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D.A. Points wins the Shell Houston Open

DA Points wins Shell Houston Open to book his place at the Masters

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

01:00 GMT, 1 April 2013

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UPDATED:

02:12 GMT, 1 April 2013

DA Points found form out of nowhere to claim victory at the Shell Houston Open by a shot and book his place at the Masters.

Points had missed three cuts in a row and seven of his last nine heading into the Texas event, but hit his stride straight away, claiming the lead after the first round.

And he stayed in contention throughout the week, carding a six-under-par 66 today, inclduing a pressure putt on the 18th, to hold off Henrik Stenson and Billy Horschel and win by one stroke on 16 under.

All smiles: points celebrates with his hard-earned trophy

All smiles: points celebrates with his hard-earned trophy

'It's been a realy tough year, a tough
start,' he said. 'To have a putt to win – you want that starting out
every week. I would have liked it to be a little closer, but I've been
putting really well.'

Points came out on top after a
dramatic day, which saw a host of players move in and out of contention
and was extended because of a rain delay late on.

Stewart Cink and Bill Haas went into the day as joint leaders, but neither in the end was a serious contender.

Haas dropped two shots on the front
nine and in the end finished level par for his final round, while Cink
could muster only three birdies. An eagle on the last would have seen
him into a play-off with Points, but he found sand and ended up with a
bogey to sit in a share of sixth on 13 under.

Among the other contenders, Stenson
and Horschel hit contrasting 66s and were left to see if Points would
slip up on the final hole.

Weather delay: Bad weather delayed play on the final day

Weather delay: Bad weather delayed play on the final day

Weather delay: Bad weather delayed play on the final day

Stenson needed four birdies in his
last five holes to hit the mark, while Horschel could not find the shot
he needed at the back end of the course, parring each of the last five
holes.

The good news for Stenson was that his
performance was enough to earn him a place in the world's top 50 and an
invitation to the Masters.

Adding to the drama was a near
three-hour delay in play, with only a handful of players still out on
course and Stenson the clubhouse leader, caused by a downpour in
Houston.

Points held his nerve, though, saving
par on each of his last two holes using a putter he revealed earlier in
the week was one he had taken from his mother when he was younger and
had refurbished this week in an attempt to improve his play on the
greens.

Happy days: D.A. Points celebrates winning the Shell Houston Open

Happy days: D.A. Points celebrates winning the Shell Houston Open

Get in the hole: D.A. Points celebrates his par putt on the 18th green

Get in the hole: D.A. Points celebrates his par putt on the 18th green

'I was firing on all cycliners,' he said. 'I'm proud of myself that the rain delay didn't put a stop to that.'

Dustin Johnson produced the round of
the day, a seven-under 65, to finish in a share of fourth on 14 under,
alongside Ben Crane, while a 67 saw Brian Davis finish as the leading
Briton on 13 under, two strokes aherad of compatriot Lee Westwood.

Rory McIlroy managed a third straight under-par round to finish four under overall.

He told www.pgatour.com: '[There are]
lot of positives to take from it. I've learned a few things as well that
I can bring into next week and obviously looking ahead to Augusta, too.

'It's been a productive week.'

Henning Berg wants 12th man brought on if team goes 4-0 down

You'll fit right in! Prospective new Blackburn boss Berg wants 12th man brought on if team goes 4-0 down

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UPDATED:

11:59 GMT, 30 October 2012

Wacky proposal: Berg

Wacky proposal: Berg

Potential new Blackburn manager Henning Berg has thrown his support behind a Norwegian FA idea to allow youth teams to bring on a 12th player if they fall 4-0 behind in a match.

Berg – who has been installed as the favourite for the vacant managerial post at Ewood Park – supports the proposal that is designed to even out one-sided matches by giving the losing team an extra man.

'It’s a good rule that will lead to more even matches,' said Berg, a former Blackburn and Manchester United defender who was capped 100 times by Norway.

'It’s no fun to lose 17-0. It’s no fun to win 17-0 either.'

The 43-year-old became the new favourite for the job after former team-mates Tim Sherwood and Billy McKinlay were refused permission to leave their coaching roles at Tottenham and Fulham respectively.

Names as diverse as Harry Redknapp and Diego Maradona have been considered by Blackburn's eccentric Indian owners to replace Steve Kean – who departed last month – but it is thought that they want a former Rovers player to guide them back to the Premier League.

Case for the defence: Berg in his playing days for Blackburn (above) and United (below)

Case for the defence: Berg playing for Blackburn (above) and United (below)

Case for the defence: Berg in his playing days for Blackburn (above) and United (below)

Norwegian Berg – who won the Champions
League with United in 1999 – fits the bill perfectly as he was part of the title-winning Blackburn
side of 1994-95 and has previous managerial experience in his homeland
with Lyn and Lillestrom.

Berg was a crowd favourite at Ewood Park during his four years at the club from 1993 to 1997, but Rovers fans are unlikely to be too enamoured with his wacky 12th man proposal.

Harry Redknapp wants Blackburn job – EXCLUSIVE

EXCLUSIVE: Redknapp's Rovers return! Harry in shock bid for vacant Blackburn job

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UPDATED:

08:43 GMT, 25 October 2012

Harry Redknapp has emerged as a shock contender to take over as Blackburn Rovers manager.

Sportsmail understands that the former Tottenham boss will throw his hat into the ring after he was persuaded to drop down into the Championship by Blackburn’s global advisor Shebby Singh.

Singh initially targeted young up-and-coming coaches who had played for Blackburn like Tim Sherwood and Billy McKinlay, but an outcry from supporters has convinced him to look at a more experienced option in Redknapp.

Rovers return: Harry Redknapp is ready to throw his hat in the ring for the vacant Blackburn job

Rovers return: Harry Redknapp is ready to throw his hat in the ring for the vacant Blackburn job

The 65-year-old has been working in an advisory role at his old club Bournemouth since he left Spurs in June, but sources close to Redknapp have confirmed that he would be very interested in succeeding Steve Kean and has no qualms about moving to Lancashire from his home on the South Coast.

Preliminary discussions have already taken place with his representatives and he is expected to have a formal interview at Ewood Park before the weekend.

Singh said: 'We understand that many fans are feeling frustrated. But we said from the outset that we would not be rushed into an appointment, this is too big a decision for that.'

Former West Ham boss Redknapp would represent a major coup for Singh as he strives to appease those fans and restore the club to the glory days they enjoyed under Jack Walker’s ownership.

Back of the net: Grant Hanley scores against Sheffield Wednesday

Winning ways: Grant Hanley (celebrating, below) scored in Blackburn's 1-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday at Ewood Park on Wednesday night to put Rovers within five points of Championship leaders Leicester

Happy days: Grant Hanley celebrates his goal at Ewood Park

Blackpool manager Ian Holloway and Molde’s Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remain in contention, although former Bolton boss Owen Coyle is believed to have shown little interest when he was approached earlier this week.

Despite Singh’s change of direction, Chorley manager and former Blackburn midfielder Garry Flitcroft is also being considered.

Flitcroft was in the stands at Ewood to see caretaker boss Eric Black celebrate his first win in five games since Kean’s departure.

No go: Billy McKinlay

Contender: Tim Sherwood

Outcry: Blackburn fans were not in favour of initial targets in Billy McKInlay and Tim Sherwood (R)

Black had urged owners Venky’s to install the new man as soon as possible after overseeing a disappointing run of three draws and a defeat, but at least he had something to smile about as an early goal from Grant Hanley lifted Blackburn up six places to fifth.

The Scot is expected to stay in charge for Saturday's home game against Watford and hopes the win will calm his side’s nerves.

'My only target now is Watford,' said Black.

'We have to resolve this feeling of anxiety which invites pressure, but hopefully this will make a big difference.'

