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Brooke Henderson shows class in final stretch to secure second major title at Evian – The Globe and Mail

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Brooke Henderson celebrates with her trophy after winning the Evian Championship women’s golf tournament in Evian, France, on July 24.Laurent Cipriani/The Associated Press

After she’d won her second major on Sunday, Brooke Henderson turned to her sister, who is her caddy, and bugged out her eyes in a combo of amusement and bewilderment.

By that point, even Ms. Henderson must have been a little surprised by what she’d accomplished.

She went into the final round of the Amundi Evian Championship in France with a two-shot lead. She bogeyed the first hole. She four-putted the sixth. Midway through the round, she’d fallen back to the pack and lost the lead.

But having spotted everyone a few strokes, Ms. Henderson hit the afterburners in the final stretch. By the 18th, she needed an eight-foot putt to win outright. She gave it a little knee-bend English as it was headed to the hole, but it was never missing. She won by a single stroke, 17 under par.

“The saying is that majors are won on the back nine on Sunday,” Ms. Henderson said afterward.

People do say that, but most of the people saying it never win majors.

It was hard not to see in this weekend’s finish a sort of through-a-glass-brightly version of what happened in last week’s major final, the British Open at St. Andrews, Scotland.

Like Rory McIlroy, Ms. Henderson has done everything right for years – except win the big one. It’s been six years since her major breakthrough at the Women’s PGA Championship.

Like Mr. McIlroy, she went into Sunday in the lead. Like Mr. McIlroy, she didn’t catch sight of her main competition (in this case, American long shot Sophia Schubert) until she was in danger of being lapped. Like Mr. McIlroy, she was at risk of an embarrassing fumble – losing a tournament you had in the bag to someone who’d never won anything like it.

Unlike Mr. McIlroy, Ms. Henderson didn’t fold up.

When an interviewer put it to her afterward that she hadn’t been that good on Sunday, Ms. Henderson happily agreed: “Yeah, definitely not the best today.”

And yet she’s the person holding the trophy. This is the line that separates people who are good at something from people who are great. They find a way to bend pressure to their own purposes.

Lately, pressure’s been getting some bad press. It’s no longer considered polite to ask people about it, because their being able to handle it might suggest that others can’t. A new focus on mental health in sports has got people worried about the effects of high-profile disappointment on bold-face names.

But at the professional level, this is the only substantive thing separating competitors. They’re all physically gifted. They’re all resilient (or they wouldn’t have made it this far). But only a few have the mental fortitude to get inside their opponents’ heads and start pulling wires.

You could see the results of Ms. Henderson’s late charge on Ms. Schubert’s face at the end. The American rookie was only one shot away from the win, but there was no part of her that expected things to turn out that way. She seemed happier for Ms. Henderson than Henderson seemed for herself. Maybe a part of her was relieved it was over. If so, who could blame her?

Other than the look she shared with her sister, Brittany, Ms. Henderson didn’t do much more than smile beneficently. Even the champagne shower (the real stuff, not that sparkling junk) didn’t get much of a rise out of her. She spent a lot of time trying to talk people out of hugging her because she was soaked.

“I’m just super-excited to have my second major championship win,” Ms. Henderson said. On the scale of super-excitement, the tone was somewhere between “half-day Friday” and “found a great parking spot at Costco”.

This tendency to play things cool may be a reason Ms. Henderson doesn’t get as much attention in Canada as she deserves. When Bianca Andreescu wins a major, it’s pandemonium. But Ms. Henderson? Yeah, of course she won. That’s what she does – win. It’s an instance in which an athlete might be too good at what she does.

It’s already a commonplace that Henderson is the most accomplished golfer in Canadian history, pipping Mike Weir.

Sunday’s win puts her in a class of one. Along with the two majors, she has 12 tour victories over all. Those are already Hall of Fame numbers.

Because she’s been so good, so consistently, it feels as though Ms. Henderson’s been around forever, though she’s only 24. While being widely admired, she has somehow managed the trick of being underappreciated.

But maybe Ms. Henderson is about to get the run of headlines she deserves.

In the spring, she missed a couple of cuts. Rather than continue scuffling, she went home and took several weeks off to get her head straight. Not quite two months into her mini-comeback, she’s on top of the game again.

It’s a good time of year to excel at sports. Not much is happening. People are generally idle. Many are looking for something to do. How about getting super-excited about golf?

The LPGA Tour now moves to Britain from France. Until Sunday, Ms. Henderson had never won a tournament in Europe. Maybe she’s beginning her own Grand Tour.

In a month, Ms. Henderson will be back in Canada.

It’s been three years since the CP Women’s Open was held. Henderson last made national front pages when she won this tournament in 2018. No Canadian has won it twice.

If Ms. Henderson plans to capitalize on some jingoistic momentum, this would be the time to do it. A few good days could turn her from Canada’s favourite golfer to Canada’s biggest athlete, full stop.

You shouldn’t say such things out loud. It creates too much expectation, too many unfair opportunities to fail an arbitrary test. But Sunday proved again that Ms. Henderson’s real forte isn’t golf. It’s doing things people have no right expecting her to do.

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LeBron Saves Team USA in Thrilling Exhibition Against South Sudan at O2 Arena

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LONDON — In what could have been one of the most monumental upsets in international basketball history, Team USA narrowly escaped with a 101-100 victory over a spirited South Sudan team at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday night. This exhibition match, serving as a tune-up for the 2024 Olympics, showcased the rapid rise of South Sudanese basketball and the indomitable spirit of the American team led by LeBron James.

