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Masters 2013: Guan Tianling to do homework while becoming youngest ever Masters player

Teen sensation Guan balances schoolwork and golf ahead of becoming youngest ever Masters player

By
Phil Casey, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

19:25 GMT, 8 April 2013

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UPDATED:

00:46 GMT, 9 April 2013

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China's Guan Tianlang has done his homework, in every sense of the word, ahead of his historic appearance in the US Masters this week.

Guan secured his place at Augusta by winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Thailand last year and, at the age of 14, will become the youngest player Masters history when he tees off on Thursday.

The Guangzhou schoolboy says he will do 'pretty much all' of his homework while in America, but has found plenty of time for seven practice rounds at Augusta, with today's being alongside two-time winner Ben Crenshaw and tomorrow's scheduled to be with another double champion Tom Watson.

Juggling: Tanlang Guan, during the first Masters practice round today, will do his homework while in America

Juggling: Tanlang Guan, during the first Masters practice round today, will do his homework while in America

Juggling: Tanlang Guan, during the first Masters practice round today, will do his homework while in America

Guan

'I'm really excited in the morning when I come out on the course and there's many people here and I'm really looking forward to the tournament,' said Guan, who will also play the traditional par-three contest on Wednesday with three-time winner Nick Faldo.

'I'm not going to push myself too hard and I'm going to enjoy my game. Hopefully I can play well.

'The general manager of my home course is friends with Ben (Crenshaw) and he told him I wanted to play with him. He told me a lot and we really enjoyed it on the golf course.'

Picture perfect: Guan enjoyed his practice round with Tiger Woods on Monday

Picture perfect: Guan enjoyed his practice round with Tiger Woods on Monday

Picture perfect: Guan enjoyed his practice round with Tiger Woods on Monday

Guan has already played with Tiger Woods in a pro-am in his native China but will also seek out the world number one for a chat.

'I
think probably we will talk,' he added. 'The players here are all great
players, so I'm looking forward to speaking to any one of them.

'When
I was three or four years old I was looking at him (Woods) winning the
Masters and it's pretty exciting to watch him. I played with him twice
in the past couple of years and he gave me a lot of advice. Every time I
play with him I feel a lot better and give myself some confidence.'

Starlet: Guan will become the youngest Masters player in history when he tees off on Thursday

Starlet: Guan will become the youngest Masters player in history when he tees off on Thursday

Guan

Guan

Guan's appearance at Augusta may have made headlines around the world, but world number eight Steve Stricker was still taken aback when he realised exactly how old the former world junior champion is.

'I knew he was playing, I knew he was young. I didn't think he was the same age as my daughter,' Stricker said. 'I thought he was 16.

'That's remarkable. I just can't imagine being that young and competing at this level at such an early age.

'It will be interesting to see how he does and how he handles it. It's remarkable that he's even playing.'

Final preparations: Staff in Augusta are making last changes ahead of the tournament's start on Thursday

Final preparations: Staff in Augusta are making last changes ahead of the tournament's start on Thursday

Final preparations: Staff in Augusta are making last changes ahead of the tournament's start on Thursday

David Moyes must be given money to spend at Everton or he"ll be off

Everton must let Moyes splash the cash or face losing him

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UPDATED:

22:28 GMT, 30 December 2012

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There was a theory doing the rounds yesterday that Everton have to secure a place in the Champions League to keep David Moyes at Goodison Park beyond this season.

If so, anxiety levels in and around Goodison are likely to rise sharply between now and May, as Moyes monitors Everton’s position in the Barclays Premier League and ponders his future.

There is a way of cutting short the waiting time, though, and ensuring the unthinkable is not allowed to happen.

Cold feet Everton manager David Moyes could be tempted by a move away from Goodison Park if he doesn't get a decent transfer kitty in January

Cold feet Everton manager David Moyes could be tempted by a move away from Goodison Park if he doesn't get a decent transfer kitty in January

A simple pledge of transfer funds for next month’s window ought to do it. Easier said than done, of course, given Everton’s modest resources but Bill Kenwright has found ways of delivering for his manager in the past and must pull out all the stops to do so again.

Fortunately for all concerned, the Everton chairman doubles up as a fan, as devoted as they come, and will, it is safe to assume, hand over every penny he can lay his hands on.

