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Irish pair tied for lead with Germans as Aussies lurk

GOLF: Ireland and Germany lead the way on 16-under par at the Golf World Cup, a stroke ahead of Australia midway through today's fourballs.

Starting the day tied for the lead with Australia, Ireland pair Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell birdied the second, third and fifth to move to the head of the field after five holes at the Mission Hills Resort on Hainan Island.

They joined Germany on 16-under as Martin Kaymer and Alex Cejka were putting together the round of the day, eight birdies in 10 holes from the third propelling the duo up the leaderboard. Australia remain in close attendance on 15 under par, though, with Richard Green and Brendan Jones two-under for the day while the United States had moved to 14-under.

Wales joined Italy and South Africa on 13-under par. Scotland, though, had fallen off the pace at 12-under.

Warriors put Ulster to sword

RUGBY: Glasgow maintained their impressive recent form with a hard-fought 17-9 victory over Ulster in the Pro12 at Firhill. The home side's fifth consecutive league victory was secured thanks to 12 points from the boot of Duncan Weir and a Troy Nathan try.

Ulster's nine points came via three penalties from fly-half Ian Humphreys, but they were left with no reward for their efforts as the hosts snatched the win in the closing stages.

Windy conditions saw Humphreys slice two penalty attempts towards the end and Glasgow made their opponents pay to secure the only try of the match. A Weir drop-goal sealed the win.

Kim top as Clarke struggles

GOLF: KT Kim shot a bogey-free five-under-par 67 today to take a one-stroke lead over Bubba Watson into the final round of the Australian PGA. Kim had a 54-hole total of 13-under 203.

Watson finished with a 69 after eagling the opening par-5 first. Aaron Baddeley was in third with Marcus Fraser (74), YE Yang (70) and David Bransdon (67) tied for fourth, four strokes behind.

British Open champion Darren Clarke had an awful day, shooting 79, prompting him to tweet: "Today it was brutal!!" He was at 5-over and tied for 61st of 66 golfers who made the cut.

Hamilton sets pace in Brazil

F1: McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton had the fastest time in practice for the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix, outpacing the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.

Hamilton had a time of 1 minute, 13.392 seconds at Interlagos. Vettel was second with 1:13.559 ahead of Webber with 1:13.587.

Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso was fourth fastest in 1:13.598, Michael Schumacher fifth, Massa sixth and Button seventh fastest.

Joyce surges into semi-final

BOXING: St Michael's Athy lightweight David Oliver Joyce advanced to the semi-finals of the Olympic Test Event at the Excel in London. But Dubliner Declan Geraghty bowed out following a narrow 13-12 defeat to Asian Games champion Worapoj Petchkoom of Thailand.

Joyce will now meet Germany's Eugen Burhard in tonight's 60kg semi-final. Ken Egan, Conrad Cummings, Tommy McCarthy and Con Sheehan will also feature in semi-final bouts.

Doherty digs in to progress

Snooker: Dubliner Ken Doherty fought back from 4-0 down in the final qualifying round of the German Masters to make it into the main draw. Former world champion Stephen Hendry was crushed by Thailand's James Wattana, meaning it will be the first time in over 15 years that he will be absent from the final stages of a ranking tournament.

BASKETBALL: NBA owners and players met yesterday to try to reach an agreement that would salvage the league's Christmas Day marquee schedule. If they are unable to come to a resolution the entire season is likely to be wiped out.

CRICKET: India's spinners claimed eight wickets on the final morning of the third Test to set them on course for an unlikely victory against West Indies in Mumbai and a 3-0 series whitewash.