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With never-quit attitude, Anna Nordqvist wins AIG Women's Open – Golf Channel

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Anna Nordqvist’s fighting spirit earned her a third career major championship on Sunday.

Nordqvist fought her way back to the winner’s circle at Carnoustie Golf Links to capture the AIG Women’s Open. Her victory came after a four-year winless drought that tested her resolve to return to the top of the women’s game.

To become a champion again, Nordqvist relied on the same no-quit attitude that helped her both endure a three-year bout with mono and outlast a hail storm to win her second major.

“There was times I doubted if I ever would win again,” Nordqvit said. “Sitting here now, winning the British Open is a dream, I couldn’t really dream of anything more. It was definitely worth the wait, and definitely worth a lot of those struggles and being able to push through.”

Nordqvist’s third-round, 7-under 65 was the low round of the championship and lifted her into a share of the 54-hole lead. On Sunday, she went out in 33 to remain in the mix as her playing competitor Nanna Koerstz Madsen along with Georgia Hall, Madelene Sagstrom and Lizette Salas all looked poised to force a playoff.

When Madsen made double bogey on the famous 18th hole at Carnoustie, Nordqvist was left with two putts to win. She carded a final-round 69 to win by one ahead of a trio at 11 under.

With her victory, Nordqvist captured the third leg of the career Grand Slam. Her first major title came in her rookie season at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in 2009. She waited eight years before winning her second major, where she was battered by wind, rain and hail en route to defeating Brittany Altomare in a playoff to win the Amundi Evian Championship in 2017.

“There’s just something about golf that keeps driving me. I hate losing probably more than I like winning,” said Nordqvist. “I think all the controversy and all the downs, and having my caddie and husband there pushing me every day being a rock; I hate to give up.”

Following that victory at Evian, Nordqvist pointed to the influence her grandfather had on her career. His words telling her to never give up resounded in her heart as she battled to win again on tour. In 2021, it was a different force that spurred her on. Her husband Kevin McAlpine’s unwavering support buoyed her spirits as she waited to win again. McAlpine grew up 20 minutes from Carnoustie and their friends and family were onsite during the championship to cheer on their adopted daughter.

Anna and Kevin officially married in the U.S. in March but will host a pandemic-delayed celebration at a castle in Scotland next summer.

“I’m married now and I think just a lot more happy like off the course,” said Nordqvist about how her life has changed since her last win. “I have a good balance there.”

Nordqvist’s no-quit attitude earned her another trophy on Sunday and also a spot on her seventh European Solheim Cup team. Upon completion of the championship, the automatic qualifiers for the team were named. Nordqvist earned one of the four spots awarded via the Rolex Rankings. Nordqvist was ranked No. 54 at the start of the week. With her win, she leapfrogged fellow Europeans Matilda Castren, Leona Maguire and Mel Reid to earn one of the coveted spots on the team.

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3 Keys: Lightning at Avalanche, Game 5 of Stanley Cup Final – NHL.com

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(3A) Lightning at (1C) Avalanche

8 p.m. ET; ABC, ESPN+, CBC, SN, TVAS

Colorado leads best-of-7 series 3-1

The Colorado Avalanche can win the Stanley Cup for the first time since 2001 with a victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final at Ball Arena in Denver on Friday.

The Avalanche took a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 series with a 3-2 overtime win in Game 4 on Wednesday. Colorado is 15-3 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, including 7-2 at Ball Arena, but know this home game will be different with the Stanley Cup in the building.

“You try to treat it like another day, but you’re going to have thoughts of different things that haven’t been there all year,” Avalanche defenseman Bowen Byram said. “But you’ve just got to stick to your routine, do what you’ve done every other day you’ve come to the rink and just make sure that you’re prepared to play your best tonight.”

The Lightning will seek to become the second team in NHL history to rally from down 3-1 in a best-of-7 Cup Final. Tampa Bay came back from trailing 3-2 in the first round against the Toronto Maple Leafs and a 2-0 hole against the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final. 

[RELATED: Stanley Cup Final coverage | Stanley Cup Final schedule]

Now the Lightning need three straight wins against the Avalanche to become the first team to win the Stanley Cup in three consecutive seasons since the New York Islanders won four straight championships from 1980-83.