Meanwhile, Blackburn are close to signing Cameron Jerome on a short-term loan deal after the striker became surplus to requirements at Stoke

Same again: Blackburn caretaker manager Eric Black is expected to remain in charge for this weekend's match against Watford

Same again: Blackburn caretaker manager Eric Black is expected to remain in charge for this weekend's match against Watford

George Groves to fight Glen Johnson on December 15 at ExCel Centre

Groves to defend title against former world champion Johnson in December

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UPDATED:

15:44 GMT, 17 October 2012

George Groves will defend his Commonwealth super-middleweight title against former world champion Glen Johnson at the Excel Arena on December 15.

The Londoner has endured an injury-interrupted year with his sole bout coming against Francisco Sierra in California in July.

Centre of attention: George Groves will faces his toughest test yet against veteran ring warrior Glen Johnson in December

Centre of attention: George Groves will faces his toughest test yet against veteran ring warrior Glen Johnson in December

Threat: Johnson will look to spring an upset in London

Threat: Johnson will look to spring an upset in London

Groves, 24, was stripped of his British belt last month but hopes to get his career back on track on the undercard of Ricky Burns’ world title defence.

Johnson lost a majority decision to Carl Froch last year and the Jamaican has been defeated twice since but will provide a stern test at the Olympic boxing venue.

‘I’ve had a tough year with a few injuries,’ Groves said. ‘I was ready to box for a world title and I believe I would have won it.

‘I’m buzzing for the fight. It’s going to be my toughest one yet. No one has an easy night against Glen Johnson.

‘He has the ability to make people uncomfortable. The ambition is to finish the fight before twelve rounds.

‘He can exploit peoples’ styles. He doesn’t get stopped and he’ll provide a physical nights work.’

Also on the card, middleweight Billy Joe Saunders will fight Nick Blackwell in a defence of his Commonwealth title and for the vacant British belt.

Burns’ opponent will be announced on Thursday.

James Graham pleads not guilty to ear bite charge

England prop Graham pleads not guilty to NRL ear bite charge

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UPDATED:

22:40 GMT, 3 October 2012

England prop James Graham has pleaded not guilty to an NRL dangerous contact charge.

The Canterbury Bulldog was on Monday cited for allegedly biting the ear of Melbourne full-back Billy Slater during Sunday's Grand Final between the two clubs.

With video evidence appearing to suggest the 27-year-old former St Helens captain had a case to answer, it was reported he would be facing a lengthy ban, possibly of up to 12 games.

Not guilty! Graham has made his plea after being cited for dangerous contact

Not guilty! Graham has made his plea after being cited for dangerous contact

That could still be the case, with his not guilty plea leaving him open to further sanction if the NRL judiciary panel tomorrow decide he has committed an offence.

Graham was named in England's 24-man squad for the autumn international series against France and Wales.

Jack Butland is after Joe Hart"s England No 1 jersey

Mine for keeps! Birmingham stopper Butland is after Hart's No 1 jersey

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 13 August 2012

This is the rise of Jack Butland: Cheltenham to Euro 2012 and the Olympic Games, to the brink of an England debut which would smash a 124-year-old record.

Yet this is a teenager who has not played competitive football higher than League Two. Headlong into the hype we go, except many sober judges of goalkeeping talent are giddy at the rapid progress of this 19-year-old from Birmingham City, who boasts a grown-up attitude, perfectly in proportion to his powerful physique.

'It has come so quick,' said Butland. 'But hopefully I've shown people I'm more mature than my age. That's important as a keeper, you have to be mature. You need experience under your belt but age is just a number.

Young lions: Ruddy (left) and Butland are set for their England debuts against Italy on Wednesday

Young lions: Ruddy (left) and Butland
are set for their England debuts against Italy on Wednesday

Record breaker

If Jack Butland plays on Wednesday he would be England’s youngest ever goalkeeper at 19 years 158 days, 64 days younger than Billy Moon, who kept goal against Wales in 1888.

'It's been a whirlwind year really. It started with the Under 20 World Cup in Colombia and then going out on loan to Cheltenham, which was something I needed to do.

'That helped me with the Under 21s and eventually put me forward for the Euros and Olympics.'

