Hometown hero Patty Tavatanakit leads after Day 1 of Aramco Team Series — Bangkok

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Patty Tavatanakit in action during the first round of the Aramco Team Series — Bangkok golf tournament at Thai Country Club on Thursday. (Golf Saudi)
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Ana Pelaez from Spain during the first day of Aramco Team Series - Bangkok. (Golf Saudi)
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The Aramco Team Series has both an individual and team scoring element. (Golf Saudi)
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Whitney Hillier captained her team to the lead in the first round. (Golf Saudi)
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Updated 12 May 2022

Hometown hero Patty Tavatanakit leads after Day 1 of Aramco Team Series — Bangkok

  • Team Whitney Hillier take one-shot lead into closing day of tournament’s $500,000 team competition

BANGKOK: Thailand’s Patty Tavatanakit leads the $1 million Aramco Team Series — Bangkok by one after an opening round 6-under par at Thai Country Club.

The world No. 13 made the most of her home advantage to finish one above Spanish star Ana Pelaez going into Friday’s second round.

Team Hillier, captained by Australia’s Whitney Hillier and featuring Chonlada Chayanun — also playing her home course — Krista Bakker of Finland, and amateur Pattanan Amatanon, lead at the halfway point in the tournament’s fourball format, after carding a day’s low of -16.

“It was really fun,” said Tavatanakit, the 2021 LPGA rookie of the year. “I kept my round going well. The team format is a little different. Being able to play with everyone at the same time and make birdies, cheering them on, it’s a really good feeling.

“It’s a format that relaxes you. I was really calm today and I felt like mistakes were fine, because I had other people there (to support) as well.”

Instead of opting for the player hotel, Tavatanakit is staying with her family in Bangkok this week — and has a friend from home, Dan, on her bag.

Asked if being one of the hometown heroes brought an extra level of playing pressure, the 22-year-old said: “I want to do well everywhere I play. I treat every week just like a normal event regardless of where I am, so I’m just here to play another tournament. 

“Today, I read the greens really well. I was surprised actually that I didn’t really get more right reads or right breaks on the practice rounds, but today I think I was a little bit more focused and Dan really helped me.”

Breakout Spanish star Pelaez sits one back after a remarkable opening day bogey-free 67.

The 24-year-old only arrived in the Thai capital late on Tuesday after securing a late entry to the $1 million event following her surprise six-stroke victory at the Madrid Ladies Open.

With storms delaying her Wednesday afternoon practice, Pelaez — who drove for five hours, then took three flights over 24 hours to reach Bangkok — arrived at Thai Country Club this morning having only played its front nine holes and walking the fairways of holes 10 through 13.

That night, she used Google Earth to see what she was up against on the course’s closing five holes. On Thursday, she finished birdie-birdie-birdie for an astonishing 5-under par.

“Honestly, I’m actually speechless,” said Pelaez. “I had a great round. I had a lot of fun. I had to be patient because I started par, par, par, birdie, par, birdie – then I didn’t get another birdie until hole 16. And then I finished with three in a row, so I’m extremely happy. A boost of confidence for tomorrow actually.

“I’m just happy we were able to get everything in place and that I’m here. I cannot believe I’m actually awake after traveling so much and all the emotions. I should be wasted, but I’m good.”

Team Whitney Hillier held their own one-shot advantage going into what will be the closing day of the Aramco Team Series — Bangkok’s $500,000 team competition.

Their 16-under total was enough to give them a slender advantage heading into Friday’s deciding final round. 

“We just made birdies early,” said Australian Whitney, who is half-Thai. “We had a good vibe and everyone was gelling pretty well — everyone was laughing and happy. So, yeah, good team. We played well.”

Team Simmermacher — Magdalena Simmermacher (Argentina), Charlotte Liautier (France), Isabella Deilert (Sweden) and amateur Sirapob Yapala — sit on 15-under-par, one ahead of the teams captained by Scotland’s Kylie Henry and Patty Tavatanakit.

The Aramco Team Series — Bangkok continues on Friday, with the final day of its team format and the second of three rounds in its $500,000 individual competition.