“You just don’t know how many opportunities, how many kicks you’re going to get at it,” Lightning forward Alex Killorn said. “I think for us it’s easier to think that you’ll be back every year just because of how things have been going. That’s just not the reality. There’s a lot of guys in the room that haven’t won Cups, guys that have been in a lot of situations like this in the past, so there’s a lot on the line and you just want to make sure you make the most of these situations.”

Here are 3 keys to Game 5:

1. Be smart at the start

Colorado started fast in winning each of the first two games of the series at home, grabbing a 2-0 lead in the opening 9:23 of Game 1 and a 3-0 lead by 13:52 of the first period in Game 2. With the chance to win the Stanley Cup in front of their fans, the Avalanche will try to jump on the Lightning early again, but they will also need to control their emotions and keep their focus regardless of how the start goes.

“Any time — a playoff game, a regular season game — you want to start well,” Avalanche forward J.T. Compher said. “We’ve done that at home, but it’s going to be 60 minutes. We’ve talked about it. The hardest one to win is the one to close out a team, especially a team like this. So we know whether the start goes our way or not the first five, 10 minutes, it’s going to be a 60-minute effort, maybe even more. We’ll be ready to play our way for as long as it takes.”

Conversely, the Lightning will need to do a better job of weathering the early Avalanche storm than they did in the first two games.

2. Status of Point, Cernak, Cirelli, Burakovsky

Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said forward Andre Burakovsky, who hasn’t played since being hit in the hand with the puck in the second period of Game 2, is “a possibility for tonight.” Things are less clear for the banged-up Lightning with forwards Brayden Point and Anthony Cirelli and defenseman Erik Cernak. 

Point returned to play the first two games of the Cup Final after missing 10 games with a lower-body injury, but was unable to play the past two games. Cernak left Game 4 in the second period after blocking a shot from Nathan MacKinnon off his leg. Cirelli returned to finish Game 4 after appearing to injure his arm in the second period, but his status is unclear for Game 5.

“This is definitely a game-time decision with a few of our guys,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “‘Cernie’ is feeling better, though. I’m pretty confident he’s going to play tonight.”

3. Balance of power

The Avalanche have been dominant on special teams in the Cup Final. Colorado is 6-for-13 (46.2 percent) on its power play and has killed 13 of 14 (92.9 percent) Tampa Bay power plays.

Failing to stop the Avalanche power play while not converting on their own has been a difficult combination for the Lightning to overcome in the series.

“We’d like to score on the power play. We’d like to be more productive,” Killorn said. “But more importantly, I think we’ve got to just keep them off the power play. They obviously have had a great power play and it seems like the way they’re going, pucks are kind of bouncing off skates and that’s what a good power play does. It puts themselves in a good chance and a good opportunity to score. So I think keep them off the power play and even if we do, we have tighten up and do a little better job getting pucks out of the zone.”

Lightning projected lineup

Ondrej PalatSteven StamkosNikita Kucherov

Brandon Hagel — Anthony Cirelli — Alex Killorn

Ross Colton — Brayden Point — Nicholas Paul

Pat MaroonPierre-Edouard BellemareCorey Perry

Victor HedmanJan Rutta

Ryan McDonaghErik Cernak

Mikhail SergachevZach Bogosian

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Brian Elliott

Scratched: Cal Foote, Frederik Claesson, Riley Nash

Injured: None

Avalanche projected lineup

Artturi Lehkonen — Nathan MacKinnon — Mikko Rantanen

Gabriel LandeskogNazem KadriValeri Nichushkin

Alex Newhook — J.T. Compher — Logan O’Connor

Darren HelmAndrew CoglianoNico Sturm

Devon ToewsCale Makar

Jack JohnsonJosh Manson

Bowen ByramErik Johnson

Darcy Kuemper

Pavel Francouz

Scratched: Justus Annunen, Ryan Murray, Kurtis MacDermid, Jacob MacDonald, Jayson Megna, Nicolas Aube-Kubel

Injured: Samuel Girard (sternum), Andre Burakovsky (hand)

Status report

The Lighting held an optional morning skate. … If Burakovsky is able to play, Sturm or O’Connor likely would be scratched.

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Following Siakam's path, Koloko thrilled to join Raptors: 'It's just surreal' – Sportsnet.ca

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Christian Koloko has big dreams, but also plans. He couldn’t be more excited about them unfolding while wearing a Toronto Raptors uniform.

The second-round pick by the Raptors believes in himself and is confident he can out-perform his draft position as the 33rd player taken on Thursday night.

