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The Canadian Press

Homa gets another chance and wins hometown event at Riviera

LOS ANGELES — Winning at Riviera was always a dream for Max Homa since he first attended the PGA Tour event as a toddler. He never could have scripted a finish like Sunday at the Genesis Invitational. Homa missed a 3-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole for the win. On the first playoff hole, he appeared to have no chance when his tee shot settled inches from a tree. He somehow escaped to extend the playoff, and won it on the next hole when hard-luck Tony Finau failed to save par from a bunker on the par-3 14th. As much of a heartbreak as it was for Finau — his 10th runner-up finish worldwide since his lone victory in the Puerto Rico Open five years ago — the emotion was too much for Homa. He grew up 30 miles away in Valencia. He grew up idolizing Tiger Woods, the tournament host who presented him the trophy. He nearly threw it away with a 3-foot putt. And he walked off with his second PGA Tour victory. “I’ve been watching this tournament my whole life,” Homa said, choking back emotions before he said, “Wow. I didn’t think it would be like this. … The city of Champions — Dodgers, Lakers, me now. It’s a weird feeling Homa not only closed with a 5-under 66, he played the final 26 holes without a bogey. This looked to be a storybook finish for Homa when Sam Burns, who had led from the opening round, ran into a string of bogeys on the back nine. It came down to Homa and Finau, who saved par on the 18th for a 64, the low round of the weekend. Homa made a 6-foot birdie putt on the par-5 17th to tie for the lead, and he stuffed his approach on the 18th for what looked to be a sure birdie. And then he missed. “You’re not supposed to miss a 3-footer in front of Tiger Woods,” Homa said. “I saw him yesterday and was too scared to talk to him. But he’s forced to talk to me now.” Worse yet was his tee shot on the 10th. Homa managed to hood a wedge and scoot it up the slope to the edge of the green, and with a front left pin — typically the Saturday position, changed this year because of the wind — it left him 12 feet away. He narrowly missed. Finau, in great position, chipped to 7 feet and with his shadow over the cup, hit it too weakly. The victory allowed Homa to crack the top 50 in the world for the first time, making him eligible for the World Golf Championship next week and get him back to the Masters. Burns closed with a 69 and missed the playoff by one shot. Homa and Finau finished at 12-under 272 on a Riviera course that was fast, firm and bouncy all week, and was never more difficult than Saturday in 35 mph that led to play being halted. Dustin Johnson, the No. 1 player in golf, started the final round two shots behind and in the final group. He missed an easy birdie chance on the opening hole and it never got much better. Johnson failed to make a run and fell back with careless bogeys along the back nine. He shot 72 and tied for eighth. Abbotsford, B.C. natives Nick Taylor and Adam Hadwin finished in ties for 20th and 26th, respectively. Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas, Ont., finished in a tie for 32nd. Burns steadied himself Sunday morning with two big par putts from the 10-foot range — on No. 14 to avoid a third straight bogey and on the 18th hole for a 74 that gave him a two-shot lead. The third round was completed Sunday morning because of a four-hour delay from wind so strong on a course so firm that the average score was 73.34, the highest ever for a weekend round at Riviera since the PGA Tour began keeping such statistics in 1983. The final round was far more gentle, and Burns appeared to have control when he went out in 31, saved par with a 10-foot putt on No. 10 and kept everyone at least two shots behind. But it flipped on the crucial stretch of Riviera, the 12th through the 15th holes, four of the five toughest scoring holes in the final round. Burns caught a break when his tee shot on No. 12 headed left and out-of-bounds hit a tree and landed in the rough, though he made bogey. He dropped shots on the 14th and 15th holes and suddenly trailed for the first time since Thursday afternoon. Needing a birdie on the final hole to join the playoff, he missed the fairway and went just over the green. Jordan Spieth never got anything going, either. Coming off a pair of top-five finishes to turn his fortunes around, Spieth was five shots behind going into the final round and could only manage a 71 to tie for 15th. Doug Ferguson, The Associated Press

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Mixed Martial Arts-Door is open for YouTube’s Paul brothers in MMA

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Logan and Jake Paul would make great Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters, Bellator president Scott Coker has said as he targets exhibition matches featuring the YouTube personalities such as the former’s boxing bout against Floyd Mayweather.

