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British Grand Prix 2012: Fernando Alonso on pole as Lewis Hamilton qualifies eighth

Alonso on pole for British Grand Prix as McLaren duo suffer in rain-hit qualifying

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UPDATED:

15:01 GMT, 7 July 2012

Fernando Alonso ended Ferrari's long wait for a pole by grabbing top spot on the grid for Sunday's British Grand Prix at the end of a rain-hit qualifying session.

For the first time in 31 races, since the Singapore Grand Prix of 2010, championship leader and double world champion Alonso will lead away the field at Silverstone.

On pole: Alonso was fastest in Saturdays qualifying session

On pole: Alonso was fastest in Saturdays qualifying session

British Grand Prix qualifying

1. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
2. Mark Webber (Red Bull)
3. Michael Schumacher (Mercedes)
4. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
5. Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
6. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)
7. Pastor Maldonado (Williams)
8. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
9. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India)
10. Romain Grosjean (Lotus)

The Spaniard is joined on the front
row by Mark Webber in his Red Bull, beating the Australian by 0.047
seconds, with Mercedes' Michael Schumacher lining up in third place.

For the Britons, it was an afternoon
to forget as Lewis Hamilton qualified eighth for McLaren, with team-mate
Jenson Button 18th, with Force India's Paul di Resta 11th.

The rain that has blighted Britain's
summer, again caused chaos at Silverstone after yesterday sending fans
into a fury as many were left stranded in traffic jams and wading
through muddy car parks.

Making his Mark: Webber will start behind pole-sitter Fernando Alonso for the British Grand Prix

Making his Mark: Webber will start behind pole-sitter Fernando Alonso for the British Grand Prix

On this occasion the rain that began
at the start of the opening practice session turned torrential for the
beginning of Q2 which had to be red flagged just after the midway point.

It resulted in a 92-minute delay,
during which time the fans in the grandstands and even the teams in the
pit lane, entertained themselves with the odd Mexican wave.

Good old-fashioned brooms and a
couple of road sweepers cleared the danger of the standing water off the
circuit, allowing the session to recommence just after 3pm.

At that stage Button was a bystander
after missing the cut from Q1, the 32-year-old failing to get his front
tyres to work on his McLaren.

It just compounded his horror of a
year as he has collected six points from the last five races, and his
British Grand Prix especially as he has never finished on the podium in
12 attempts at this track.

Button will now have to conjure a special performance if he is to finally bring an end to that hoodoo after qualifying 18th.

It was sod's law the rain that had
held off all morning finally decided to hit the track just as qualifying
started. Initially, the track was only wet enough for intermediate
tyres, and although conditions fluctuated, with some dry areas appearing
on occasion, Button was nowhere near quick enough.

With three minutes remaining he
switched to a fresh set of inters for one final shot and was on course
to clamber out of the bottom seven when Marussia's Timo Glock spun on
the start-finish line.

With yellow flags in the final
sector, Button was forced to slow after setting personal best times in
sectors one and two, leaving him above the Caterhams, Marussias and
HRTs.

For only the second time this season
Vitaly Petrov out-qualified Caterham team-mate Heikki Kovalainen, the
duo qualifying 19th and 20th. Glock qualified 21st, followed by the HRT
duo of Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan, with Charles Pic
requiring the help of the stewards as the Frenchman finished outside the
107 per cent time.

At the start of the 15-minute Q2, the
rain increased in intensity, prompting most drivers to switch to
extreme wet tyres, with the exception of Ferrari duo Alonso and Massa on
inters.

The time lost in realising their
mistake and pitting again for the wets ensured that when they posted a
'quick' lap they were trailing in 15th and 16th when the red flagged
intervened.

The delay came to their aid as they
both made it into the top 10, although with Lotus' Romain Grosjean
spinning late on into the gravel, there is a suggestion Alonso made Q3
with a hot lap under waved yellows, with the stewards likely to
investigate.

