Connect with us

Sports

Swedish teen opens six-shot lead in Kenya Open

Published

on

Loading...

By LARRY NGALA
More by this Author

Sweden’s Julia Engstrom increased her lead to six shots after a brilliant round of six under 66 in the second round as the inaugural Magical Kenya Ladies Open entered its half way mark at the great Vipingo Ridge’s Baobab course on Friday.

The 18-year-old played a bogey-less three under par front nine after making birdies on the fourth, sixth and ninth. She started the back nine with two successive birdies at the 10th and 11th, then picked up two more back-to-back birdies at the 13th and 14th.

Engstrom was destined for even a better round until she tumbled at the 16th where she missed a putt for a par at the 16th though she was still very happy with her round.

“I played very solid. I started off well and made four birdies in the last five holes. I didn’t hole that many putts in the middle of the round, but I finished off well. I played solid and hit more greens today, so I’m happy with my round,” she said.

Asked about the condition during the day, Engstrom said: “It was hot out there today and not as much breeze. It was quite humid so I can go into the air conditioning now and be happy”.

The Swede said it will be great if she wins though was careful not to be over confident. “It would be great. Obviously it’s golf and anything can happen. It’s a tough course, we are playing it long and you need to play decent. I’m happy with my two days and I had a good weekend in Spain. I’m very happy with my first two rounds. It’s great here. It’s my first time in Kenya and I’m really enjoying it,” said Engstrom who now leads by six shots with a two rounds total of 11 under par 133 and ahead of Scotland’s Kelsey MacDonald, Finland’s Ursula Wikstrom, and German Esther Henseleit who tied for second place after shooting four under par 68 and two under 70, for a total of five under par 139.

Advertisement

MacDonald dropped two shots at the first nine where she only birdied the second though she played well at the back nine where she birdied the 11th, 13th, 14th, 17th and 18th for the day’s 68.

“I hit it great off the tee, gave myself a lot of chances and my putting was really solid today. It was great to get out in the first group when it was a little less humid. I’m just really happy with my performance today” said MacDonald.

Germany’s Esther Henseleit birdied the seventh in the first nine and 15at the back nine, and parred the rest to stay in close contact with the leader.

Loading...

Michelle Thomson meanwhile said: “Definitely, Kelsey’s front nine was phenomenal and I was finding it hard to keep up with her. I decided to turn it on over our back nine and I had nine putts for nine holes, so that obviously helped my scorecard”.

Wikstrom on the other hand, birdied the second, fourth, eighth and ninth, then she hit nine straight. Scotland’s Thomson and Finland’s Sanna Nuutinen tied on fourth with four under par each after firing two identical scores of four under par 68 with Thomson having made seven birdies but against three bogeys.

On her part, Nuutinen made birdies at the ninth, 10th, 13th, 15th as well as at the 17th but she dropped shot in between (16th). Joining Nuutinen and Thomson for fifth place was American Cheyenne Woods who was followed by the local enthusiasts.

Woods fired her second two under par 70 for a total of four under par 140, thanks to her excellent seven iron second shot at the par five-15th hole for an eagle three, having birdied the seventh, eighth and ninth at the front nine, against three bogeys, two of them at the back nine’s 13th and 16th.

“Same score as yesterday, but I did play very different. We played afternoon tee time, so it was a lot windier. The course played completely differently so I have to make some adjustments but, overall, my game feels really solid. I was able to get a few birdies in there and an eagle, so it felt pretty good.

“The hole if you hit a good drive, you can get down far enough to be in reach of the green in two. It played straight down wind today, so I had a seven iron into the green and I hit to about 25 feet and made the putt for eagle; so that was definitely a nice little momentum boost going into the stretch of the round” said Woods.

A total of 70 players with seven over par and better scores made the second round cut and will now chase the money and points. The best local Naomi Wafula tied in 87th with 13 over 157 after posting seven over par 79 in the second round.

Julia Engstrom (Swe) 67, 66= 133

Kelsey MacDonald (Sco) 71, 68= 139

Ursula Wikstrom (Fin) 71, 68= 139

Esther Henseleit (Ger) 69, 70= 139

Michelle Thomson (Sco) 72, 68= 140

Sanna Nuutinen (Fin) 72, 68= 140

Cheyenne Woods (USA), 70, 70= 140

Aditi Ashok (Ind) 73, 70= 143

Tvesa Malik (Ind) 72, 71= 143

Astrid Vayson de Pradenne (Fra) 69, 74= 143.

Loading...
Continue Reading

Sports

Hip-hop to hoops: J. Cole joins Rwanda basketball team

Published

on

Loading...

KIGALI, Rwanda, May 18 – American rap star J. Cole has signed with the Rwanda Patriots and will play as a shooting forward in the maiden NBA-backed Basketball Africa League which starts in the East African nation on Sunday.

