The girl just wants to have fun

WASHINGTON-- Brittany Lincicome, hoping to be a trailblazer, will become only the sixth woman to compete in a men’s PGA Tour event when she tees off Thursday at the Barbasol Championship. The 32-year-old American, a two-time major champion and eight-time LPGA winner, will be among 132 starters at Keene Trace Golf Club while most of the top men’s players compete in the British Open at Carnoustie. “I’m really, really excited,” Lincicome said in a Tuesday essay on The Players Tribune website. “I’ll just be out here swinging for the fences and having the time of my life.” Swedish superstar Annika Sorenstam became the first woman in 58 years to appear in a PGA event when she played the Colonial in 2003, missing the cut. Michelle Wie later played in a handful of PGA events, never making the cut. Babe Zaharias and Suzy Whaley also competed in PGA tournaments. “All the girls in the locker room thought it was awesome,” Lincicome told reporters Tuesday. “That was really cool. They have been really supportive.” While her nerves were tested being in contention last week, Lincicome expects she will be nervous at the start -- “I’m sure the first three or four holes I will be.” Lincicome wrote in her essay she pondered accepting the offer to play on a sponsor’s exemption for days because she worried “about how this whole thing might backfire or cause some people to lash out toward me.” “I’m not trying to compare myself to the guys. I’m not trying to compare our games. I just want to go out and have a good time,” Lincicome said. “It will be like playing in a major, but with the guys. I just want to have fun.” Lincicome recalled playing on a high school boys golf team, rivals unhappy to risk losing to a girl.

Thais lead Champion Tour

CARMONA, Cavite – Thai Ploychompoo Wirairungreung turned in a solid even-under 65 to wrest a two-stroke lead over Taiwanese amateur Hou Yu-Chiang at the start of the ICTSI Champion Tour at the Manila Southwoods on Wednesday. Wirairungreung also outshone local bet Princess Superal. While majority of the starting 100-player field struggled on the soggy fairways of the Legends course that played longer than its 6543 yardage, Wirairungreung and Hou, who shot a 67, romped off with the day’s two bogey-free rounds as they seized the 1-2 posts in the $75,000 event sponsored by ICTSI and organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. Hou’s sister Yu-Sang, also an amateur, missed wresting solo third with a bogey on the par-5 17th and dropped to joint third with Thai Chatprapa Siriprakob at 69 while Superal holed out with a birdie to save a 70 for a share of fifth with Taiwanese Lee Hsin and Lee Chia-Pei, Aunchisa Utama and Supamas Sangchan of Thailand and Singapore’s Amelia Wong. What made Wirairungreung’s feat doubly impressive was that she did it on her first foray on a rain-hit course that she said suited her game. “This is the course I love. My approach shots are good and I like the fairways though it’s wet because I can chop the ball,” said the 23-year-old Wirairungreung, who flashed solid driving and iron play to upstage Superal and Taiwanese Ching Huang in one of the featured threesomes, highlighting her impeccable 32-33 round with superb putting that helped produce seven birdies, including four at the front. “I really had it going. Even when I’m in trouble, I would recover and make par saves,” said the 5-11 shotmaker from Chiang Rai, winner of two pro events who drilled in four birdies at the front inside 14 feet, birdied Nos. 12 and 13 and capped her sterling round with a nine-footer on the 18th. Yu-Chiang also turned in a flawless card of 34-33 that kept the 18-year-old Taiwanese in step with Wirairungreung after 12 holes before the Thai, who placed second to amateur Yuka Saso in the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour’s kickoff leg at Ayala Greenfield last January, birdied No. 13 to take control before matching Superal’s closing birdie to gain a two-shot cushion in the 54-hole championship. “I didn’t expect to play this way. The course was quite short so I took advantage by giving myself more birdie chances,” said Yu-Chiang. Superal never got to get closer to Wirairungreung despite going two-under after 12 holes as the LPGT winner at Highlands and Riviera last March faltered with a bogey on No. 13 before regaining the stroke on the last. But the other fancied locals failed to dish out the games expected of them with reigning Ladies PGT Order of Merit winner Pauline del Rosario blowing a one-under card after five holes at the back with two bogeys and a double-bogey, needing to birdie the ninth to salvage a 74, nine strokes off the pace. LPGT Eagle Ridge winner Chihiro Ikeda stumbled with a 75 while former three-time LPGT OOM champion Cyna Rodriguez shot herself in the foot with a 78 marred by two triple bogeys, a double bogey and one bogey against three birdies. The next best local players after Superal were amateurs Sunshine Baraquiel and Harmie Constantino, who carded identical 73s for joint 30th while Annika Cedo, also an amateur, matching Del Rosario’s two-over round in the 54-hole tournament.

