| 12.2°C Dublin

In brief: Hanson soars towards top

GOLF: Luke Donald and Graeme McDowell were waiting to tee off two strokes off the lead when a thunderstorm halted the lucrative Players Championship in Florida yesterday.

Swede Peter Hanson, one of those who did complete his round, came back from the four-and-a-half-hour delay to complete a sparkling six-under-par 66. He was up from 60th to joint seventh at that point and only three behind leader David Toms, but on the resumption he bogeyed the last after pushing his drive and instantly dropped into a tie for 12th.

There was a move made as well by German Martin Kaymer, who with a top-two finish could reclaim the world number one spot from the absent Lee Westwood.

Before the sirens sounded Kaymer hit his approach to the first to within a few inches and when he returned he tapped that in, then two-putted the long second and hit his tee shot to three feet at the next to make it three birdies in a row.

The US PGA champion was up to joint second on eight under and making his presence felt in a way he has been unable to do at The Masters.

* * * * *

Shane Lowry shot a third-round seven-under-par 63 to equal the course record and move into contention at the Iberdrola Open in Majorca yesterday.

Lowry shot six birdies, an eagle on the par-five sixth and a bogey as he moved 28 places up the leaderboard to five-under, but was still four shots adrift of leader Chris Wood.

The Englishman with his Belfast-caddy, Dave McNeilly, birdied the first hole and was one under through eight to sit nine-under for the tournament.

Lowry shares second place with fellow Irishman Darren Clarke. The Dungannon man responded well to dropping two shots in his first three holes with back-to-back birdies at the fifth and sixth. Spain's Jose Maria Olazabal is on four-under par while England's David Lynn, France's Gregory Bourdy, and Scotland's Scott Jamieson are on three-under.

* * * * *

Athletics: Tori Pena has broken the Irish women's pole vault record again, clearing 4.30m at the Chula Vista Invitational in San Diego, California.

This leap at the US Federation Open Finals added five centimetres to the previous record of 4.35m which the 23- year-old set at the European Indoor Championships in Paris last March when finishing 12th.

* * * * *

TENNIS: Sam Barry and Barry King have provided Irish tennis with some badly needed cheer in the wake of Louk Sorensen deciding to quit pro tennis.

Limerick's Barry and Dubliner King yesterday captured the men's doubles title in the outdoor clay ITF Men's Futures event in Adana, Turkey.

In only their third tournament as a partnership, Barry and King, the No 2 seeds, romped to a 6-2 6-2 win over the unseeded pairing of Egypt's Mohamed Safwat and Syria's Issam Al Taweel in the final.

* * * * *

Rafael Nadal cruised into the Rome Masters final thanks to a 7-5 6-1 win over France's Richard Gasquet yesterday.

The world No 1 had to work for 94 minutes and save four break points in the first set, but a late break in that gave him the upper hand and he never looked back, winning two thirds of points in the second.

* * * * *

HOCKEY: Ulster recorded a 7-3 win yesterday over Munster to leave them in pole position to regain their Men's Senior title. The win gives them the edge over Leinster, who they finish against today.

Both are level on points following Leinster's 4-1 win over Munster on Friday evening but goal difference comes into play in today's clash. Leinster will need to beat Ulster to clinch it.

In the Women's Senior title,

Munster are odds-on favourites to win after their 1-1 draw yesterday with Leinster cemented their position. They trounced Ulster 5-0 on Friday.

Munster can wrap it up with a win over outsiders Connacht today to seal the title they last won in 2003. Eimear Cregan shot Munster into a 1-0 lead inside the first two minutes, and hit the post with another attempt 10 minutes later. Leinster who had to sustain a lot of pressure, were finally back on terms seven minutes from the end, Kate Dillon sinking a drag flick for a hard earned draw.

* * * * *

RACING: Trainer Richard Hannon welcomed potential clashes with Goldikova and Frankel later this season after Canford Cliffs made a successful reappearance in the JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury yesterday.

While not a vintage performance, Hannon and jockey Richard Hughes expect their colt to be in better shape for his next challenge, probably against Goldikova, in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The 4/5 favourite was not as scintillating as he has been in the past, although he eventually overwhelmed the enterprisingly-ridden Worthadd to win by a length and a quarter.

"Ascot will be the next port of call now," Hannon declared afterwards. "We don't mind taking on Goldikova, she's getting old, and Frankel too -- bring them on."

* * * * *

RUGBY: Connacht beat Munster 26-9 and created history at the Sportsground yesterday when they captured the junior inter-pro title for the first time.

Victories over Ulster and Leinster left Connacht in a prime position to capture an inter-pro title for only the second time ever -- they previously won an U-20 crown -- and they made no mistake with a three tries to nil success with captain Kevin Higgins, centre Mata Fafita and winger Aaron Spring touching down.

Munster led 9-5 at the break having played with the strong wind with Higgins crossing for Connacht in response to three penalties from Darragh O'Brien.

Connacht got on top with the wind at their back and the accurate boot of Paddy Pearson steered them to victory as Fafita and Spring got in for tries.

* * * * *

Terenure College RFC Minis will today attempt to break into the Guinness Book of Records by completing the most successful conversions in one hour, and also the most consecutive passes. The record attempts will be at today's end-of-season barbeque and the action gets under way at 2.30.

Sunday Indo Sport