As a fan who sits on the front row of the directors’ box and kicks every ball, Kenwright will also appreciate why facilitating his manager’s wishes next month is so crucial to a project that has been a decade in the making.

Everton have flirted with the Champions League before, only to falter at the qualifying stage, but a breakthrough is surely closer than ever.

So close: Nikica Jelavic rues a late missed chance as Everton pushed for an equaliser in the 2-1 defeat to Chelsea

So close: Nikica Jelavic rues a late missed chance as Everton pushed for an equaliser in the 2-1 defeat to Chelsea

It is tantalisingly close, as was evident in an epic battle with Chelsea that eloquently argued the case for and against their prospects of finishing in the top four.

It was gripping stuff, a classic Premier League encounter that both illustrated how Everton’s strongest starting XI can be a match for anyone and exposed their need for greater strength in depth.

Moyes (right) wants to address the latter as a matter of urgency and needs no reminding of the perils of relying on a wafer-thin squad.

Injuries to the likes of Phil Neville, Seamus Coleman and Darron Gibson and a suspension for Marouane Fellaini — by no means an uncommon roll call at this stage of the season — left him glancing over his shoulder at a bench containing the likes of Bryan Oviedo, Apostolos Vellios and untried 18-year-old Tyias Browning.

Ill timed: An injury to captain Phil Neville didn't help Moyes in the Chelsea game

Ill timed: An injury to captain Phil Neville didn't help Moyes in the Chelsea game

Everton still ran rejuvenated Chelsea close, despite the telling absence of the influential Fellaini, yet, as limbs tired and managers looked for reinforcements, the two camps were shown to be poles apart.

While Everton’s replacements had the look of reserves about them, Rafa Benitez was able to choose between Oscar and Victor Moses for an injection of attacking impetus, or Paulo Ferreira to lend an experienced steadying hand at the back.

Little wonder that Everton’s challenge ultimately ran out of steam, and Moyes was left venting his frustration on referee Howard Webb’s failure to spot an added-time foul on the edge of the area that denied his side the chance of an equaliser.

However, Moyes did give the much-maligned Respect campaign’s tarnished image a welcome shot in the arm by apologising for a post-match rant at Webb, making amends immediately with a show of remorse that may spare him any disciplinary action.

Frustration: Moyes was annoyed that referee Howard Webb missed a foul on the edge of the Chelsea penalty area in injury time

Frustration: Moyes was annoyed that referee Howard Webb missed a foul on the edge of the Chelsea penalty area in injury time

‘I did have words with the referee when I was coming off,’ said Moyes, whose side missed the opportunity to move into the top four.

‘I was wrong to do so and I apologised about it to him afterwards. I just thought there was a foul by Frank Lampard on Leon Osman on the edge of the box in the 92nd minute but he didn’t give it.

‘The way the game went, the players deserved to get something out of it because they played ever so well. It was harsh on us.’

There will doubtless be words with Kenwright, too, in the coming days, and the answers Moyes gets could determine whether one of the Premier League’s most enduring and fruitful partnerships continues to thrive into a second decade.

So, Rafa Benitez, how do you solve a 50m problem like Fernando Torres?

The 50m question: So, Rafa, how do you solve a problem like Fernando

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UPDATED:

23:46 GMT, 24 November 2012

When Rafa Benitez takes his place in the Stamford Bridge dugout today in the Premier League showdown against champions Manchester City, some Chelsea supporters will doubtless have to remind themselves not to abuse their new manager.

Even on Friday at the club's Cobham training ground it was incongruous to see Benitez, the hated rival of Mourinho's Chelsea, dressed in blue. It will take some getting used to for everyone involved.

Not just Torres: Benitez wants to improve the whole team

Come in No 9: Benitez must find a way for Fernando Torres to produce the form he showed at Liverpool

But Benitez is the latest man charged with restoring Chelsea's title challenge, redeeming their failures in Europe and, along the way, helping to improve their abysmal image in a week when they have sacked a Champions League winner and seen their accusation of racial abuse against referee Mark Clattenburg thrown out because of negligible evidence.

Chelsea may be toxic, not least for managers, but Benitez does not seem to mind. When he received the call to confirm his appointment at Dubai Airport on Wednesday night, Benitez, initially, showed excitement before reverting quickly to familiar work mode, methodically analysing his options.