Butland was on holiday with his girlfriend in Mexico when his summer exploded and he was called into England's Euro 2012 squad after John Ruddy was injured.

Whirlwind year: Rutland was called up to England's Euro 2012 squad before competing for Team GB at the Olympics

Whirlwind year: Rutland was called up to England's Euro 2012 squad before competing for Team GB

'I turned my phone on when I got in the airport and it went mad with messages,' said Butland. 'I just said, “We have to go home”.'

He cut short his trip, but as third choice did not play. However, Roy Hodgson could hand him a first senior international cap against Italy in Switzerland tomorrow.

Eyes on the prize: Butland is after Hart's No 1 jersey

Eyes on the prize: Butland is after Hart's No 1 jersey

'Luckily I have the family around me to make sure I don't get ahead of myself, which is something I hate to see in players,' said Butland.

Butland has developed within the England youth system and featured in the Under 17 team which won the European Championship in 2010.

He was born into a rugby-loving family in Bristol and was a decent centre and No 8 before devoting his time to football at Birmingham.

'It was a two-and-a-half-hour journey on the train,' said Butland. 'I'd go to school on Monday and then jump on a train to Birmingham.

'I'd stay Monday night and train all day Tuesday, then come home, go to school on Wednesday, back up to training in the afternoon after school and train all day Thursday.

'I'd come home on Thursday and then get the train back up to Birmingham on Friday night to play for the academy sides on a Saturday.

'I'd do my schoolwork on the train and have one-on-one lessons with one of my geography teachers on Friday lunchtime to catch up on the work I missed.

'It was something I needed to do and I passed my GCSE exams with two As, six Bs and a C.'

Last Saturday, Butland played his first game at St Andrew's in a pre-season friendly and has told manager Lee Clark he wants to establish himself as Birmingham's No 1 and play '40-plus' games in the Championship this season rather than warm the bench at a top-flight club. From there, he hopes to challenge Joe Hart for his place in the England team.

Why Berne

England play Italy in Switzerland for a
‘home’ fixture because of Olympic regulations, designed to deter major
sporting events from taking place in the host city around the time of the Games.

'He's not the only goalkeeper in England and for me it's the target to test him and eventually try and take his place,' he said.

'I'm good friends with Joe, but when it comes down to it only one person can wear the shirt and hopefully I'll get that chance.'

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain became the third player to withdraw from Hodgson's squad yesterday when he reported with an ankle injury which could rule him out of Arsenal's first game of the season against Sunderland on Saturday.

Daniel Sturridge (toe) and Hart (back) have also pulled out. Joleon Lescott has been called up. Italy have also named a young squad featuring 12 uncapped players. Mario Balotelli was ruled out because of conjunctivitis.

George Groves cut sees Kenny Anderson clash scrapped

Groves Wembley showdown with Brit rival Anderson scrapped after cut

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UPDATED:

14:18 GMT, 2 August 2012

George Groves has been forced to withdraw from his proposed domestic showdown with Kenny Anderson on September 14 because of a cut.

Groves suffered the damage above his right eye in the third round of his stoppage victory over Mexican Francisco Sierra in San Jose, California in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The 24-year-old dispatched Sierra in the sixth round, but the cut will prevent him from defending his British and Commonwealth titles against Anderson at Wembley Arena.

Stopped in his tracks: George Groves suffered a cut during his victory over Francisco Sierra in San Jose

Stopped in his tracks: George Groves suffered a cut during his victory over Francisco Sierra in San Jose

It is the latest injury setback for Groves, who until Sunday had been inactive since November because of back and nose injuries.

Following Groves' withdrawal the September 14 event, promoted by Frank Warren, will now take place at York Hall

Billy Joe Saunders has been promoted to the top of the bill with a mandatory defence of his Commonwealth middleweight tile Championship against unbeaten Australian Jarrod Fletcher.

