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Jaidee takes lead in Durban as Colsaerts hits 419-yard drive

GOLF: Former paratrooper Thongchai Jaidee held a three-stroke lead over Ernie Els and Louis Oosthuizen ahead of a rain-delayed second round of the Volvo Champions at a wet and windy Durban Country Club.

However, it was not the Thai golfer's superb seven-under-par 65 that Els found himself mostly talking about afterwards, but a particular shot from Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts.

The Open champion could not believe his eyes when Europe's biggest hitter launched a drive of 419 yards at the downwind third hole. "I've been coming here since 1986 I think and I've never seen a ball there, nobody has," Els said. "They should put a plaque down. I was coming from a different zip code. And I've got to compete against these animals!"

Els had the last laugh, though. He matched his playing partner's birdie and out-scored him by five to keep his victory hopes firmly alive.

Jaidee, part of the 33-strong winners-only field thanks to his victory at the Wales Open last June, was out on his own from the time he birdied six of the first 10 holes.

The 43-year-old led by five at one point, but that was cut to three late in the day despite the two South African stars having to contend with heavy rain.

"We probably got the bad side of the draw, but that's part of golf," said Oosthuizen, who faced similar conditions during his runaway seven-shot win in the 2010 Open at St Andrews.



Qataris won't pay Tiger's fee

GOLF: Tiger Woods may guarantee packed galleries but even the oil-rich Qataris cannot afford the former world number one's appearance fee for the only European Tour event in the Gulf state.

The American's involvement at the Qatar Masters (Januaray 23-26) would cost a whopping $3 million, said Qatar Golf Association president Hassan al Nuaimi. "Tiger Woods demands $3 million just for an appearance, if he were to compete - which is not worth paying for a tournament of $2.5 million prize money," he said.



Langley heads field in Hawaii

GOLF: Rookie Scott Langley leads the Sony Open in Hawaii after the first round, carding a bogey-free eight under par round of 62.

The 23-year-old made six birdies and an eagle, leaving him one shot ahead of fellow first year pro Russell Henley.

One shot further back are Scott Piercy and Tim Clark, while Jeff Overton and Stephen Ames round out the top five at five under.

Three birdies on the opening four holes and an eagle on nine put the American five under through nine, before birdies on 10 and 16 put him level with then leader Henley. And Langley took the overnight lead with a six foot birdie on the last.



Djokovic to face Mathieu in Oz

TENNIS: World number one Novak Djokovic will kick off the defence of his Australian Open title with a first round tie against unseeded Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu after the draw was made for the first grand slam of the season.

Seeking a hat-trick of titles, Djokovic has a relatively smooth draw in the tournament starting at Melbourne Park this Monday until the top seed faces a potentially dangerous quarter-final against fifth-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych.

Four-time champion Roger Federer will also play an unseeded Frenchman when the second-seeded Swiss meets Benoit Paire in his opener with a fourth round clash against big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic likely to provide his first major test.

Andy Murray will start his campaign against unseeded Robin Haase but the third-seeded Briton is likely to have one eye on Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro, who looms as a possible quarter-final opponent.

In the women's draw, Serena Williams will start her bid for a sixth Melbourne title against Romania's Edna Gallovits-Hall, with a potential quarter-final clash against former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova awaiting her in the draw. Top seed and defending champion Victoria Azarenka plays another Romanian, Monica Niculescu.



O'Shea and Harms into semis

DARTS: Tony O'Shea and Wesley Harms booked their places in the semi-finals of the BDO World Championships with victories in the last eight at the Lakeside last night.

Fourth seed O'Shea secured his fourth semi-final appearance in five years as he defeated the fifth-seeded Robbie Green 5-3, while Harms, the eighth seed, defeated the 16th-ranked Darryl Fitton 5-2.

This mean O'Shea and Harms will meet in the last four for the second successive year. O'Shea prevailed 12 months ago en route to his second runner-up finish in the tournament.