West Ham beat Fiorentina to win Europa Conference League

Updated 31 sec ago

West Ham beat Fiorentina to win Europa Conference League

PRAGUE: Jarrod Bowen’s dramatic 90th-minute goal secured West Ham their first major European trophy since 1965 with a 2-1 win over Fiorentina in the Europa Conference League final on Wednesday.
It is the second European trophy for West Ham after they won the now defunct Cup Winners’ Cup 58 years ago with a team including England World Cup heroes Bobby Moore and Geoff Hurst.
Bowen picked up a superb through ball from Lucas Paqueta, before sending a low shot past a helpless Pietro Terracciano in the Fiorentina goal.
“I obviously dreamed of scoring but to score the winner in the last minute. It’s what you always say you want to do,” Bowen told BT Sport.
“To do it in front of these fans. I thought I was going to cry. I’m just happy.”
Said Benrahma had opened the scoring for West Ham in Prague as he blasted a penalty past Terracciano on 62 minutes after VAR had caught Cristiano Biraghi handling the ball trying to stop Bowen in the box.
Giacomo Bonaventura levelled five minutes later, beating West Ham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola with a fine, low right-footed effort.
Bonaventura capitalized on a superb header back from Nicolas Gonzalez who had leapt over West Ham full-back Emerson.
The champions’ name will be the second ever on the Conference League trophy following Roma, who won the maiden edition of the competition last year.
West Ham have also clinched a spot in next season’s Europa League with the win, while Fiorentina will miss out on European competition after finishing eighth in the Serie A.
West Ham’s previous major trophy was back in 1980 when they won the FA Cup.
They spent most of the last season battling the prospect of relegation, finishing 14th in the Premier League in the end.
“We had a dream, we haven’t had the best season, myself included, but to give these fans this moment, I’m over the moon,” Bowen said.
“This is the biggest game of my career. The emotion, there was time for one more chance. I’m just so happy.”
The game got off to a slow start, although Michail Antonio tested Terracciano with a low shot on 40 seconds.
Fiorentina dominated possession and looked more organized in a largely uneventful first half.
But they did not came close until injury time when Christian Kouame headed against the post from Gonzalez’s cross.
Fiorentina striker Luka Jovic then tapped the ball across the line on a rebound but his goal was ruled out for offside.
Declan Rice’s 13th-minute shot from outside the box whizzed just past the post in the Hammers’ best chance of the first half.
Rice may have played his last game for the East Londoners as he is being courted by the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United.
The game changed with the goals as both sides suddenly looked far more lively, earning corners and creating chances.
But Rolando Mandragora sent his shot just wide and Sofyan Amrabat was denied by Areola, while Tomas Soucek’s header was saved by a diving Terracciano.
Before the game, Prague police said they had detained 16 people as Fiorentina fans attacked West Ham supporters in a bar in central Prague. Three people sustained light injuries.

McIlroy: Saudi, PGA Tour deal ‘good for golf’

Updated 07 June 2023

McIlroy: Saudi, PGA Tour deal ‘good for golf’

LOS ANGELES: Rory McIlroy on Wednesday welcomed the PGA Tour’s merger with the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf.

According to the Northern Ireland star, Tuesday’s deal would secure the financial future of the sport.

“I think ultimately, when I try to remove myself from the situation and I look at the bigger picture and I look at 10 years down the line, I think ultimately this is going to be good for the game of professional golf,” McIlroy said.

“It unifies it and it secures its financial future.”

McIlroy was speaking on the eve of this week’s PGA Canadian Open in Toronto in his first comments since Tuesday’s agreement was revealed.

Under the new deal, the PGA Tour and Europe’s DP World Tour said they had signed an agreement with LIV’s Saudi backers that will lead to ‘a new collectively owned, for-profit entity.’

McIlroy is widely reported to have turned down an offer in the region of $400 million to switch to LIV but on Wednesday denied ever receiving a bid for his services.

“I was never offered any money,” McIlroy said. The Northern Irishman, however, said he understood anger from fellow professionals against PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan — but insisted he still had confidence in the under-fire tour chief.

“I’ve dealt with Jay a lot closer than a lot of those guys have,” McIlroy said.