Ginebra on the fringe of finals

PAINTERS SEEK EQUALIZER Barangay Ginebra and Rain or Shine finally get to resume their postponed battle today in the crucial Game Two of the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup Best-of-Five semi-final series at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum. The match is set at 7 p.m. with the Gin Kings looking to erect a commanding 2-0 lead that would move them on the verge of a Finals return trip. Barangay Ginebra stunned top seed Rain or Shine in Game One, 102-89, last Sunday and was supposed to gun for a 2-0 lead on Tuesday before the league called off the clash due to heavy rains and flashfloods brought by Typhoon Henry. The short but vital one-day layoff was a welcome development for the Gin Kings especially for big man Japeth Aguilar, who is nursing a swollen left Achilles injury. With an added rest, Aguilar is hopeful he can finally suit up for the Kings after sitting out Game 1. “I’m improving each day. Hopefully, I can return soon,” he said. With or without the prized power forward though, Ginebra coach Tim Cone still has a potent core to bank on, led by Justin Brownlee, Greg Slaughter and new sniper Jeff Chan who all scored 20 or more points each last outing. “So far, so good (in the playoffs), we hope we can continue doing it,” Cone said. But Rain or Shine will not just fold and die even against the hottest team Ginebra. Head coach Caloy Garcia is confident to turn the table around the Gin Kings to equalize the series and avoid a 0-2 hole, with or without Aguilar. “We’re ready whether Japeth plays or not but knowing coach Tim as the best tactician he’ll find ways,” Garcia said. “But that’s the nice thing about having this kind of series, you can always adjust. We’ll adjust and go to mismatches we haven’t take advantage of in the last game.” Leading Elasto Painter’s equalizer attempt are hulking import Reggie Johnson, James Yap, Chris Tiu and Raymond Almazan. Meanwhile, the PBA also re-scheduled the pivotal Game 3 between San Miguel and Alaska on Friday, July 20, at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo City. “Semifinals game 3 of Alaska Aces vs San Miguel Beermen today has been postponed due to potential severe weather conditions (orange warning) as announced by National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council,” said the league in an official statement. Game 3 was supposed to be at the Smart Araneta Coliseum yesterday. Defending champion San Miguel currently holds a commanding 2-0 lead in the race-to-three semis duel.

Asiad venues ready but pitfalls remain

JAKARTA, Indonesia-- Asian Games venues will be ready before Indonesia hosts the showpiece event in a month, organizers say, but the threat of terror attacks and endless traffic jams still looms over the regional olympics. An army of laborers has been toiling around the clock to finish building work, widen roads and plant trees in a breakneck bid to beautify Jakarta, a teeming metropolis that many visitors find tough to love. The athletes’ village looks ready, but some competitors may need nose pegs -- it backs out onto a toxic, foul-smelling river. Jakarta and Palembang in Sumatra are set to host about 11,000 athletes and 5,000 officials from 45 Asian countries for the August 18 to September 2 Games, the world’s biggest multi-sport event behind the Olympics. Apart from a still-unfinished squash complex, most venues appear nearly done. The Gelora Bung Karno main stadium, used when Indonesia last hosted the Games in 1962, has undergone a major renovation for the 30 trillion rupiah ($2 billion) event. “I think all the venues, from what I see... 95 percent should be finished by end of July,” chief organizer Erick Thohir, a media tycoon who is chairman of football club Inter Milan, said last week. Epic traffic jams Indonesia started with less time than most countries. It agreed to host the Games when Vietnam pulled out, citing concerns over preparations and the heavy financial burden. And then Jakarta moved the Games forward by a year to 2018 to avoid a clash with national elections. But organizers insist it won’t be a repeat of the 2004 Athens Olympics when the main stadium was completed just weeks before the opening ceremony, or Brazil’s 2014 World Cup which went ahead in unfinished venues. The worst-case scenario remains New Delhi’s 2010 Commonwealth Games, where problems ranged from filthy conditions at the athletes’ village to collapsing infrastructure. Indonesia had problems with the 2011 Southeast Asian Games following corruption scandals and a deadly stampede at the football final. But the biggest headache at the Asian Games may be getting athletes to venues on time. Jakarta has some of the world’s worst traffic, forcing organizers to come up with drastic solutions.

