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Canadian Nick Taylor finishes second round strong to lead in Hawaii at Sony Open – TSN

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It wasn’t the best start for Nick Taylor, but the finish was pretty good.

Taylor played the first five holes of his second round of the Sony Open in 1-over and looked as if he might have trouble making the cut. Instead, he went 9-under over the next 13 and takes a two-shot lead into the weekend.

“Early on today, the first four or five holes, I made some nice par putts,” said Taylor. “I was 1-over and then I started hitting it better and giving myself opportunities and kept making putts.”

His hot stretch started on the 15th hole, his sixth of the day, when he hit his approach to seven feet and made the birdie. He made a four-footer on the next hole to get to red figures, and then pitched in for eagle on par-5 18th to close out the front side.

He made five birdies on the back nine, none more eventful than his final hole of the day. His tee shot darted left, coming to rest against a fence that bordered the driving range. At first, it appeared Taylor would have to play his shot left-handed and hack it back into play, but he got relief from the netting above the fence and was able to play a full shot into the fairway. A wedge to three feet and a simple putt added a final birdie for a round of 62.

“Whenever you get another birdie, it’s obviously a nice finish, but after everything that happened, it’s nice to walk away with four,” said Taylor. “It was a fortunate break and nice to take advantage of it.”

The Canadian, who is leading the tournament in Strokes Gained: Putting, will have to keep making birdies if he hopes to earn his third PGA Tour win. There are five players grouped two shots back and another eight players trailing by three shots. The cut came at 4-under with the Waialae Country Club course playing easier in the afternoon as the winds that usually provide a defense, died down.

“I feel like you can make four, five, six pars in a row you’re probably getting lapped,” Taylor stated, “especially with how the fairways are running.”

It marks the second time in his career that Taylor has held the 36-hole lead. The other time was last year at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am where he went on to win. Since that victory, however, he hasn’t finished inside the top 25 in 15 starts.

The 62 is also his career-low on the PGA Tour; he’s posted rounds of 63 on four previous occasions.

“I’ve always liked this golf course,” Taylor said. “It kind of suits my eye off the tee. I’ve driven the ball well the last couple days and really putted well. Obviously when you’re doing that you’re going to shoot some good scores, and reading the greens well, so hopefully I’ll keep doing that.”

Taylor tees off in the final group with Stewart Cink and Webb Simpson at 5:50 pm ET.

Mike Weir and Mackenzie Hughes, the two other Canadians to make the cut, will play together at 3:50 pm ET.

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Wayne Gretzky Chokes Up Delivering Emotional Eulogy for His Father – TMZ

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Jack Todd: Habs' shakeup behind the bench pays off against Jets – Montreal Gazette

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Dominique Ducharme has fresh ideas, and he is going to give his talented youngsters a chance to show what they can do

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Ah. There’s nothing like a converted touchdown on a Saturday night in early March to dull the claws of your critics.

After a mad, mad, mad, mad stretch that saw the Canadiens fire head coach Claude Julien, assistant Kirk Muller and goalie coach Stéphane Waite (and a couple of minor stumbles out of the gate for new head coach Dominique Ducharme), the Habs got their groove back in that 7-1 win over a good Winnipeg Jets team.

Of course, the real reason they won was that they ditched the Jinx Blue jerseys in favour of Rockin’ Red — but there were also a few other minor details we noticed:

Start with Jesperi Kotkaniemi. If you want to know why Montreal drafted Kotkaniemi ahead of Brady Tkachuk, it was all right there.

In his first big move, Ducharme put Kotkaniemi between high-scoring Tyler Toffoli and Josh Anderson and it worked like a dream. Kotkaniemi, who once told Arpon Basu that he didn’t have a weak side when it came to taking faceoffs because “both sides are bad,” was good from both sides Saturday.

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Kotkaniemi won all six faceoffs in the first period and was an eye-popping 13 for 15 for the game.

The club’s much-maligned forwards came through to the point that only Corey Perry (who has been a blessing since he escaped the taxi squad) missed the score sheet. Carey Price, the much-maligned goaltender, appeared to have received three words of advice from new goalie coach Sean Burke: “Move your feet.”

Price moved his feet. He was square to the shooter. When he does that, it’s like trying to chuck a banana past King Kong. He’s too large to be scored on.

Then there was Brendan Gallagher. Every year they tell us Gallagher is getting too beaten up, that he can’t take this kind of punishment and keep producing, that the contract was too much.