He knows the risks. On Thursday, as he travelled by train to London to meet the squad before dining with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, he was enjoying the usual jokes doing the rounds: the one about him being given two seasons, winter and spring; the one about no one being more than 20 metres away from a former Chelsea manager by 2025.

But for almost two years he has sat and waited for the correct job to come along and his self-confidence has never diminished.

While others thought he might be tempted by reasonable offers from slightly below the top-level clubs, including Aston Villa or Sampdoria, Benitez never wavered.

Turning back time: Benitez's remit will be to get the best out of Fernando Torres, but the task is a tough one

Turning back time: Benitez's remit will be to get the best out of Fernando Torres, but the task is a tough one

'More than 20 years ago, I was sitting around with Vicente del Bosque at Real Madrid and he said to me, “There are not too many managers. Not many people can cope with this pressure and keep winning”. So I had a lot of confidence I would get a job, a good job. This one is a great opportunity. It doesn't matter it's for seven months, even three months.'

In fact, Benitez was Abramovich's favoured choice to hold the fort for Pep Guardiola back in March but the owner was dissuaded then by the board because of the fans' antipathy towards the former Liverpool manager.

So when the owner's patience ran out with Roberto di Matteo and Guardiola remained unavailable, it was to Benitez he turned. During a three-hour meeting at the owner's house on Thursday night, Abramovich outlined his hopes for the club to Benitez.

Transfer talk has not been the priority, although signing a striker in January is vital. Benitez might wish to add a holding midfielder to that, with Javier Mascherano his dream buy, though Barcelona are not in the mood to sell.

But what Abramovich desires more than anything is to see his 50million investment in Fernando Torres pay dividends. 'Obviously I cannot say that we were not talking about Torres,' said Benitez. 'But we were talking about a lot of things.

'We were talking about ideas, how you like to do this, how you like to do that. For two to three hours. And I talk a lot! They can see he has to improve. Everybody can see that he can improve because he has the potential.'

Short of options: Fernando Torres and Daniel Sturridge are Chelsea's only recognised strikers

Short of options: Fernando Torres and Daniel Sturridge are Chelsea's only recognised strikers

It is wrong to assume Benitez has been hired solely to revive Torres. Abramovich, who has a deeper knowledge of football than most would imagine from his decision-making, would have relished Benitez's lengthy explanations of how to marry the side's new attacking ambition with a defensive solidity.

At some point in the conversation, it is almost certain that Benitez would have started using wine glasses to demonstrate positional plays in zonal marking to the billionaire oligarch.

And, at the training ground tour on Thursday afternoon, Benitez did not single Torres out. John Terry took the lead role in showing Benitez around. The players then had the first taste of Benitez's obsessive attention to detail. Training went on so long that dusk was falling and the lack of floodlights was proving problematic by the end.

But it is also true that Benitez has a blueprint to bring fresh life to the player he had at Liverpool. Benitez's analysis is that Chelsea cross the ball from deep areas, which does not suit Torres. Crosses need to come from higher up the pitch. He also hopes to restore the rampaging Torres, who used to go wide hunting the ball at Liverpool then cut in to unleash ferocious shots. Benitez feels Torres has lost that part of his game at Chelsea.

Then there is the matter of confidence. While at Liverpool, Torres was hardly indulged by Benitez – no one ever is – and the striker was shocked at what he took as his manager's coldness at times. But, having left Liverpool, he kept in touch and came to appreciate Benitez's ways.

Crucially, Benitez believes Torres needs both carrot and stick. He would always maintain he was harder on Torres and Steven Gerrard at Liverpool precisely because they were capable of world-class performances.

'With the arm on the shoulder, normally you are in the middle of the league table,' said Benitez. 'When you have to push the player, that is when you can compete for titles. With Fernando you have to put your arm around the shoulder and push him. Both things.'

Eden Hazard may well be the key to Torres. Benitez tried to sign him from Lille as a teenager to team him up with Torres. Even then, though, he was beyond Liverpool's price range.

'We were shopping in Marks & Spencer when we only had money for Lidl,' said one source involved in those negotiations.

No longer. Benitez's principal complaint at Liverpool was that he had to take risks in the transfer market because funds were limited.

Even so, his 2008-09 team went within four points of the title but Benitez acknowledges he is in a better position now. 'It's different. We didn't have too much money for the squad in 2008-09. We had to go for the 11 starters and four or five players, then we had to manage with the others. Here, there's a bit more depth at this moment.

'We had a good team but here we have a good team and also some players (below) them. I think Chelsea are as strong as Manchester City or United.

'The teams at the top are very close. You have enough players to beat anyone but obviously you have to tick all the boxes and they have to understand each other.'

Benitez believes he can tick those boxes. If he does, then even Chelsea fans might start to appreciate him.

Great Britain keep place open for Anthony Joshua in World Series of Boxing

Great Britain leave door open for Joshua after naming 19-man squad for World Series

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UPDATED:

11:58 GMT, 7 November 2012

Olympic gold medalist Anthony Joshua has been given extra time to decide whether to join the first Great Britain team in the World Series of Boxing.

The British Lionhearts features a
number of amateur boxers looking to be part of Team GB for the Rio
Olympics in 2016 with middleweight Fred Evans, who won a silver medal at
the London Olympics this summer, arugably the biggest name in the
squad.

Offer: Anthony Joshua (left)

Offer: Anthony Joshua (left)

He is joined by fellow Olympian Andrew Selby who will compete in the bantamweight division with Charlie Edwards and Gamal Yafai.

Heavyweight Frank Clarke and light-heavyweight Lawrence Osueke have also been signed up alongside lightweight trio Joe Cordina, Josh Taylor and Sam Maxwell and Antony Fowler in the welterweight division.

What is the world series of boxing

For the first time boxers will represent countries rather than cities. Professional boxers can compete if they have had fewer than 15 bouts but they can't continue to box professionally.

Each team have a squad of up to 20 boxers, split between the weights. Boxers cannot box on consecutive nights and injured fighters can be replaced.

All boxers are under contract and there is a prize money available. An Olympic medal-winner could earn about 150,000 per season.

Each bout is five three-minute rounds, held at bantamweight, lightweight, middleweight, light-heavyweight and heavyweight.

Judges score the winner of each round rather than merely count punches as in amateur boxing.

The team that wins the most number of bouts wins the meet.

From two groups of six, the top four teams qualify for the quarter-finals, where they fight home and away.

The winners progress to the semi-finals (home and away) and then the finals (neutral venue) in May 2013

Neither Joshua or Luke Campbell, both gold medals winners at the London Games, have signed up to the team.

The British stars will face up against teams from Germany, Italy, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and the USA in Group B with contests consisting of five fights, at five different weights. There are home and away legs before the top two sides from the two pools featuring in the grand final.

If the Lionhearts manage to reach the final at the first time of asking they could face Argentina, Azerbaijan, India, Mexico, Poland or Russia, the nations who make up Group A.

Fights will consist of five three-minute rounds and, despite being an amateur tournament, no vests or headguards are worn.

The new season begins for the Lionhearts on November 15 when they take on the USA in California.

Despite the new tournament starting in under two weeks, the WSB have just appointed a new chief operating officer in Karim Bouzidi.

Formerly the general manager of French franchise Paris United, Bouzidi is looking forward to moving the series forward. 'I am extremely honored to have been offered this exciting challenge,' he said.

'With new franchises, dozens of London Olympians on board and pro boxers now allowed, I am convinced that this third season will be the most successful to date.

'We want to show the world that WSB is the place to be when it comes to top quality boxing.'

Bo van Pelt wins Perth International

Van Pelt holds nerve to edge out Dufner and clinch maiden European Tour title in Perth

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UPDATED:

10:35 GMT, 21 October 2012

Bo van Pelt clinched his first victory on the European Tour with a two-shot triumph in the ISPS HANDA Perth International.

American Van Pelt came into the final day with a one-stroke lead after holing a 60-foot birdie putt on the 18th on Saturday and picked up a shot on the first on Sunday to set the tone for his round.

He finished on 16 under overall after carding a 68 to beat compatriot Jason Dufner by two shots, with first-round leader Alejandro Canizares three strokes further back in third.

Pretty in pink: Bo van Pelt celebrates winning the Perth International

Pretty in pink: Bo van Pelt celebrates winning the Perth International

'Jason and I had a great battle and played well. It definitely got tight there at the end but luckily for me I came out on top,' Van Pelt told the European Tour website.