Kerr receives Warriors extension

OAKLAND, California — Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr received a contract extension following the franchise’s repeat championship and third title in four years during his tenure. Kerr and general manager Bob Myers, who are close friends and colleagues, said when the season ended that something would get done quickly once they began formal discussions. Kerr had one year remaining on his original $25 million, five-year contract. Details of the extension were not announced Tuesday. “We’re excited to have Steve under contract and poised to lead our team for the next several years,” Myers said in a statement released by the team. “Under his guidance, we’ve been fortunate enough to win three NBA titles in four years and his ability to thrive in all facets of his job is certainly a primary reason for our success. He’s a terrific coach, but more importantly an incredible human being.” The 52-year-old Kerr has said he hopes to coach at least another decade and perhaps 15 years. His Warriors swept LeBron James and Cleveland in the fourth straight NBA Finals matchups between the rivals. Kerr stayed healthy and on the bench while continuing to deal with symptoms such as headaches and dizzy spells stemming from a pair of back surgeries following the 2015 title. The Warriors marked themselves as a dynasty with their latest crown. They joined Bill Russell’s Boston Celtics, the Chicago Bulls led by Michael Jordan and the Lakers’ trio of title runs fueled by George Mikan in the 1950s, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the ‘80s, and Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant nearly 20 years ago as the only franchises in NBA history to capture three championships in four years.

Top juniors in Valle Verde meet

The Palawan Pawnshop-Palawan Express Pera Padala Valle Verde Country Club National Age-Group gets going tomorrow with over 300 players mixing it up in a rare gathering of the country’s top juniors and rising stars at the VVCC indoor and outdoor tennis courts in Pasig City. Leading campaigners from Sultan Kudarat, Davao, San Carlos City, Los Baños, Ilocos, Lucena, Quezon City, Rizal, Pangasinan, Dumaguete, Agoo, La Union, Lipa, Cavite, Malabon, Cainta and Manila gear up for six days of top notch tennis, seeking podium finishes and ranking points in the Group 1 tournament presented by Dunlop and sponsored by Palawan Pawnshop. Bea Acena from Ilocos and Anna Laura De Myer from San Fabian, Pangasinan topbill the girls’ 18-and-under cast that also includes Denise Bernardo from Los Baños, Danna Abad from Davao, Paula Uy from QC and Sultan Kudarat’s Carlyn Guarde. Vince EJ Tugade, also from Sultan Kudarat, Valle Verde’s Athan Arejola, Loucas Fernandez from QC and Dumaguete’s Ibarra Ortega, on the other hand, lead the chase in the boys’ premier side of the event hosted by the Valle Verde Country Club headed by Unified Tennis Philippines OIC Richie Lozada and officers and members of VVCC. All nine categories feature 32-players draws with the girls’ 16-U division even holding a qualifier to accommodate the big number of entries seeking spots.

PSC Anti-Doping Summit starts

Kiefer Ravena, Mikee Cojuangco and a number of national sports association executies, government and local government unit officials attended the Philippine Sports Commission’s 2018 National Anti-Doping Summit yesterday with Southeast Asian Regional Anti-Doping Organization Director General Gobinathan Nair leading a formidable roster of speakers. Aside from Nair and Cojuangco, PSC-Philippine National Anti-Doping Organization Head Dr. Alejandro and lawyer Antonio Rebosa, MD, delivered lectures. Undersecretary Karen Jimeno, representing Special Presidential Assistant Bong Go, also gave a short speech. Around 100 participants from NSAs, universities, colleges, LGUs and coaches attended the first day of the three-day activity on Anti-Doping in Sports at the Philippine International Convention Center in Manila. “The end goal really is to have a doping-free sporting community,” said Pineda, who together with the Philippine Sports Institute Director Marc Edward Velasco, led the organizing of this twin-event. Velasco, echoing the sentiments of PSC Chairman William Ramirez, said that as the government agency for sports, the PSC takes lead in reaching out to the public against doping. “Education is key,” remarked Velasco in explaining the objectives of the event. Ravena who came in as a participant and one of the athletes who recently had an incident due to inadvertent use of substance in the restricted list, encouraged athletes to take interest in Anti-Doping issues. International Olympic Committee member Cojuangco, who is with the Education Committee of the IOC, extolled the importance of educating the public about anti-doping reinforcing the “play true, play fair, play clean” campaign of the World Anti-Doping Agency. “If we are not true, we will be destroying every reason why we are in sports in the first place,” explained Cojuangco.