It was enough to drop di Resta down
to 11th, followed by Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi, although he faces a
five-place grid penalty for a collision with Massa last time out at the
European Grand Prix in Valencia. Mercedes' Nico Rosberg qualified 13th,
followed by the Toro Rosso of Daniel Ricciardo and Williams' Bruno
Senna. Jean-Eric Vergne was 16th, but faces a 10-place grid penalty for
causing a collision with Kovalainen in Valencia, dropping him to last
for the race, with Sauber's Sergio Perez qualifying 17th.

Elsewhere in the top 10, reigning
world champion Sebastian Vettel qualified fourth, followed by Massa,
Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen and Williams' Pastor Maldonado, with Hamilton also
on the fourth row. On row five it will be Force India's Nico
Hulkenberg, with Grosjean 10th as he did not compete in Q3 due to his
spin.

Chelsea defender Bruma will stay at HSV for another season

Chelsea defender Bruma will stay at HSV for another season

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UPDATED:

11:21 GMT, 24 May 2012

Chelsea's young defender Jeffrey Bruma will not be recalled at the midway point of his two-year loan spell with Hamburg.

The 20-year-old centre-back made 22 starts in the Bundesliga at HSV and the Blues would like him to continue his development there.

Sporting director Frank Arnesen – once of Chelsea – played a big role in bringing the Dutch international to the German side.

Learning: Jeffrey Bruma (left) will continue his footballing education in the Bundesliga

Learning: Jeffrey Bruma (left) will continue his footballing education in the Bundesliga

After releasing Jose Bosingwa, Chelsea might have recalled the youngster to cover at centre-back, allowing Branislav Ivanovic to only worry about the right-back position.

Bruma could cover the full-back position having featured in a few games towards the end of the season for Hamburg.

But Chelsea are understood to have no desire in engaging the clause which would bring him back.

Bruma arrived at Stamford Bridge from Feyernoord at the age of 15 in 2007 and looks to have a bright future ahead of him.

He was given his international debut in 2010 against Ukraine but will not be part of the Netherlands squad for Euro 2012.

Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben pulled apart in half-time scrap

Battle of Bayern! Ribery and Robben come to blows in Champions League scrap

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UPDATED:

19:46 GMT, 19 April 2012

Franck Ribery and former Chelsea winger Arjen Robben had to be dragged apart by shocked team-mates after a furious dressing room bust-up midway through Bayern Munich’s Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid.

A row that started on the pitch shortly before half-time escalated after the players reached the dressing room, as the pair traded insults and angrily squared up to each other.

According to sources in Munich, Ribery aimed a punch at Robben and caught him under the eye, before team-mates stepped in and pulled them apart.

Flashpoint: Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery argue over a free kick

Flashpoint: Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery argue over a free kick

It is understood both players were hauled before Bayern bosses Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Uli Hoeness the following morning and given a dressing down, with Ribery taking most of the blame and being fined for his actions.

Significantly, when asked about the flare-up, there was no denial from a club spokesman, who said: ‘Whatever happens in the locker room stays there. We will not be making any further comment.’

The flashpoint is believed to have stemmed from a heated argument over who should take a free-kick towards the end of the first half. Both players reappeared for the second half, and Bayern went on to win the first leg 2-1. The winners of the tie face Chelsea or Barcelona in the final.

Key man: Ribery has put Bayern ahead early in the Champions League semi

Key man: Ribery has put Bayern ahead early in the Champions League semi

Mark Hughes: Queens Park Rangers need to improve away

Away form will be crucial in bid to remain in Premier League, admits Hughes

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UPDATED:

22:28 GMT, 14 April 2012

Mark Hughes admits QPR need to improve their away form if they are to win their Barclays Premier League survival fight after going down 1-0 to West Brom at the Hawthorns.

Rangers have notched up a trio of impressive home wins over Liverpool, Arsenal and Swansea but they are without a victory away from Loftus Road since mid-November – a run of 11 games.

A 30-yard strike from Baggies midfielder Graham Dorrans midway through the second half proved decisive, and Rs boss Hughes said: 'We can't just wait and think our home form will be enough (to stay up).

Winner: Graham Dorrans (left) scores the only goal of the game for West Brom

Winner: Graham Dorrans (left) scores the only goal of the game for West Brom

'We've talked about it and know we need to improve the away form and pick up points.

'Today was an opportunity for us. We all felt that but what we produced today wasn't good enough.

'Away from home you need to do the fundamentals well and disappoint the home crowd and the team itself.

'Today we gave them too much encouragement and as a consequence they quite enjoyed themselves in the first half.'

Hughes added: 'In the first half we didn't put enough pressure on West Brom and were a bit off the pace and quite possibly that was the consequence of our efforts in midweek (against Swansea).

'We allowed them a bit too much time and space to get their head up and pick passes around our box and were a bit slow getting out to the lad who scored the goal, albeit a great strike from him.

'Everyone understands the importance of not conceding when you are the away side because it makes it extremely difficult to get back into the game.
“West Brom in the second half were quite happy to soak up the pressure and hit us on the break.'

Party time: West Brom celebrate their win over Queens Park Rangers

Party time: West Brom celebrate their win over Queens Park Rangers

Bobby Zamora squandered opportunities to rescue a point for Rangers but Hughes preferred to give credit to Albion goalkeeper Ben Foster.

He said: 'I've not seen the chances again. I'd like to give credit to the keeper but I've not seen them again.'

Albion have now moved past the 40-point mark to all but ensure a third successive season of top-flight football.

Baggies head coach Roy Hodgson was keen to praise Dorrans, who has struggled with injuries during the past 12 months.

He said: 'It was a marvellous strike and Graham Dorrans deserves a lot of credit.

'After such a long period of time out, a season which has been interspersed with injuries, it has been a fine week for him.

'He did well against Blackburn, he was one of our better players against Manchester City, and he settles this game for us.

'We are delighted with him.'

Hodgson added: 'There was a lot of fatigue showing towards the end, it's been a tough ask, but I was very pleased with the way the players held out under pressure after looking, in the first half, good for victory.

Must do better: Mark Hughes

Must do better: Mark Hughes

'We lost our way a bit in the second half and credit to QPR. They put a lot of attacking players on the field and asked questions but we showed a lot of grit and determination in keeping them at bay.

'There were a lot of good blocks around the area.'

Albion overcame the loss of defender Jonas Olsson with a groin injury in the build-up to the game with youngster Craig Dawson stepping into the breach.

Hodgson said: 'We lost Jonas just before the game which doesn't help. Zamora is an outstanding target player, a real handful to play against and he would have been a handful for Jonas.

'For an inexperienced player like Craig, it would have been even harder.

'But I thought he stood up to his task really well. He couldn't stop Bobby playing well but restricted the number of chances he got and assists he was able to make.'

John Terry pays tribute to Chelsea team-mates after Napoli heroics

Our greatest night! Chelsea goal-hero Terry hails memorable victory for Blues

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UPDATED:

00:04 GMT, 15 March 2012

John Terry savoured a glory night for Chelsea in Europe as Napoli were dumped out of the Champions League at Stamford Bridge.

The Italian side surrendered their 3-1 lead from the first leg and the teams were locked at 4-4 on aggregate heading into extra-time.

Captain Terry had already scored, and his defensive colleague Branislav Ivanovic blasted home the eventual winner just before the midway point of the added 30 minutes.

Blue is the colour: terry celebrates on the final whistle after dramatic night of action at Stamford Bridge

Blue is the colour: terry celebrates on the final whistle after dramatic night of action at Stamford Bridge

What a night! Di Matteo embraces Drogba after the extra-time victory in west London

What a night! Di Matteo embraces Drogba after the extra-time victory in west London

Terry had spoken before the game of how it could become one of Chelsea's great nights.
And he said on ITV1 after the 5-4 aggregate triumph: 'This could top them all for sure.

'The lads put in a great display, really solid, really resilient, with the firepower going forward. We proved we're a team tonight. That desire, that togetherness.

'We showed what Chelsea are made of tonight.'

Chelsea sacked manager Andre Villas-Boas between the two matches against Napoli, with Roberto Di Matteo taking over on an interim basis for the rest of the season.

The Italian celebrated a famous win and can now look forward to a quarter-final tie, possibly against one of European football's biggest names, with the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and AC Milan still in the competition.

Frank Lampard has no doubt Chelsea can be competitive against the best in Europe, with the draw for the last eight taking place on Friday.

