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Matt Fitzpatrick wins U.S. Open to capture first major title – Sportsnet.ca

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BROOKLINE, Mass. — A playoff was looming Sunday in the U.S. Open, just like it always does at The Country Club, when Matt Fitzpatrick sized up his shot from a bunker left of the 18th fairway.

He had a one-shot lead over Will Zalatoris and Masters champion Scottie Scheffler. He had a big patch of rough-filled turf in front of him, along with a gaping bunker protecting the green and a flag 156 yards away. Nothing less than a U.S. Open title was on the line.

On a back nine filled with clutch moments, Fitzpatrick delivered the biggest of them all.

“One of the best shots I ever hit,” he said.

Fitzpatrick hit 9-iron that started around the steep lip — a “squeezy fade,” he called it — carried the front bunker and settled 18 feet away, setting up a par for a 2-under 68 that made the Englishman a major champion for his first professional win in America.

He won the U.S. Amateur at Brookline in 2013, making him only the second man to win a U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open on the same course. Jack Nicklaus, the name on the gold winner’s medal draped around his neck, turned the trick at Pebble Beach. Juli Inkster won the U.S. Women’s Amateur and U.S. Women’s Open at Prairie Dunes.

“The feeling’s out of this world,” Fitzpatrick said. “It is so cliche, but it’s stuff you dream of as a kid. Yeah, to achieve it, I can retire a happy man tomorrow.”

Zalatoris, with remarkable resiliency during a tense battle at Brookline, had a 15-foot birdie to force a playoff. He dropped to his knees when the putt slid by the left edge of the cup. He shot 69 and was runner-up for the third time in the last seven majors.

Zalatoris and Scheffler, who earlier had a longer birdie putt to catch up to Fitzpatrick, did all they could. Fitzpatrick was convinced his time was coming, and he grabbed it.

“Matt’s shot on 18 is going to be shown probably for the rest of U.S. Open history,” Zalatoris said. “I walked by it, and I thought that going for it was going to be ballsy. But the fact that he pulled it off and even had a birdie look was just incredible.

“So hat’s off to him. He played great all week obviously and gave a solid round today.”

The celebration felt familiar. Fitzpatrick shared tearful hugs with his parents and his younger brother, Alex, who caddied for him in the Amateur. He stayed with the same family.

The payoff was $3.15 million and a title — major champion — that money can’t buy.

One of the first phone calls came from Nicklaus, the four-time U.S. Open champion. Turns out Fitzpatrick won the member-member at The Bear’s Club — the course Nicklaus built in south Florida — and what the Golden Bear said that day was not forgotten.

“He gave me a bit of abuse at the start of the year. He said, ‘Finally. Congratulations for winning in the States,’” Fitzpatrick said. And then slightly lifting the trophy, Fitzpatrick sent a fun message to Nicklaus: “Jack, I won a second time.”

It took a good break, a signature shot and some guts at the end.

Fitzpatrick and Zalatoris were tied going to the 15th when the Englishman hit his tee shot so far right that it went into the gallery and found a decent lie on grass that was dead and trampled. Zalatoris missed by only a few yards and was buried in deep grass.

“I feel like all year we’ve just had moments where I’ve just not caught a break, just not had a lie, just not had a bounce. This time I get there, and the ball’s sitting perfectly,” Fitzpatrick said. “It was one of the best shots I hit all day.”

He blistered a 5-iron from 220 yards to 18 feet below the hole. Zalatoris went into the front bunker, blasted out to 25 feet and made bogey. Fitzpatrick took a two-shot lead when his birdie putt went into the cup with such perfect pace it didn’t even touch the pin he leaves in the cup.

“To do that and take advantage of the break I had was fantastic,” Fitzpatrick said.

Zalatoris again bounced back, taking on a tough pin at the par-3 16th to 7 feet for birdie to cut the lead to one shot. Both missed 12-foot birdie chances on the 17th, and then Fitzpatrick missed a fairway at the wrong time. It looked like a playoff was eminent — the previous three U.S. Opens at Brookline were all decided by a playoff — until the shot of his life.

Fitzpatrick finished at 6-under 274. He became the first Englishman since Justin Rose in 2013 to win the U.S. Open, and he felt his time was coming.

He is meticulous in charting his shots and keeps a record of all of them to identify what needs work. And he emphasized speed in his swing over the last two years, giving him the length and the belief to compete with anyone.