Logan Paul went the distance, surviving eight rounds against unbeaten (50-0) five-division world boxing champion Mayweather in an exhibition on Sunday at Miami’s Hard Rock stadium.

USA Today reported the fight brought in one million pay per view buys with $50 million generated from sales in the United States.

It was only the second fight of Paul’s career, while his brother Jake has fought in three professional boxing matches, beating former MMA fighter Ben Askren in April.

Critics have labelled the bouts a sideshow due to the lack of sporting credibility of the duo, who made their names as social media personalities and have millions of subscribers on YouTube.

However, Coker told Reuters the brothers have impressive physiques and the door is open for them to move into MMA.

“I met with Logan Paul about two years ago and I’ve spoken to Jake Paul’s manager and Jake on a zoom call recently… The one thing I said was hey, if you want to do MMA we would love to promote you guys,” the 58-year-old said in a Zoom interview.

“These guys are young, athletic, strong and you saw the fight on Sunday night these guys they came and did their work.

“Mayweather couldn’t finish him and I know he tried, I heard he wanted to knock this kid out so bad,” he added.

“When I heard both had high school wrestling backgrounds in Ohio, which is a prominent wrestling state in the U.S., it really made me interested in pursuing them in some super fights in Mixed Martial Arts – and that door is continually open.”

HEADLINE FIGHT

Bellator, owned by Viacom, is gearing up for a busy month of events, starting with Bellator 260 on Friday with the headline fight between reigning welterweight world champion Douglas Lima and the undefeated Yaroslav Amosov.

However, super fights and exhibitions are where Coker is targeting a younger audience.

“My 14-year-old niece, I told her I was going to the Logan Paul fight and she thought that was the greatest thing,” he said.

“She asked me who he was fighting and I said Floyd Mayweather and she said ‘who’s that?’ – I thought wow, she doesn’t know boxing, she doesn’t know MMA, she’s just a 14-year-old girl on the internet doing what they do.”

As the sporting world gears up for the delayed Tokyo Olympics starting in July, Coker believes MMA will feature in future Games.

“When you think about mixed martial arts, what you’re talking about is boxing, wrestling, judo, taekwondo, karate – those are all Olympic sports,” he said.

“Why wouldn’t mixed martial arts eventually get into the Olympics because six out of the seven disciplines MMA is known to use really is already there.

“There’d be a lot of details to work out but to me I think it will happen, it’s just a matter of time.”

 

(Reporting by Christian Radnedge,; Editing by Ed Osmond)

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Montreal will host the 2024 world figure skating championships

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Montreal will host the 2024 world figure skating championships, the International Skating Union (ISU) said on Wednesday, after the 2020 event Canada was to host was cancelled due to COVID-19.

The championships will return to Montreal from March 18-24, marking the 11th time Canada has staged the event.

“Skate Canada has a proven track record of holding successful ISU events and we are looking forward to bringing the world’s best skaters to the fantastic Canadian city of Montreal,” said Debra Armstrong, CEO of Skate Canada, in a statement.

 

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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Andreescu splits with coach Bruneau after French Open exit

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World number seven Bianca Andreescu on Tuesday announced she has split with longtime coach Sylvain Bruneau, a week after falling in the first round of the French Open.

The pair had worked together for four years as Andreescu made her breakthrough with three titles in 2019, including the U.S. Open.

“It is with a heavy heart that I would like to inform my fans that my long time coach, mentor and friend, Sylvain and I, have mutually decided to end our incredible coaching relationship,” Canadian Andreescu wrote on Twitter

“Our friendship will live forever … I am very grateful for everything we accomplished together and all of our great memories.

“Sylvain was more than a coach… he is family.”

Andreescu, 20, returned to action at this year’s Australian Open, having missed 15 months due to a knee injury.

A positive COVID-19 test subsequently ruled Andreescu out of both Madrid and Rome before an abdominal injury forced her to pull out of Strasbourg at the quarter-final stage.

Her most recent appearance at Roland Garros ended with a 6-7(1) 7-6(2) 9-7 defeat by Slovenia’s Tamara Zidansek.

 

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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