'Lake Karrinyup was a great test of golf all week. It's been a battle; the wind blew, the greens were firm and fast, and it was just a joy to play all week.

'Whenever you get a lead you want to take advantage of it so it was nice to finish one off this week.'

Holding his nerve: Van Pelt beat his countryman Jason Dufner to the title

Holding his nerve: Van Pelt beat his countryman Jason Dufner to the title

Van Pelt demonstrated nerves of steel around the green and rolled in from 15 feet at the seventh to turn in 32, before picking up his fourth and fifth birdies of the day immediately afterwards.

He two-putted at the 15th to give Dufner hopes of catching up but Van Pelt birdied the next and another dropped shot at the 17th proved inconsequential after Dufner had bogeyed the 16th.

Paul Casey finished in a tie for fifth – alongside fellow Englishman David Howell, Scotland's Scott Jamieson and Rhys Davies of Wales – after a marvellous final round of 67.

Frustrated: Dufner finished two shots behind Van Pelt after their respective final rounds

Frustrated: Dufner finished two shots behind Van Pelt after their respective final rounds

The 35-year-old Casey has struggled for form this season after suffering a dislocated shoulder in a snowboarding accident last Christmas but is showing signs of getting back to his best and finished on eight under overall – one stroke behind fourth-placed Michael Hendry.

Ryder Cup 2012: Seve Ballesteros silhouette on Europe bags

Seve silhouette emblazoned on European Ryder Cup bags as captain Olazabal says: He'll be with us every step of the way

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UPDATED:

15:56 GMT, 25 September 2012

Justin Rose has revealed what having an image of Seve Ballesteros on the bag will mean for Europe's players – and himself in particular – at this week's Ryder Cup in Chicago.

Captain Jose Maria Olazabal would not yet confirm that his team plan to wear the navy jumper, trousers and white shirt so associated with Ballesteros in Sunday's singles, but an iconic silhouette of the five-time major winner is on their golf bags at Medinah.

The image recreates Ballesteros's most famous pose, a clenched-fist salute to the crowd after holing the winning putt in the 1984 Open Championship at St Andrews.

Inspiration: An image of Seve Ballesteros has been printed on all the European team's bags, including captain Jose Maria Olazabal's (left), based on his iconic pose after winning The Open at St Andrew's in 1984 (right)

Inspiration: An image of Seve Ballesteros has been printed on all the European team's bags, including captain Jose Maria Olazabal's (left), based on his iconic pose after winning The Open at St Andrew's in 1984 (right)

Ballesteros himself used the symbol for his own company and had it tattooed on his left arm, while many players thought it should become the logo of the European Tour after his death in May last year following a long battle with cancer.

Ballesteros captained Europe to victory in his native Spain in 1997 after playing in the biennial contest eight times, famously forming a formidable partnership with Olazabal.

Talking tactics: Justin Rose chats to Europe vice-captain Darren Clarke on the first green

Talking tactics: Justin Rose chats to Europe vice-captain Darren Clarke on the first green

And Rose, who won three of his four matches on his sole previous appearance in the defeat at Valhalla in 2008, has plenty of fond memories of Ballesteros to draw upon this week.

'I did get to know Seve well,' Rose told a press conference ahead of Tuesday's practice rounds. 'He was one of the few guys when I was struggling on tour when I first turned pro [Rose missed 21 cuts in succession] to put his arm around me in a sense, more metaphorically, but just to give me some words of encouragement.

'I remember my first Masters, actually, he just said well done because my first Masters was a breakthrough for me. I had turned pro and gone through some struggles and then having achieved some success to get there. He was just really nice and complimentary.

'There's some video footage somewhere of me chatting to him and my mum meeting him and you can see my mum blushing and stuff.

'Seve was definitely a special character. And one of my favourite memories is winning my first tournament (in America) at the Memorial Tournament, and Seve was the guy being honoured that year.

'A couple of times during that win I had some tough short-game shots and Seve sprang to mind and I was trying to picture how Seve would have tried to play the shot.