“From where we were a couple of weeks ago to where we are today, I think the future of the PGA Tour looks brighter as a whole, as an entity.”

Lionel Messi: ‘I’ve decided to go to Inter Miami’

Updated 07 June 2023

Lionel Messi: ‘I’ve decided to go to Inter Miami’

BARCELONA: Lionel Messi will sign for Major League Soccer side Inter Miami, the player said Wednesday in interviews with Spanish media, choosing the United States as his next destination over a Barcelona reunion or blockbuster deal to play in Saudi Arabia.
The Argentine forward, 35, has spent the last two seasons at Paris Saint-Germain, playing his final game for the club on Saturday, after moving from Barcelona in 2021, where he spent the majority of his career.
Messi said that he did not want to have to wait for Barcelona to find a formula to be able to sign him given their financial situation — they were unable to keep him before his move to PSG, leading to a tearful departure.
“I was afraid that it would happen again,” Messi told Spanish newspapers Diario Sport and Mundo Deportivo.
“I’ve taken the decision that I am going to Miami, I don’t have (the deal) 100 percent sealed or maybe there’s something left to do, but we decided to continue our path there.
“(I decided) to leave Europe, it’s true that I had offers from another European team but I didn’t even think about it because in Europe, my idea was only to go to Barcelona.
“After winning the World Cup and not being able to go to Barca, it’s time to go to MLS to live football in a different way and enjoy my day to day life more.
“Obviously with the same responsibility and desire to win, and to do things well, but with more calm.”
Messi is a seven-time Ballon d’Or winner and is expected to earn the individual accolade once more after leading Argentina to World Cup glory in Qatar in December 2022.
The football world was eagerly awaiting Messi’s decision after PSG confirmed this week the playmaker, widely considered the best player in the history of football, was departing.
Inter Miami, co-owned by former England international David Beckham and founded in 2018, sacked coach Phil Neville last week with the team bottom of the Eastern Conference — with Argentine Javier Morales taking over on an interim basis.
The romance of a Barcelona return and prospect of eye-watering riches in Saudi Arabia fell by the wayside as Messi opted to join MLS, with sun-soaked Miami a city he has holidayed in on previous occasions.
Some reports say key MLS sponsors including sportswear brand Adidas and Apple TV, who own the league’s domestic broadcasting rights, may be contributing to his deal.

Czech police: Fiorentina fans attack West Ham supporters ahead of Europa Conference League final

Updated 07 June 2023

Czech police: Fiorentina fans attack West Ham supporters ahead of Europa Conference League final

  • Three West Ham fans and one police officer were injured in the incident while 16 people were detained, police said

PRAGUE: Fiorentina fans attacked West Ham supporters in a bar in downtown Prague ahead of the Europa Conference League final, Czech police said on Wednesday.
Three West Ham fans and one police officer were injured in the incident while 16 people were detained, police said.
An investigation was ongoing, and no more details were immediately provided.
Thousands of West Ham and Fiorentina fans have arrived in Prague for the final of the third-tier European competition at Slavia Prague’s Eden Arena.
Both clubs are aiming to end long European trophy droughts.
Organizers prepared two separate fan zones for the fans of both clubs who don’t have tickets for the match.

Germany under-17 national team racially abused on way to winning European title

Updated 07 June 2023

Germany under-17 national team racially abused on way to winning European title

  • General manager Joti Chatzialexiou said racist comments on social media made for “unpleasant circumstances” around the team's run to the European title

FRANKFURT, Germany: Players on the Germany under-17 national team faced racist abuse on social media on their way to winning the European Championship, a team official said Wednesday.
General manager Joti Chatzialexiou said racist comments on social media made for “unpleasant circumstances” around the team’s run to the European title, won on penalties against France on Friday.
“Under particular posts on our social media channels there was a strong accumulation of racist comments. Our boys saw those and that really bothered them,” Chatzialexiou said on the German soccer federation’s website.
“Together they decided, however, not to give any space to these distractions during the course of the tournament, and so they came even closer together as a team. As a team which fully identifies with Germany and with the eagle (badge) on the chest, which lives its shared values and stands for diversity, tolerance, community and integration.”