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Dodd ahead as Clarke eyes Cup Spring Special sale to attract golf fans Hampered Ireland face difficult task

GOLF: Welshman Stephen Dodd reeled off four consecutive birdies to set a blistering pace on the opening morning of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.

Dodd made a steady start to his opening round before charging into a one-shot lead (-4) over veteran Barry Lane, Italian amateur Matteo Manassero, South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen and Swede Niclas Fasth (all on -3).

Meanwhile, actions are meant to speak louder than words but, in Darren Clarke's case, they scream of his determination to play in October's Ryder Cup.

His decision to skip next week's Qatar Masters in Doha, instead adding next month's Avantha Masters in New Delhi to his schedule, shows Clarke's desire to mop up all available Ryder Cup qualifying points.

Cardoso beats heat to claim third stage

CYCLING: Manuel Cardoso of Portugal won today's third stage of the Tour Down Under, overcoming heat of 40°C to beat Team Radioshack's Belgian Gert Steegmans into second and world road racing champion Cadel Evans of Australia.

Spring Special sale to attract golf fans

GOLF: With a key slot over the August Bank Holiday weekend, the '3' Irish Open is set to attract major golf names to Killarney.

Up to 75,000 visitors are expected in Kerry to cheer on some of the world's top golfers, so sponsors '3' have announced a 'Spring Special' ticket sale: €50 for two adults and two children (a saving of 66pc). Adult single daily tickets are just €15 while there are concessions for senior citizens (down €20 to €10.).

p Tickets from Ticketmaster or European Tour website.

Hampered Ireland face difficult task

CRICKET: Ireland have pulled off several amazing feats in winning the InterContinental Cup three times in a row, but beating Afghanistan over the next four days in Dambulla, Sri Lanka, may prove the toughest task.

The team are without injured strike bowler Boyd Rankin or an experienced spinner in the side.

NBA: Atlanta 108 Sacramento 97, Charlotte 104 Miami 65, Orlando 109 Indiana 98, Portland 98 Philadelphia 90, Dallas 94 Washington 93, Detroit 92 Boston 86, Milwaukee 113 Toronto 107, Oklahoma City 94 Minnesota 92, New Orleans 113 Memphis 111, Phoenix 118 New Jersey 94, Utah 105 San Antonio 98, Denver 123 Golden State 118 (OT), LA Clippers 104 Chicago 97.