Heads up: Terry nodded a goal for the Blues who clawed back a two-goal deficit

Heads up: Terry nodded a goal for the Blues who clawed back a two-goal deficit

Heads up: Terry nodded a goal for the Blues who clawed back a two-goal deficit

'We're just happy to be in the hat,' he said. We'll enjoy tonight and wait and see. If we play with that ability and desire we can take on anybody.'

Lampard saluted Ivanovic for his thunderous winning strike.

'He finished it unbelievably, like a striker really,' Lampard said. 'He deserved that, he was fantastic tonight and was a symbol of the determination we showed the way he played.'

Love is the Drog: The Chelsea striker got the ball rolling for the Blues with a powerful header

Love is the Drog: The Chelsea striker got the ball rolling for the Blues with a powerful header

Love is the Drog: The Chelsea striker got the ball rolling for the Blues with a powerful header

The England midfielder was also in the goals, scoring the second-half penalty which brought the teams level at 4-4 on aggregate. Didier Drogba had earlier scored Chelsea's opener, while Gokhan Inler fizzed in a superb goal for the visitors.

Lampard added: 'It was important we showed a desire and spirit to keep ourselves in the competition. It's been a difficult season but a performance like that tonight can change things for us so it's important we go on from here.'

Di Matteo added: 'It was a fantastic game, to watch as well. We knew it would take a lot to go through, the performance of the whole team tonight was outstanding.'

Flying the flag: It was the Chelsea old-guard (including Lampard, above) who performed so well

Flying the flag: It was the Chelsea old-guard (including Lampard, above) who performed so well

Flying the flag: It was the Chelsea old-guard (including Lampard, above) who performed so well

Bolton 2 Macclesfield 0: Trotters enjoy smooth passage thanks to Silkmen triumph

Bolton 2 Macclesfield 0: Trotters enjoy smooth passage thanks to Silkmen triumph

Bolton avoided an FA Cup upset as they eased to a comfortable win over League Two side Macclesfield.

Kevin Davies calmed the home side's nerves inside the first minute as he fired home from inside the six yard box.

And the Trotters' passage into the fourth round was sealed by Martin Petrov midway through the half when he drilled the ball past Jose Veiga from the edge of the box.

Owen Coyle's side will now host fellow Premier League side Swansea.

More to follow…

All smiles: Kevin Davies (right) celebrates after scoring Bolton's opening goal

All smiles: Kevin Davies (right) celebrates after scoring Bolton's opening goal

Joburg Open: Robert Rock leads after two rounds

Robert Rocks Joburg Open to take slender one-shot lead into third round

Robert Rock shot a second-round 67 to move into the lead at the Joburg Open at the end of round two.

The 34-year-old from Staffordshire, playing on the West course, is 11 under par for the tournament after posting an eagle and four birdies, with the only blemishes being bogies on the eighth and 12th holes.

Rock, chasing a second professional win, signed his card a shot clear of home duo Jbe Kruger and Branden Grace, who both went round the West course in 66, adding to their 67s on Thursday.

Swing the zone: Rock leads the Joburg Open heading into round three

Swing the zone: Rock leads the Joburg Open heading into round three

Joburg Open

Click here for the leaderboard

Overnight leaders Damien McGrane and Jamie Elston were still waiting to start their second round by the time the leaders returned to the clubhouse, while a four-under 67 on the West from Scotland's Scott Jamieson left him three shots adrift of Rock.

South African Michiel Bothma joined his compatriots in jostling for position at the top of the leaderboard, with a five-under 66 leaving him a two shots behind Rock.

Scotland's David Drysdale was also handily placed, reaching the midway point of his round on the East course on seven under for the tournament.

Defending champ: Charl Schwartzel leaves the 18th green tied on 56th

Defending champ: Charl Schwartzel leaves the 18th green tied on 56th

Thierry Henry: I will always remember tonight

Henry savours magical FA Cup moment after netting winner on stunning return to Arsenal

Thierry Henry savoured the feeling of scoring a goal for Arsenal as a Gunners fan after coming off the bench to send them past Leeds and into the fourth round of the FA Cup.