'He was definitely with me that week and one of my greatest keepsakes is the book from the Memorial that Jack (Nicklaus) had signed to me, and Seve has also signed to me because I relayed the story to Seve about how I thought of him and he wrote back and I got him to sign my book. That's something that I will cherish forever.'

In the swing: Rory McIlroy hits his tee shot on the second hole during a practice round at Medinah

In the swing: Rory McIlroy hits his tee shot on the second hole during a practice round at Medinah

Green fingers: Spaniard Sergio Garcia practices his putting on Tuesday morning in Chicago

Green fingers: Spaniard Sergio Garcia practices his putting on Tuesday morning in Chicago

Bunkered: Graeme McDowell hits from the sand on the second hole in practice at Medinah Country Club

Bunkered: Graeme McDowell hits from the sand on the second hole in practice at Medinah Country Club

Speaking about the image of Ballesteros on the players' bags, Olazabal said: 'We felt that this was one way that Seve could be with us every step of the way. This is the first match since he sadly passed away and a fitting tribute to a true champion and a great friend.

'Seve was an important part of the Ryder Cup because of the way he played and conducted himself from his opening match in 1979. This is the first time since then that he has not been present in anyway, because in 2010 he was able to talk to everyone via the telephone.

Acting up: Ian Poulter puffs his chest out in front of the American fans while walking off the tee box

Acting up: Ian Poulter puffs his chest out in front of the American fans while walking off the tee box

Luke's good: Englishman Donald hits his tee shot on the second hole during a practice round

Luke's good: Englishman Donald hits his tee shot on the second hole during a practice round

All smiles: World No 4 Lee Westwood looked relaxed as he headed out onto the course for practice

All smiles: World No 4 Lee Westwood looked relaxed as he headed out onto the course for practice

'Seve set a wonderful example to generations of golfers and for me there are many, many memories particularly involving the Ryder Cup. Now the best tribute we can pay to Seve is to go on playing for him and his image will certainly ensure he is alongside us throughout the week.'

P.S.

The European team weren't the only ones to unveil some inspirational gear on Tuesday. Masters champion Bubba Watson's caddie was spotted sporting some rather patriotic trainers during the practice round at Medinah (and Bubba looked like he approved of the choice!)

Patriot: Bubba's caddie, Ted Scott, shows off his snazzy trainers and Watson approves (below)

Patriot: Bubba's caddie, Ted Scott, shows off his snazzy trainers and Watson approves (below)

Patriot: Bubba's caddie, Ted Scott, shows off his snazzy trainers and Watson approves (below)

Joel Sjoholm claims first-round lead at BMW Italian Open

Sjoholm back in form with flawless 64 to claim first-round lead in Italy

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UPDATED:

18:24 GMT, 13 September 2012

Eight birdies put Sweden's Joel
Sjoholm one stroke clear with a round of 64 in the opening round of the
BMW Italian Open presented by CartaSi.

The 27-year-old had eight birdies in
his flawless round at Royal Park I Roveri as defending champion Robert
Rock could only shoot two under.

In the zone: Joel Sjoholm lines up a putt

In the zone: Joel Sjoholm lines up a putt

Italian Francesco Molinari was the best placed of the Ryder Cup-bound trio in the field as he shot four under, with Germany's Martin Kaymer carding two under and Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts firing a one under 71.

Sjoholm, who was born in Chile but adopted as a baby and took up the game at the age of three, did not drop a shot as he finished one ahead of England's Lee Slattery who moved to seven under in one of the final rounds to be completed.

Two of Slattery's seven birdies came on the final two holes to put him one stroke ahead of a group of seven.

Impressive: England's Lee Slattery

Impressive: England's Lee Slattery

A late charge by David Howell had seen him join Richard McEvoy and Richard Bland, South Africans Keith Horne and Garth Mulroy, France's Victor Dubuisson and Northern Ireland's Gareth Maybin on six under.

Despite his score, Sjoholm felt he had not necessarily produced his best golf.

'It's more fun now I've finished,' he said.

'I hit it basically everywhere. I was in the woods a lot and made some funny birdies today.

'It was a big, fighting 64 rather than a solid 64, but it's great fun to be eight under.

'I want revenge because the last two weeks I actually played quite good golf. Normally when I score well, I have to putt well.

'The last few weeks I've putted quite poorly and missed the cut by one
stroke. Both times I felt like I had a good chance to make the cut, but
you have to forget and keep moving on.'