Jack Taylor dies age 82 – Jeff Powell looks back on his life

Jack Taylor, the fearless man in black: Jeff Powell looks back at the charismatic referee's life

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UPDATED:

22:22 GMT, 27 July 2012

Jack Taylor, a referee so firm and fearless that they should have made a template in which to cast the officials of today, died on Friday at the age of 82.

Typically of the large, charismatic, man from Wolverhampton, Taylor’s most controversial moments came in the biggest match of a career spanning an extraordinary 33 years.

In 1974, in the very first minute, Taylor blew for the first penalty to be awarded in a World Cup final.

Final man: Jack Taylor the 1974 World Cup final

Final man: Jack Taylor the 1974 World Cup final

And that was in Munich, against West
Germany, in defiance of the angry thousands. Holland’s Johan Cruyff had
been pulled down and Johan Neeskens converted. West Germany captain
Franz Beckenbauer told Taylor: ‘You are an Englishman.’

Twenty-five minutes later, the
official penalised the Dutch in like manner and Paul Breitner equalised.
At half-time, Taylor was confronted by Cruyff, who accused him of
levelling it up and was booked for his pains.

Taylor strenuously denied there was
any element of compensation in the decision, just as he always explained
his verdicts frankly to the media after matches whether the authorities
liked it or not.

West Germany went on to win the World
Cup, Taylor to referee more than 1,000 English league games and 100
international matches.

His other honours included the 1966 FA Cup final and the 1971 European Cup final at Wembley in which Ajax beat Panathinaikos.

Jack the giant brooked no argument on the pitch, famously keeping the fiery likes of Billy Bremner under firm control.

World Cup ref: Jack Taylor took charge of over 1000 games

World Cup ref: Jack Taylor took charge of over 1000 games

Taylor, a true gentleman

Born: Wolverhampton, April 21, 1930.

Career: 33 years, refereeing more than 1,000 games and 100 internationals in 60 countries.

Most memorable match: 1974 World Cup final between Germany and Holland, where he awarded two penalties.

Favourite anecdote: After being struck by a coin thrown from the crowd at Luton, Eric Morecambe visited him to ask if he was OK and to see if he was going to report his club. When Jack said no, the comedian replied: ‘Good, now can I have my penny back’

It would have been interesting to see
him deal with the frothing likes of Joey Barton. There would have been
only one winner there, with Taylor standing over the little upstart and
making him look ridiculous.

Yesterday Football League chairman
Greg Clarke said: ‘Jack Taylor set the benchmark for refereeing, not
just in this country but across the world and in later life he applied
the same levels of integrity, commitment and sheer love of the game to
his other roles.

‘Very few people in football can match
the contribution he made and fewer still have managed to do it whilst
retaining the respect and admiration of absolutely everyone they have
come into contact with.’

Taylor was a man for the big occasion
and it is so characteristic of him that he should pass away hours before
the flame was lit last night at the opening ceremony for the London
2012 Olympic Games.

Football in general and refereeing
associations here and around the world will be lighting a candle to the
archetypal man in black.

Nigel Llong promoted to ICC elite panel of umpires

Llong promoted to ICC elite umpiring panel to replace retiring Doctrove

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UPDATED:

12:17 GMT, 11 June 2012

Promotion: Llong is now on the elite panel

Promotion: Llong is now on the elite panel

England's Nigel Llong has been selected to join the International Cricket Council's elite panel of umpires.

Llong, who played 68 first-class matches for county side Kent as a batsman and off-spin bowler between 1990 and 1998, replaces the recently-retired Billy Doctrove in the 12-man group of the game's leading officials.

The 43-year-old has umpired in 12 Tests, 55 One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and 16 Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is); and had been a member of the ICC's international panel of umpires since 2002.

Llong and the other 11 members of the elite panel, along with Australia's Bruce Oxenford, have all been chosen to officiate in the ICC World Twenty20 tournament in Sri Lanka in September and October, the ICC release added.

Oxenford, 52, a member of the ICC's international panel of umpires, has officiated in eight Tests, 34 ODIs and 11 T20Is.

