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Thursday 20 September 2018

Portrush shock US PGA contender

GOLF: Royal Portrush has emerged as a surprise contender to stage the US PGA Championship if the PGA of America goes ahead with plans to stage the event outside the United States.

The PGA of America confirmed last month that a committee is studying the impact of holding the event around the world, with the earliest possible date in 2020.

It had been thought that Asia would be the most likely venue, but PGA of America president Ted Bishop told Golf Channel's 'Morning Drive' programme that he was interested in Portrush.

"Royal Portrush would be a great first international major," he said. "I think given the powerful effect that Irish golfers have on the professional game today, that might be a good place to start."

The R&A denied reports this summer that the Open Championship was set to be held at Portrush in either 2018 or 2019. R&A chief executive Peter Dawson admitted earlier this year that Portrush is "a fantastic golf course," but concerns remain over the infrastructure required to stage a major and Dawson feels the current nine-course Open rota is "about right".

The Northern Irish course has not hosted a major since the 1951 Open, but the Irish Open was a huge success there in 2012.

Meanwhile, Kevin Phelan's chances of securing a European Tour card for next season are still alive after another impressive round in the final stage qualifying event at the Catalunya Resort. Phelan shot a two-under-par 70 around the Stadium Course to leave him on seven-under par for the tournament with an aggregate 349 going into the final day.

 

STIRLING STARS FOR IRISH

CRICKET: Paul Stirling's Man of the Match performance ensured Ireland got their defence of their T20 crown off to the perfect start as they beat Namibia by 34 runs.

Having been inserted by Namibia, Stirling and William Porterfield both benefitted from dropped catches to set the Irish innings up with an opening stand of 84 in just 53 balls. Stirling made 52 from 36 balls (4 fours, 2 sixes), while Porterfield proved the perfect foil with 33 from 25 balls.

The Irish top five all contributed with Kevin and Niall O'Brien making 28 and 26 respectively, while Gary Wilson (20) provided some late impetus, striking consecutive boundaries in the final over to help Ireland to an above par 166 for 5 at the halfway stage of the game.

Meanwhile, A deafening roar greeted Sachin Tendulkar yesterday in Mumbai at his home ground as India's favourite son walked out to bat in his farewell Test to a guard of honour from his opponents.

Tendulkar's 200th Test match, against West Indies, at the Wankhede Stadium will also be his last, as the 'Little Master' brings the curtain down on a glittering 24-year career at the age of 40. He remained unbeaten on 38, ensuring he will shoulder the weight of expectation – as he has done every time he has stepped on the field – for at least one more time as fans will flock to the stadium expecting another big innings from him today.

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