Molinari's brother Edoardo made his return after three months out following wrist surgery and scored two under with fives birdies and three bogeys in his native Turin.

He said: 'The wrist is feeling good. I'm very happy with it. There is absolutely no pain at all.

'It's an okay start. I was very rusty. I hit the ball quite poorly to be honest, but it's more than two months since I last played in competition. It's going to be a long way back to the top but I'll get there.'

London 2012 Olympics: Jack Laugher out in tears

No Laugher matter! British protege Jack struck by nerves in diving bomb

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UPDATED:

21:54 GMT, 6 August 2012

Olympics 2012

Rising star Jack Laugher suffered a shock exit in an error-strewn first round of the men's three-metre springboard on Monday.

While team-mate Chris Mears edged through Laugher, ranked seventh in the world, failed to make the 18-diver cut-off.

Laugher, at 17 the youngest competitor in the field, appeared to be wracked by nerves in his first Olympics which ended with a failed dive and scores of zero.

In a spin: Jack Laugher fell well below his best in the Men's 3m Springboard qualification rounds

In a spin: Jack Laugher fell well below his best in the Men's 3m Springboard qualification rounds

In a spin: Jack Laugher fell well below his best in the Men's 3m Springboard qualification rounds

A clearly distraught Laugher was left punching at the water as he finished 27th with a score of 330 – just over 140 points below his international best.

Mears also had to battle and was 21st at the halfway stage before he snuck through in 18th with a score of 436.05 to qualify for Tuesday morning's semi-final.

Junior world champion Laugher was not alone in enduring a forgettable night, however, as the competition was marked by some startling errors from the world's best divers.

Germany's Stephan Feck was forced to withdraw shortly after he completely bombed his second dive, almost jumping at right angles before landing flat on his back.

Venezuela's Edickson Contreras Bracho was left in tears after his second penalty for aborting a dive while even China's Qin Kai was not immune, relinquishing the lead after he drew scores of 3.5 for his mis-timed penultimate effort.

Going down: Laugher has been touted as a potential world champion in the future

Going down: Laugher has been touted as a potential world champion in the future

Until then Laugher had not made a major mistake, despite being well below his best, but slipped off the board on his final effort and failed to complete the dive.

Only Feck and Contreras Bracho were behind the teenager in the standings.

Russia's Ilya Zakharov made the most of a crazy night to qualify first ahead of defending champion He Chong, who had been as low as ninth.

Laugher was too upset to speak to the written press afterwards and it was left to his coach Adrian Hinchliffe to reflect on a bad night.

'I'm afraid the occasion got to the young man today,' he said. 'It's hard for us because we all know how super talented he really is. He's had a bad knock there. We're devastated for him.

'It's upsetting, but we have to remember he's 17. He's had some great results coming into this.

'It's been a hard day for him today but any lesson is a good one for us. That's sport. He'll bounce back he's a real tough cookie.'

Hinchliffe admitted he had needed to put an arm around his young protege, who has been tipped as a future world champion by former United States diving legend Greg Louganis.

'He's angry. He wants to be around people who are close to him at the moment,' he said. 'He doesn't want to talk to too many people. He just needs to calm down. It's been an emotional experience.

'I've just reminded him of how brilliant he is. He doesn't understand that at the moment but he's young and he is brilliant. We're very lucky to have Jack Laugher in the Great Britain diving team.'

There were contrasting emotions for Mears who snuck through by 2.2 points and had added reason for cheer after posting an international best score.

'For me I had a really good event. I was consistent throughout all six rounds which is hard to do at this level,' he said. 'That score is an international best so I'm really happy with that.'

The Reading diver revealed he had not been affected by the mayhem of mistakes around him because he did not watch his competitors in order to stay focused.

'I just do my competition. I didn't watch so I don't know. At the end of the day it's an Olympic Games. Those five rings mean a lot to people and that can make or break people.'

Amir Khan must KO Jerry Garcia in Las Vegas says Freddie Roach

Go for a KO against Garcia, trainer Roach tells Khan as he fears Wild Card jealousy

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UPDATED:

22:38 GMT, 10 July 2012

Amir Khan has been urged to go for the knockout here on Saturday night if he wants to be certain of becoming a world champion again.