The Frenchman came on midway through the second half at the Emirates for his second Arsenal debut and proved to be the match-winner with the only goal of the game.

'It's kind of weird,' he said. 'I came back from holiday 15 days ago. I never thought I was going to play for Arsenal again or score a winner. I don't know what to say. I love the club and I hope I can do more.

Return of the King: Thierry Henry came off the bench to score the winner in Arsenal's FA Cup match against Leeds

Return of the King: Thierry Henry came off the bench to score the winner in Arsenal's FA Cup match against Leeds

'I hope it won't be the last one. The feeling I had when I scored was amazing. I rejoined the club as a fan; before I wasn't.

'Scoring a goal when you support the team, now I know how some of the guys who played for Liverpool or Man United or Chelsea felt when they scored a goal for the club they support.

'With one opportunity, it's very important, you don't know if you'll have a second. You have to make sure you take it. I took it well.'

Henry may have been away from England since 2007 but he continued where he left off against Leeds, scoring his 12th goal in as many games against the Elland Road side.

'I didn't even think about that but I think I will always remember tonight,' he told ESPN. 'When it comes to Arsenal something happens with me, sometimes in a bad way but most of the time in history in a good way.'

On being named man of the match, he added: 'I think it's a joke, but I'll take it.'

Net gains: The 78th-minute strike was vintage Henry, side-footed into the corner

Net gains: The 78th-minute strike was vintage Henry, side-footed into the corner

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger enjoyed watching the Henry of old.

'You could see Thierry brought his class but also how much it means to him to come on and make the difference,' Wenger added. 'It was something you couldn't even predict before the game. It's great that he's back here and got the goal that qualifies us.

'You see that when he gets in these kind of positions, we've seen it so many times, him finishing at the right moment. It looks easy but it's not.'

Asked about the mood of the dressing room, Wenger added: 'It's a little bit of euphoria because everyone's happy for Thierry.'

That's for you boss: Henry ran straight to his manager to celebrate the goal

That's for you boss: Henry ran straight to his manager to celebrate the goal

Leeds manager Simon Grayson felt there was a touch of fate about Henry's goal.

He said: '[I'm] very proud of the players. We worked extremely hard, kept our shape, the organisation was good. We had a few opportunities, but it was all set up, wasn't it

'He does always score [against Leeds]. He scores against many other teams as well and and It was a typical Thierry Henry goal. He's done that to many teams over the years.'

Sealed with a kiss: Henry was afforded a hero's welcome when he came on

Sealed with a kiss: Henry was afforded a hero's welcome when he came on

Grayson nevertheless found plenty to be optimistic about in his side's performance.

'Some of the young kids come out with a lot of praise tonight,' he said. 'It shows the players can handle the big stage and the big games.

'We've showed we've got a good temperament and hopefully it will stand us in good stead for the rest of the season.'

Newcastle 10 Exeter 16: Falcons cast further adrift

Newcastle 10 Exeter 16: Falcons cast further adrift after yet another defeat

Drop goal: Mieres seals the win late on

Drop goal: Mieres seals the win late on

Exeter took a major step towards Aviva Premiership safety with a hard-fought win at beleaguered Newcastle Falcons.

The victory should be enough for the Chiefs to concentrate on pushing on for a top-six spot, but Newcastle probably should start planning for life in the Championship.

They remain well adrift at the foot of the table but did squeeze a losing bonus point out of the game with Tim Swinson's converted try two minutes from time.

The Chiefs led 10-0 at half-time after an opportunist try from scrum-half Haydn Thomas as Newcastle's habit of starting slowly and gifting tries struck again.

Fly-half Ignacio Mieres kicked the conversion and added penalties either side of half-time plus a drop goal four minutes from the end to see the Chiefs cruising at 16-3 until Swinson's late strike raised a few doubts.

Gopperth converted the close-range try to add to his second-half penalty to clinch a bonus point for the Falcons at 16-10, but it came too late.

He's behind you! Will Welch goes to tackle Jason Shoemark

He's behind you! Will Welch goes to tackle Jason Shoemark

There was simply no-one at home when Thomas scampered through a yawning gap on the 22 and the scrum-half was never going to be caught, and Mieres' conversion made it 7-0 after 10 minutes.