Sri Lanka's Ranjan Madugalle and Jeff Crowe from New Zealand will serve as match referees for the men's tournament in Sri Lanka, which involves the top 12 international teams, with Graeme Labrooy of Sri Lanka overseeing the women's tournament between the eight leading sides.

The appointments were made by the ICC's umpiring committee, made up of its head of cricket operations and Chief Executive-elect David Richardson, Madugalle, David Lloyd – the ex-England batsman, coach, first-class umpire and now television commentator – and India's Srinivas Venkataraghavan, the former India captain and elite panel umpire.

The members of the 12-man elite panel are Billy Bowden, Aleem Dar, Steve Davis, Kumar Dharmasena, Marais Erasmus, Ian Gould, Tony Hill, Richard Kettleborough, Nigel Llong, Asad Rauf, Simon Taufel and Rod Tucker.

The ICC World Twenty20 will take place from September 18 to October 7.

London 72 Dewsbury 4: Witt stars as Broncos run riot in Challenge Cup

London 72 Dewsbury 4: Witt stars as Broncos run riot in Challenge Cup

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UPDATED:

15:32 GMT, 15 April 2012

Michael Witt bagged a 22-point haul as the London Broncos cruised into the fifth round of the Challenge Cup by steamrollering part-timers Dewsbury.

Witt crossed for two tries and booted seven goals as the Londoners romped to a 13-try victory.

London coach Rob Powell made his intentions clear as he named a strong starting line-up for the clash, with Luke Dorn and Omari Caro stepping in to replace the injured Michael Robertson and Liam Colbon as the two changes.

Hang on: Matt Cook of Broncos is tackled by Craig Cook and Josh Tonks

Hang on: Matt Cook of Broncos is tackled by Craig Cook and Josh Tonks

For Dewsbury it was a very different matter, fielding just five of the starting 13 that began their last Championship game against Batley.

With just two wins to their name in this year's Super League campaign, the men from the capital were looking for a boost, with a quarter-final appearance back in 2007 the last time they made their mark on the Challenge Cup.

But it was the visitors who created the first opening, a neat passing move almost seeing Derrell Olpherts creep in at the corner.

That woke the hosts up, though, and the Broncos took the lead on six minutes, Antonio Kaufusi barging through some weak tackles to rumble over at the posts.

Four minutes later they added their second score, Kieran Dixon claiming a Craig Gower kick to speed over in the corner.

Out of my way: Chris Bailey of Broncos takes on Billy Harris and Josh Tonks

Out of my way: Chris Bailey of Broncos takes on Billy Harris and Josh Tonks

The game went into a lull after that, the Broncos content to stay in second gear while Dewsbury lacked the guile to create any unrest in the London ranks.

In fact it was the 22-minute mark before there was a further score, Chad Randall twisting and stretching to sneak over and push the home side into a 16-0 lead.

The fourth try was not long in coming, Dan Sarginson streaking clear to race home from the halfway line.

Dixon then added his second when he darted in at the corner from Sarginson's pass as the Broncos ran riot.

To their credit the Rams did come close to a try of their own before the break, but strong tackling from both Shane Rodney and Jamie O'Callaghan ensured Matthew Tebb was unable to ground the ball.

Challenge: Craig Gower of Broncos is tackled by Danny Samuels

Challenge: Craig Gower of Broncos is tackled by Danny Samuels

There was still time for a further London try before the interval, Dorn stepping on the gas to cruise over.

It was more of the same in the second half, O'Callaghan the first to go over on 42 minutes, with Witt and Chris Bailey touching down shortly after.

Dewsbury already looked as though they were running on empty, with basic handling errors stopping them gaining any momentum.

Kaufusi then muscled over for his second score to push London past the 50-point mark.

The Rams finally gave their travelling fans cause for cheer in the 62nd minute when Jamaine Akaidere crossed in the corner after a break from Matty Nicholson.

But that proved brief respite for the visitors, Witt restoring order minutes later when he cantered home after a searing Dorn break.

The hosts were not quite finished, Matt Cook and then O'Callaghan bursting in for late scores, Gower converting both from out wide.