The atmosphere at the O2 Arena was electric, with fans witnessing a game that turned out to be far more competitive than expected. South Sudan, a team composed largely of refugees and players from the diaspora, pushed the heavily favored Americans to their limits.

First Half Highlights:

  • South Sudan came out firing on all cylinders, building a surprising 16-point lead in the second quarter.
  • Team USA struggled with their three-point shooting, missing 12 of their first 13 attempts from beyond the arc.

Despite the odds, South Sudan’s players, many of whom have overcome significant personal and professional challenges, played with remarkable cohesion and determination. Their performance was a testament to the rapid progress the team has made under the guidance of former NBA star Luol Deng.

With the game hanging in the balance, LeBron James demonstrated why he remains one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Benched at the start of the third quarter, James returned to the floor with a determination that was palpable.

Key Moments:

  • Third Quarter: Anthony Davis’ defensive prowess helped shrink the deficit. LeBron’s return brought stability and focus back to Team USA.
  • Final Minute: With just 20 seconds left, JT Thor of South Sudan scored over LeBron, giving his team a one-point lead.
  • Game-Winning Shot: LeBron drove to the basket, scoring the decisive layup with eight seconds remaining.

South Sudan’s journey to this point has been nothing short of inspirational. The country gained independence from Sudan in 2011, and the basketball program, still in its infancy, has quickly become a source of national pride.

Notable Contributions:

  • Carlik Jones: Delivered a triple-double with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.
  • Wenyen Gabriel: LeBron’s former teammate with the Lakers, contributed 11 points.
  • Marial Shayok: Led South Sudan with 24 points.

The team’s formation and rise have been spearheaded by Luol Deng, who played a pivotal role in recruiting and funding the program. His efforts have culminated in South Sudan qualifying for the Olympics, marking a historic achievement for the young nation.

Stephen Curry: “Wild game. They played really intense. It was nice to see how we responded. LeBron with a great finish down the stretch.”

Steve Kerr: “The whole team was embarrassed at halftime. We were challenged today, and it was good for us to feel that now. This was a reminder that we need to bring our best every game.”

Luol Deng: Expressed immense pride in his team’s performance, emphasizing the significance of their journey and the obstacles they have overcome.

This exhibition game was more than just a pre-Olympic warm-up. It highlighted the potential for underdog stories in sports and underscored the global reach and impact of basketball. Team USA, despite the narrow escape, was reminded of the importance of every game and the challenges that lie ahead.

South Sudan, on the other hand, has cemented its place on the international stage, showcasing that with determination and the right support, even the newest teams can compete with the best in the world.

As both teams prepare for the Olympics, this game at the O2 Arena will be remembered not only for its thrilling finish but also for the remarkable stories of resilience and ambition that played out on the court.

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UFC Vegas 94: Amanda Lemos vs. Virna Jandiroba – Main Event Recap

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In a thrilling main event at UFC Vegas 94, strawweights Amanda Lemos and Virna Jandiroba faced off on Saturday night. After an evenly matched first round, Jandiroba secured a dramatic submission victory in the second round, just moments before the bell.

Fight Summary:

  • First Round: The opening round was highly competitive, with both fighters showcasing their skills and maintaining a close contest.
  • Second Round: In the final seconds of the second round, Jandiroba managed to secure a submission, forcing Lemos to tap out. The win marks an impressive fourth consecutive victory for Jandiroba.

Post-Fight Remarks:

  • In her post-fight interview inside the Octagon, Jandiroba confidently called out UFC President Dana White, declaring, “Dana, I’m the next one. Dana, I’m your next champion.”

Future Implications:

  • With this victory, Jandiroba has positioned herself as a strong contender for the strawweight title. Tatiana Suarez, who was the rightful next contender for Weili Zhang, has been sidelined due to an injury. Jandiroba’s current four-fight win streak and her dominant performance at UFC Vegas 94 make a compelling case for her title shot.

Stay tuned for more updates as the UFC strawweight division continues to evolve, and see if Virna Jandiroba will indeed become the next challenger for the championship belt.

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Jake Paul vs. Mike Perry: Fight Night Updates

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Jake Paul is back in the ring, and he’s promising fireworks as he takes on former UFC star Mike Perry at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. The fight will be broadcast live on DAZN. Originally, Paul was set to fight Mike Tyson, but Perry stepped in after Tyson suffered an injury.

Fight Details:

Jake Paul (9-1, 6 KOs)

  • Paul is coming off a first-round TKO of Ryan Bourland in March.
  • He has promised that Perry won’t survive the second round.
  • Paul is more experienced in boxing but still relatively new to the sport.

Mike Perry (0-1)

  • Perry, known as “Platinum,” brings over a decade of fighting experience, mainly in MMA and bare-knuckle fighting.
  • He believes Paul is still green in the fight business and intends to use his experience to pull off an upset.

Main Event:
Jake Paul vs. Mike Perry

Live Updates: Follow DAZN for all the live updates, results, and highlights from the Paul vs. Perry pay-per-view main card.

Main Card Results:

Amanda Serrano def. Stevie Morgan via TKO

  • Round 2, 0:38
    • Watch the finish

Lucas Bahdi def. H20 Sylve via knockout

  • Round 6, 2:27
    • Watch the finish

Corey Marksman def. Tony Aguilar via majority decision

  • Scores: 76-76, 77-75, 78-74

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. def. Uriah Hall via unanimous decision

  • Scores: 59-55, 59-55, 58-56
    • Recap

Stay tuned for the main event updates and see if Jake Paul can deliver on his promise of another highlight reel knockout or if Mike Perry will teach him a lesson and pull off a major upset.

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