The Falcons did have a couple of chances, the best midway through the half when Jeremy Manning just failed to get on the end of a Gopperth kick through, but they were on the back foot for the rest of the first half as their line-out misfired again and they failed to look after the ball when they had it.

Gopperth missed a long-range penalty and while they had the lion's share of possession, Exeter failed to make it count against some top-class Newcastle tackling.

The Falcons coughed up the ball once again in their own half and conceded a penalty which Mieres slotted right on half-time for the Chiefs to lead 10-0 at the break.

Sinking: Newcastle look set for relegation

Sinking: Newcastle look set for relegation

Gopperth kicked a penalty within a minute of the restart but Mieres was on target as well two minutes later.

And when Gopperth missed two difficult penalties in three minutes and the Falcons made a mess of three attacking line-outs in the Chiefs 22, it was hard to see Newcastle getting anything out of the game at all.

There was a brief flurry sparked by Suka Hufanga's weaving run, but once again Newcastle's inability to protect the ball ended any hopes of a score.
With six minutes left Mieres slotted his drop goal after some patient phases from the Exeter forwards.

Newcastle finally found some edge to their play and Swinson barrelled through followed by Gopperth's quickly taken conversion but it was not nearly enough.

Ian Poulter maintains lead at Australian Masters

Poulter holds halfway advantage but Donald still dangerous at Australian Masters

A three-under par round of 68 was enough for Ian Poulter to maintain his lead at the midway point of the JBWere Australian Masters in Melbourne, but a couple of big names are still in touch.

Poulter”s steady round included birdies at all three par-fives, and just the one bogey, as he moved on to nine-under to hold two-stroke advantage heading into the weekend.

Australian Matthew Giles (68) is alone in second place at seven-under, while countryman Ashley Hall is outright third at minus six after a 70.

In control: Ian Poulter takes a two-shot lead into the third round in Melbourne

In control: Ian Poulter takes a two-shot lead into the third round in Melbourne

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But there are a host of big names within touch, including world No 1 Luke Donald and local hopeful Geoff Ogilvy.

Donald endured an up-and-down day that could have been considerably better, but ended up signing for a 70 to be among a host of players tied for 14th at three-under.

The Englishman got to four-under early in his round when he made back-to-back birdies at two of the most difficult holes on the course – the par-four sixth and short par-three seventh – but he found trouble at the eighth and gave back both shots immediately.

Despite his inconsistent round, Donald still thinks he remains a threat.

“I hit a lot of good shots today but I”ve been struggling on the greens,” he said. “I”m finding it hard to see the line and missing my fair share of chances for birdie. Hopefully I”m saving them all for the weekend.

“I”m still in a decent position, I just need to get that putter going and get on a roll.”

Hanging in: Luke Donald is six behind Poulter after struggling with his putter

Hanging in: Luke Donald is six behind Poulter after struggling with his putter

Ogilvy looked flat early in his round before springing to life at the par-five ninth with a chip in for eagle from the back of the green.

Four more birdies – along with one dropped shot – followed on the back nine for the Victorian as he shot 66 and finished the day tied with Brendan Jones, Nathan Green, Brent McCullough, Kieran Pratt and Peter Lonard at five-under.

It looked like Lonard was going to finish higher up the leaderboard when he birdied his eighth and ninth holes, the 17th and 18th, to move into a share of the lead at seven-under, but the 44-year-old dropped three shots in a row on his back nine to finish with a 70.

Route 66: Geoff Ogilvy shot a six-under second round to stay in contention

Route 66: Geoff Ogilvy shot a six-under second round to stay in contention

Italian Matteo Manassero fared much better on the second day, with the 18-year-old posting a round of 67 to follow his disastrous 76 on Thursday, while playing partner Robert Allenby carded 17 pars and one birdie to finish with a 70.

The duo finished the day in joint 47th position at one-over, one shot ahead of the cut that was made at plus two.

Notable players that missed the cut included veteran Australians Peter O”Malley and Paul Gow, plus New Zealander Michael Campbell and American Jeff Maggert.