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Then they play the games and there is Gallagher in his office, getting buffeted around like a raft in a gale, then you look up and Gallagher has 10 goals and it’s impossible to imagine this team without him.

All in all, Saturday’s game was a beautiful ending to a very rough stretch. It won’t mean much unless the Canadiens can sustain their momentum through another of those six-game road trips (beginning in Vancouver, where the Leafs’ juggernaut hit a speed bump), but you have to like the way Ducharme has it going.

It has to be a relief to Marc Bergevin, who took radical steps after the season’s quick start dissolved in a long stretch of fluffed saves, missed nets and a goalie controversy.

Bergevin could have handled Waite’s firing better, simply by waiting until the morning after. By canning him between periods, Bergevin made himself look like a man floundering around in the dark trying to find the light switch. It appears Bergevin did know what he was doing, but the timing was straight out of Pierre Gauthier’s Handy Guide on How Not to Do Things.

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Still, the Canadiens emerged from a tough stretch solidly in possession of a playoff spot, with a chance to move up and avoid Toronto in the first round. (Although the first round might be the time to catch the Leafs, while they’re still jittery and painfully aware of their long string of first-round playoff failures.)

I hate firings, but changes had to be made. Bergevin has assembled a stronger team than any we have seen since at least 2014 and he had every right to expect better results on the ice. When he didn’t see them, he moved swiftly and decisively, even if the timing could have been better.

He also hired the right coach. Ducharme communicates, he has fresh ideas, and he is going to give his talented youngsters a chance to show what they can do.

You can’t ask for more.

Canadiens’ Cole Caufield leads the team’s stretch during development camp at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on June 26, 2019.
Canadiens’ Cole Caufield leads the team’s stretch during development camp at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on June 26, 2019. Photo by John Mahoney /Montreal Gazette

Lies, rumours &&&& vicious innuendo:Cole Caufield is going to tear up the National Hockey League. You didn’t read it here first, but it’s true. That shot is so good, Caufield can make the highlight reels while ringing one off the post. You’re gonna love him, people. …

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We shrugged when we saw Tom Wilson’s hit on Brandon Carlo. Of course the refs ignored it and of course Player Safety would do nothing. But then they brought the hammer down on Wilson with a seven-game suspension. Richly deserved — but why this one when so many similar hits have brought nothing at all? The consistently inconsistent NHL. …

FIFA godfather Gianni Infantino’s claim for replay review is epic. VAR, says Infantino, “adds another layer of adrenalin” for fans waiting for the outcome of another botched decision. No, Gianni, all it does is waste time and infuriate fans.

Heroes: Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Brendan Gallagher, Jeff Petry, Tyler Toffoli, Josh Anderson, Tomas Tatar, Jonathan Drouin, Phillip Danault, Olivier Renard, Artemi Panarin, &&&& last but not least, Walter Gretzky.

Zeros:Tom Wilson, the NHL Department of Player Safety, UFC, Dana White, VAR, Gianni Infantino, Kevin Gilmore, Justin Kingsley, Nikita Mazepin, Ron MacLean, David Samson &&&& last but not least, Jeffrey Loria.

Now and forever.

jacktodd46@yahoo.com

Twitter.com/jacktodd46

  1. Canadiens' Tyler Toffoli (73) celebrates with Josh Anderson (17) after scoring against the Winnipeg Jets during NHL action in Montreal on Saturday, March 6, 2021.

    Four-goal explosion in second period powers Canadiens 7-1 over Jets

  2. Canadiens prospect Cole Caufield scored two goals Saturday afternoon to lead the University of Wisconsin to a 2-1 win over the Michigan State Spartans in Big Ten action.

    Canadiens prospect Cole Caufield finishes NCAA regular season in style

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Oilers’ Yamamoto fined for ‘dangerous’ trip on Flames’ Andersson – Sportsnet.ca

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The NHL’s department of player safety announced Sunday that Edmonton Oilers forward Kailer Yamamoto has been fined $3,854.17, the maximum allowable under the CBA, for a “dangerous” trip on Calgary Flames defenceman Rasmus Andersson.

The incident occurred during the Oilers’ 3-2 win over the Flames at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Saturday. As Yamamoto jousted for position in front of the Calgary net with Andersson, the diminutive winger kicked the Flames rearguard’s left skate out from under him, sending him to the ice.

Yamamoto was assessed a two-minute minor penalty for tripping on the play.

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