Saturday 21 October 2017

Olazabal's magic touch sinks Asia

GUANGZHOU, CHINA - DECEMBER 20: European captain Jose Maria Olazabal of Spain looks on during the Royal Trophy Europe vs Asia Championship at the Dragon Lake Golf Club in Guangzhou, China
GUANGZHOU, CHINA - DECEMBER 20: European captain Jose Maria Olazabal of Spain looks on during the Royal Trophy Europe vs Asia Championship at the Dragon Lake Golf Club in Guangzhou, China

GOLF

Jose Maria Olazabal masterminded the 'Miracle of Medinah' in 2012 and this year produced another piece of magic as Europe took the Royal Trophy on a dramatic final day.

The Spaniard's Ryder Cup side won eight and tied one of 12 last-day matches in Chicago a year ago, and the situation facing his team was the same yesterday.

They started day three 5-3 down to Asia and when their hosts got out to 7-3, the writing was on the wall.

A stunning turnaround ensued, though, and Europe won 8.5 to 7.5 as Asia crumbled under the pressure at the Dragon Lake GC in Guangzhou. Nicolas Colsaerts was the man on the spot to sink the winning putt, prompting scenes of jubilation.

It capped another fine achievement for Olazabal, who had gone toe-to-toe with opposite number YE Yang in the build-up, with both predicting how tough the other was going to have it.

Yang looked to be vindicated when his men led at the end of day two and then stretched the lead as Kiradech Aphibarnrat beat Paul Lawrie 3&2 and Stephen Gallacher was toppled 4&2 by Thongchai Jaidee.

Asia needed a point and a half with six games out on the course at that stage, and even when Marc Warren took the two putts he needed to beat Ryo Ishikawa, it appeared nothing more than a consolation.

EQUESTRIAN

Denis Lynch produced the biggest show jumping result of the weekend when runner-up in the Grand Prix at La Coruna, Spain.

Riding Abbervail van het Dingeshof, the Tipperary man was just over a second slower than winning rider Gregory Wathelet from Belgium in the 10-horse jump-off against the clock, but still earned a handsome €29,600 for the second-place finish.

Jessica Kuerten was in the line-up at the Spanish fixture yesterday when VDL Zapatero slotted into fifth in the Two-Phase competition, but there was no luck for the Irish in the Grand Prix at Olympia in London last night.

Cian O'Connor and his Olympic bronze medal winning ride, Blue Loyd, qualified for the 13-horse jump-off but two fences down left them out of the frame.

AMERCAN FOOTBALL

PEYTON MANNING set a new NFL single-season record for touchdown passes as he moved on to 51 in the Denver Broncos' 37-13 victory over the Houston Texans.

Manning threw for four touchdowns and 400 yards for the Broncos to catch and pass Tom Brady's mark of 50, set in 2007. Brady had beaten Manning's previous mark of 49 from 2004 to establish the record.

Manning tied the record with a 20-yard pass to Eric Decker in the fourth quarter, and then followed it with a 25-yard pass to Julius Thomas with 4:28 remaining in the game.

The 37-year-old, two years removed from career-threatening neck surgery, finished the game on a career-high 5,211 passing yards for the season, 266 shy of the single-season record set by New Orleans' Drew Brees in 2011.

Elsewhere, Carolina booked their spot in the play-offs with a hard-fought win against New Orleans.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport