-up games coming into this tournament.

"We have to leave the batting here and move on to Bangalore," the captain said ahead of the next Group B match against England on March 2.



Heffernan's added to indoors team

ATHLETICS: The Irish team for the European Indoor Champion-ships in a week's time has been increased by one to eight with the inclusion of Cork 400m runner Marian Heffernan (Togher AC). The selectors felt her winning time of 54 seconds flat at last weekend's Irish Indoors was a strong indicator of form; Heffernan reached the semi-finals of the last European Indoors in 2009 and ran 53:55 outdoors last season.

NBA: Indiana 84 Utah 95, Philadelphia 110 Detroit 94, Toronto 92 Phoenix 110, Charlotte 110 Sacramento 98, Cleveland 115 NY Knicks 109, Miami 121 Washington 113, Minnesota 81 New Orleans 95, Orlando 111 Oklahoma City 88, San Antonio 106 New Jersey 96, Golden State 79 Atlanta 95, LA Lakers 108 LA Clippers 95, Portland 107 Denver 106 (OT).

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