Freddie Roach, his newly inducted Hall of Fame trainer, is so concerned by the spate of controversial decisions that he has warned Khan to make sure he takes out WBC light-welterweight champion Danny Garcia inside the scheduled 12 rounds.

Khan was robbed of his WBA and IBF belts on a night of bizarre refereeing and hometown judging in Washington last December, after which Lamont Peterson was found to have a steroids pellet implanted in his hip. He then failed a drugs test. Roach is concerned ‘there may be jealousy of our success at my Wild Card gym (in Hollywood)’.

Keeping his cool: Roach (right) has told Khan to stay level-headed

Keeping his cool: Roach (right) has told Khan to stay level-headed

That suspicion grew when his pound-for-pound superstar Manny Pacquiao was scandalously judged the loser against Tim Bradley here last month.

Roach said: ‘Increasingly our boxers are not being given the reward by the officials when they are clearly winning fights.

‘We are confident of beating Garcia but I’ve told Amir that he had better get him out of there at some point, just to be certain nothing like this happens again.’

Going the extra mile: Khan in training

Going the extra mile: Khan in training

Roach has also told Khan to ignore insults from the father of his unbeaten American opponent.

At a media conference Angel Garcia started jumping up and down in a supposed imitation of the Briton, then made remarks about no Pakistanis being good boxers.

Roach added: ‘Thankfully Amir is better educated than this guy. He’s just trying to get under our skin.’

Euro 2012: Leighton Baines says he"ll never forget missing out on World Cup

Capello's call wasn't so Fab: Baines reveals heartache of missing out on World Cup

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UPDATED:

21:44 GMT, 29 May 2012

Leighton Baines can clearly recall the brief exchange with Fabio Capello which marked the end of his World Cup dream, two years ago.

‘Theo Walcott didn’t go either and I think he got exactly the same phone call,’ said Baines.

‘We were both put through to the manager, who said, “I’m sorry, you won’t be coming with us, but I look forward to seeing you for the qualifiers. Thank you and goodbye.” That was it.’

Their time has come: Both Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines missed out on the World Cup two years ago

Their time has come: Both Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines missed out on the World Cup two years ago

The Everton defender also remembers the stories doing the rounds before Capello named his final 23-man squad that he was homesick during England’s pre-tournament training camp in Austria.

‘I’d come back from a trip and said I was looking forward to spending the break with my family,’ explained Baines. ‘When you’re away they are the people you miss.

‘I’d heard people saying similar things around the dinner table and was nave to say it in public and it got turned into homesickness. There’s not a single person among the players or coaching staff who doesn’t miss their family when they’re away.

New man, new chance: Baines got the good news of his inclusion in the squad from Roy Hodgson

New man, new chance: Baines got the good news of his inclusion in the squad from Roy Hodgson

‘It’s normal and healthy, not something to be ashamed of. It got turned into something it wasn’t. I remember getting a phone call from someone asking if I was OK.’

There were suggestions that it influenced Capello’s decision to prefer Stephen Warnock as cover for left back Ashley Cole.

‘I don’t know if it had an impact and never will,’ said Baines. ‘I’d like to think I’d have been asked about it, if it was an issue, just to check if it was true.

‘I was a bit of a late runner anyway. Six months before, I was nowhere near, never in the squad and then I made the 30 and had a chance.

Putting the rumours to bed: Baines says stories of his homesickness were not true

Putting the rumours to bed: Baines says stories of his homesickness were not true

‘You get your hopes up and then miss out and have the disappointment. This time I’ve been involved in pretty much all the squads. It was just nice to make the final cut.’

There is no dispute Baines is the rightful deputy to Cole. He has been in better form for most of the season and has been linked with a move to Manchester United.

Even so, no-one expects Roy Hodgson to drop Chelsea’s 93-cap left back.

Taking his chance: Baines will provide cover for Ashley Cole

Taking his chance: Baines will provide cover for Ashley Cole

‘It couldn’t get much tougher, could it’ agreed Baines, who made his eighth England appearance in Norway.

‘He’s such a good player with such vast experience. He has always been my favourite player from when I was a young lad. Ash has been a good role-model for any player in that position whether you’re 17 and establishing yourself or late-20s. He’s the best. There’s always something you can learn.’