That didn’t make Sunday any easier, a three-man race from the start when Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy fell back and never rejoined the mix.

Fitzpatrick and Zalatoris, who shared the 54-hole lead, each had a two-shot lead at one point.

Zalatoris, who lost in a playoff to Justin Thomas in the PGA Championship last month, recovered from two early bogeys. They were tied when Zalatoris made an 18-foot birdie putt on the short par-3 11th, and Fitzpatrick three-putted for bogey from the same range.

The 25-year-old from Dallas suddenly had a two-shot lead. He also couldn’t keep the ball in the fairway, and it cost him with a dropped shot on No. 12. And then came another big turning point, with Fitzpatrick holing a 50-foot birdie putt across the 13th green. Zalatoris did well to make his 15-footer for par and they headed for the tense conclusion.

Hideki Matsuyama had the low round of the week at 65, but he finished at 3-under 277, and that was never going to be good enough. McIlroy had a 69 and finished in the group four shots behind with Collin Morikawa (66).

Fitzpatrick couldn’t stop smiling as he carried off the silver trophy, big and silver and shiny like the U.S. Amateur prize, only far more meaningful. And there was another poignant moment at the end. His caddie, Billy Foster, one of the longest-serving and most popular loopers in Europe, removed the flag from the 18th pin. That’s his trophy.

“Billy said it for a while to keep doing what you’re doing and the chance will come,” Fitzpatrick said. “It did, and I took it.”

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Stanley Cup headed for repair shop after drop by Avalanche’s Aube-Kubel – Sportsnet.ca

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It didn’t take long for the Stanley Cup to suffer some damage following the 2021-22 season.

Mere minutes after the Colorado Avalanche beat the Tampa Bay Lightning to claim the title on Sunday night, Avs forward Nicolas Aube-Kubel fell while skating with the Cup toward the traditional on-ice team photo.

Aube-Kubel dropped the Cup — and the result was predictable.

“I don’t even know if they even had it five minutes and there’s a dent at the bottom already,” Phil Pritchard, the Hockey Hall of Fame’s keeper of the Cup, said in an NHL Twitter post.

“Right in the middle of the team photo. It’s the third time the Avalanche have won it. I guess we have a little chat with them soon and go through the process of how we’re going to repair it and that. But the Stanley Cup tour will go on.”

Like all sports trophies, the Cup has taken its share of body blows over the years. But this one was unique.

“I guess it’s a new record today, five minutes into the presentation it has happened. It’s the first time it’s ever happened on the ice,” Pritchard said.

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Alex Newhook Becomes Third Newfoundlander To Win The Cup – VOCM

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Newfoundland and Labrador’s Alex Newhook is a Stanley Cup Champion.

The Colorado Avalanche finally dethroned the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning Sunday night, holding on for a 2 -1 victory and taking the series 4-2.

Newhook becomes the third Newfoundland player to win the Cup, following Daniel Cleary of Harbour Grace and Bonavista’s Michael Ryder.

Newhook had four points in 12 games this post-season and, at the age of 21, becomes the youngest player from this province to ever win the Cup.

Anticipation now builds toward this summer when it’s expected Newhook and the Cup will make the trip home.

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Andreescu's 3-year title drought extended at Wimbledon tune-up in Germany – CBC Sports

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Caroline Garcia won her first tour title in three years after coming back from a set and a break down to beat 2019 U.S. Open champion Bianca Andreescu of Mississauga, Ont., 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-4 on Saturday in the final of the Bad Homburg Open in Germany.

Andreescu was looking for her first title since beating Serena Williams in the 2019 final at Flushing Meadows before injuries forced her to miss the entire 2020 season.

“I’m very happy. It’s been a couple of rough years but, you know, I’m putting in the work and on to the next. I’m excited for Wimbledon,” said Andreescu, who became visibly emotional while thanking her team. “You guys stuck with me through the toughest moments and that’s all anyone could ever ask for.”

She has drawn American qualifier Emina Bektas in the first round of Wimbledon next week. Garcia has Yuriko Miyazaki of Britain for her opener.

WATCH | Andreescu falls to Garcia in Bad Homburg final:

Andreescu falls to Garcia in Bad Homburg final

1 day ago

Duration 2:40

France’s Caroline Garcia battled past Canadian Bianca Andreescu to win 7-6, 6-4, 6-4 in Germany on Saturday.