The award-winning rapper and music producer, whose full name is Jermaine Lamarr Cole, 36, played the sport in high school and university, and has long dreamed of a professional basketball career.

His name featured on the roster of 13 players released Friday night by Patriots head coach Alan Major. Cole will play in jersey number 15 for the team representing Rwanda in the BAL.

“J. Cole is a very good shooter. We picked him because He has a really high IQ for the game,” Patriots chief operations officer Haydee Ndayishimiye told AFP.

Loading...

“He has a history of playing the game … We just thought that he is a great fit with the team and as we have seen in practice he is gelling well with the team. While they are practicing with him, they are looking good out there. He really compliments the team,” she added.

Ndayishimiye said Cole’s contract was confidential, and he would only be with the team for the duration of the tournament.

The BAL tournament will run until May 30.

The first edition of the 12-club event was scheduled for last year, but had to be postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

BAL president Amadou Fall said the league “will provide a platform for elite players from across the continent to showcase their talent and inspire fans of all ages”.

The BAL is being supported by the International Basketball Federation and the USA-based National Basketball Association.

It will be the first NBA-sponsored professional league out of the US.

Cole’s Rwandan debut came two days after the release of his sixth studio album “The Off-Season”, a nod to his love of basketball.

“I’m at a point in my life where I’m like, are you going to be doing this forever?” Cole said in a recent interview with Slam, an American basketball magazine.

Loading...
Continue Reading

Sports

Solskjaer hopes fans will cheer not jeer on return to Old Trafford

Published

on

Loading...

LONDON, United Kingdom, May 17 – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hopes Manchester United fans will ditch their protests against club owners, the Glazer family, and cheer on the team when supporters return to Old Trafford for the first time in more than a year on Tuesday.

United’s last three home games have featured fans protesting against the Glazers after they signed up to the European Super League before the supporters furious reaction saw them withdraw hastily.

United’s home game with Liverpool had to be postponed earlier this month when fans broke into the stadium and got onto the pitch.

The re-scheduled game last Thursday also featured protests outside the ground — as did last Tuesday’s home defeat to Leicester.

Solskjaer wants to hear more positive sounds when they host relegated Fulham where victory would secure them second place in the table.

Around 10,000 fans are expected to attend as the latest easing of the British government’s coronavirus restrictions comes into force.

Although some clubs welcomed back around 2,000 fans for a short spell last December the last time a club entertained a sell out crowd was Leicester’s 4-0 win against Aston Villa at the King Power Stadium on March 9, 2020.

“We’ve been waiting for a long, long time to welcome the fans back,” said Solskjaer at his eve-of-match press conference.

Loading...
Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

“Of course the last couple of home games, especially the Liverpool ones with the protests…

“It’s never nice to see a club that is not united, fans with the team, so we’re hoping that Tuesday is going to be a positive day that we move together, that we play a good game of football.”

– ‘Harry is our leader’ –

Solskjaer, though, blames the protests for their last two home defeats to Leicester and Liverpool.

Even without the protests United’a overall home form this season has been poor — six defeats in all — and effectively cost them giving champions Manchester City a run for their money in the title race.

Their away form by contrast has been scintillating — unbeaten on the road in the Premier League this season and have not lost an away league game in 15 months.

“I just didn’t want to use it as an excuse because we lost two games but surely it’s a reason behind the performances,” he replied when asked if the protests had affected his players.

The last two home defeats have also come with defensive talisman Harry Maguire out of action with an ankle injury suffered in the win over Aston Villa on May 9.

The England star will not play again in the league — United have two matches remaining — but Solskjaer reiterated he would be given right up to the last moment to prove his fitness for the Europa League final against Spanish side Villarreal on May 26.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

“We’ve known it all along but maybe some people open their eyes more when he’s not playing,” said Solskjaer.

“Harry is our leader and our captain. We’re consciously taking the route of not testing him out too early because we don’t want to aggravate something.”

Loading...
Continue Reading

Sports

Top team by June 30 to represent Kenya in CAF Champions League

Published

on

Loading...

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 17 – The Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has agreed that the team which will top the BetKing Premier League standings by June 30 will represent Kenya in the 2021-22 CAF Champions League.

In a circular sent to clubs on Monday evening, the Federation has stated that CAF’s directive to have names forwarded to them for representatives in Inter-Club competitions has necessitated the decision.

Loading...

“Consequently, and in consideration that the BetKing Premier League calendar may not be concluded before the aforementioned date, due to the disruption occasioned by the COVID 19 pandemic, the FKF Leagues and Competitions Committee, in a meeting held on May 7, 2021, resolved that the FKF PL representative in the CAF Champions League shall be the team at the top of the table, as at June 30, 2021,” a letter to clubs, signed by FKF CEO Barry Otieno stated.

Eleven-time champions Tusker FC currently lead the standings with 34 points, two ahead of second placed AFC Leopards.

Loading...
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Loading...
Advertisement
Loading...

Trending