Folayang hot on comeback

Former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang will get his chance at title comeback nearly a year after he lost his championship belt. Following an all-around performance against Kharun “Predator” Atlangeriev last May, Folayang is again being considered for a shot the lightweight crown. “I felt good in my last bout, honestly. Although, of course, I always feel like I could have done just a little better,” Folayang said. “I am always looking at how I can get better in every aspect. I feel like my wrestling and my grappling has reached a new level over the past few months. There’s a lot of room to improve on, but little by little, I’ll get to where I need to be. “Lightweight is one of the deepest divisions in the organization, and there are so many great guys all wanting to get to the top. I have to keep winning so I can stay in the mix.” The 34-year-old Baguio City native and Philippine martial arts legend is set to return to action against undefeated ONE Championship newcomer Aziz Pahrudinov of Russia on July 27 at ONE: Reign of Kings at the Mall of Asia Arena. Pahrudinov, a Sambo World Champion and a native of Dagestan, will be Folayang’s third Russian adversary to date. The Filipino also went up against the hard-hitting Timofey Nastyukhin in 2014, suffering a tough knockout loss that ignited a string of victories that led him to the title. “He (Pahrudinov) is another tough Russian opponent, with the typical Russian style -- aggressive and calculated,” said Folayang. “He has great wrestling and solid striking -- excellent all-around skills. It’s hard to face these kinds of fighters because you have to be on your toes the entire bout. Get too close, and there’s the threat of a takedown. I will be prepared to face this style once again.” The ONE Championship lightweight title picture is a crowded one, with many top contenders vying for pole position on who gets to challenge for the title next. Reigning ONE Lightweight World Champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen is already booked to face Folayang’s teammate Kevin Belingon in the main event for the ONE Interim Bantamweight World Championship, so it could be a while before the Australian will be able to make a defense. Still, Folayang needs to make a statement against Pahrudniov in order to stay at the top of the pack. “I have to beat whoever is in front of me. That is the priority. Right now, it’s Pahrudinov,” Folayang said.

Cambage’s 53 Women’s NBA record

NEW YORK-- Australian center Liz Cambage set a Women’s National Basketball Association single-game record Tuesday by scoring 53 points to lead the Dallas Wings over the visiting New York Liberty, 104-87. The 26-year-old London-born Aussie, in her first season back in the US league after five seasons playing in China and Australia, added 10 rebounds and five blocked shots in the triumph. “I just was feeling it I guess,” said Cambage after the game. “It’s pretty big. I’ve had big numbers in China. I’ve had big numbers in Australia. I’ve had a lot of people say I couldn’t get big numbers in the WNBA. I guess this was for y’all.” Cambage, who helped the Australia Opals to a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics, broke the old mark of 51 points set by Riquna Williams of the Tulsa Shock at San Antonio in 2013. Cambage made 15-of-16 free throws and 17-of-22 shots from the floor, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range, the last of those from the top of the arc to break the record. “OUR GIRL, OUR GIRL... She CAN’T be stopped. Keep doing your thing Lizzie,” tweeted Lauren Jackson, a four-time Olympic medalist and Cambage’s Olympic teammate in 2012. The most recent NBA player with 50 points, 10 rebounds and 75 percent shooting accuracy in an wNBA game was Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan in 1996. Cambage was born to a Nigerian father and Australian mother in London in 1991 but moved to Australia with her mother when she was three months old. Cambage played for teams in Beijing and Shanghai from 2013-2016 and last season for the Melbourne Boomers before signing with the Wings last February.
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