Garcia took a medical timeout for what seemed to be a shoulder problem early in the second set. She then went 4-2 down before winning 10 of the next 14 games to seal the match ahead of the start of Wimbledon on Monday.

“It was a fight [for] every point from the first to the last one,” Garcia said.

Garcia is 8-3 in career finals but her last title was almost exactly three years ago in Nottingham in the build-up to the 2019 Wimbledon tournament.

WATCH | Canadian tennis star Andreescu answers questions from kids: 

Bianca Andreescu answers questions from kids

2 days ago

Duration 4:02

Canadian tennis champ Bianca Andreescu answers questions and offers a few words of advice to young athletes from the Ontario Racquet Club in Mississauga.

Kvitova captures Eastbourne title

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova tuned up for the Grand Slam tournament by overpowering Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-2 to win the Eastbourne title on Saturday in England.

The 14th-seeded Kvitova earned her first grass-court title in four years — and 29th trophy of her singles career overall – after breaking Ostapenko, the defending champion, early in both sets and feasting on the Latvian’s second serve.

Kvitova saved five break points in the fourth game of the second set to stay in control of the match at 3-1.

“Playing on the grass is very special for me every time,” the 32-year-old Czech player said in her on-court interview. “It’s the best preparation for Wimbledon, as well.”

Kvitova, the Wimbledon champion in 2011 and 2014, plays Tuesday at the All England Club in a first-round match against Jasmine Paolini of Italy.

She is now 5-1 in grass-court finals in her career. Her most recent title on grass had been Birmingham in 2018.

Injured Keys, Coric out of Wimbledon

Madison Keys, the 2017 U.S. Open runner-up, and Borna Coric withdrew from Wimbledon on Saturday because of injuries.

The tournament begins Monday.

Keys, an American who was seeded 19th at the All England Club, pulled out because of a hurt abdominal muscle.

She was replaced in the field by Coco Vandeweghe, twice a quarterfinalist at Wimbledon and twice a semifinalist at other Grand Slam tournaments, who lost in qualifying this week. Vandeweghe’s first-round opponent will be No. 17 seed Elena Rybakina.

“This isn’t what I was hoping to say a few days before @Wimbledon, but unfortunately I have to withdraw due to an abdominal injury,” world number 24 Keys tweeted.

“I’m so disappointed, but my health comes first and my body needs time to get back to 100%. Lots of love London fans. See you next year.”

Former world No. 7 Keys won her first title since 2019 at the Adelaide WTA tournament in January before reaching the semifinals of the Australian Open.

She was defeated in the French Open fourth round by Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova.

Coric is a Croatian who got into the field thanks to a protected ranking because he has been injured. He cited a shoulder problem for his withdrawal.

He was drawn to face No. 12 seed Diego Schwartzman and that spot will be filled by an as-yet-unannounced player who lost in qualifying.

Jaeger: Sexually harassed ‘at least 30 times’

Former teenage tennis phenom Andrea Jaeger said she was sexually harassed “at least 30 times” by a female Women’s Tennis Association staff member during the 1980s.

Jaeger, now 57, also told The Independent she also was unknowingly served alcohol when she was 16 by a different staff member, who drove her home and tried to kiss her.

The two-time Grand Slam finalist was on the tour from ages 14 to 19 and was ranked as high as No. 2 in the world in 1981. Despite her success, she said she made it a habit to avoid WTA officials at tournaments during her five years on tour. Jaeger said much of the harassment occurred in locker rooms.

“I’d change in portable toilets or a bathroom stall because I didn’t want to deal with the comments, the interest or actions of people,” Jaeger said, according to The Independent. “I had at least 30 incidents with one specific non-playing staff member, physical attempts all in the locker room very, very early in my career. That particular non-playing staff employee had a major issue keeping her hands to herself.

“I avoided being in training rooms alone because an approach was made on me there as well.”

Jaeger said she was served multiple alcoholic drinks following the 1982 WTA Championships and began to get fuzzy. An official drove her home.

“When we got to my condo, she walked me to the door and tried something on with me,” Jaeger said. “She was trying to kiss me. I was so sickened that I was crawling up the stairs inside trying not to throw up so my dad wouldn’t see me.”

Jaeger said she complained to WTA officials after the incident and was threatened with reprisals.

She won 10 career titles before retiring at age 19 due to a shoulder injury.

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