“My goal is to be a long time NBA player, to be a really good player in the NBA,” he said Friday in media conference call. “Being mentioned for multiple time all-star and just having the best career possible, because you know I kind of started playing basketball kind of late so I think the sky is the limit for me and I will continue to get better.”

But first, baby steps. Having grown up in Cameroon and finished high school in Southern California and then spent three years at the University of Arizona, he’s already ear-marked a portion of his first NBA pay cheque towards a big winter jacket, his first.

He’s seen snow once but living in a northern climate will be a new thing for the long-armed, 7-foot-1, 22-year-old.

Fortunately, Koloko has proven remarkably adaptable throughout his athletic career. Like most kids in Cameroon, Koloko grew up playing soccer – flipping between striker and goalkeeper. He played basketball only recreationally and like Raptors star Pascal Siakam, who – like Koloko — also comes from Douala, only began playing seriously in his late teens, arriving in California for his last two years of high school.

His first language was French, but he pushed himself to become quickly fluent in English, and over his career at Arizona he pushed himself to grow as a player too. He barely saw floor time as a freshman, came off the bench in his second year but in his junior year was a starter, a star, and earned multiple all-conference awards in the Pac-12.

“I think what happened was just me being confident, me believing in myself,” he said. “My first couple years at Arizona were really tough with COVID and everything. “I never really had a chance to work on my game during the summer. My first year at Arizona during the summer I was home and couldn’t do anything with the California rules, so I think I really lost that period of time.

“This year we had a new coaching staff. I came in and talked with the coaches and he told me how he wanted to use me and how he was going to help me get better. I just needed to commit to work hard and that’s what I did, and I think I was more confident this year.”

Koloko is confident he’ll be able to contribute in the NBA sooner than later, with his ability to defend at the rim and — hopefully — hold his own on the perimeter as his calling card. He’ll get his first chance when he joins the Raptors summer league team next month.

“I think I’m a really good defender,” he said. “During the game I can switch one through five and contain my guy in front of me. I probably can’t guard the point guard the whole game, but I feel comfortable during the game switching on a guard and making it hard for him to score on me. I feel like I still have room to improve, and I’ll continue to get better with that, for sure.”

He’ll have a ready-made role model and possible mentor at hand in the form of Siakam, who was an unheralded selection at No.27 in 2016 and has since turned himself from an energizing defender and chaos agent to one of the best all-round forwards in the game, twice earning all-NBA recognition.

The two have met in the previously though only in passing, but Siakam made a point of calling his new teammate on Thursday night, sharing some words of congratulations and encouragement in French.

Koloko considers Siakam’s path to the NBA from Cameroon as a template that he and others back home want to replicate.

“He [Siakam] means everything,” said Koloko. “He’s the first person from Douala to go to the NBA, to get to that level. He’s an NBA champ. He’s an NBA All-Star. This year he was in one of the All-NBA teams. He just means a lot, showing people like me that anything is possible. I think he said when he won the MIP, everything seems impossible until it’s done. That’s what he just shows people … even this year, he had the injury and came back. [He had a] pretty slow start and kept working on his game, and he showed people who he is. Just that perseverance he showed, he just means everything to the city of Douala, for sure.”

The Raptors are obviously heavily invested in Koloko reaching the upper limits of his potential. They have been tracking him since he was a 17-year-old at a Basketball Without Borders camp in South Africa in 2017 and told him that he was available with the 33rd pick they would take him.

For Toronto, Koloko represents something different in that they haven’t had: a prototype of the modern big man – someone who can challenge shots at the rim defensively and be a lob threat offensively, while having the quickness to contain the ball on the perimeter.

“I mean, he’s seven foot, I’m not sure what his wingspan or standing reach is but it definitely is something that we do not have,” said Raptors general manager Bobby Webster. “We probably won’t know [when he can contribute] until we get to be around that a little bit more. But yeah, I think as far as like a seven-foot rim protector? We don’t have that.”

Koloko wants to be more than that – he wears No.35 in honour of his favourite player, Kevin Durant – but he understands that he’s got to prove his ability as a defender before his offensive responsibilities will be fully explored. That he improved so dramatically as a free-throw shooter – from 35 per cent as a freshman to 73.5 per cent as a junior–  and that he has shown some dashes of playmaking while recording six assists in one game and four in two others provides room for optimism.

He watched the draft in Los Angeles, with his family, a night he won’t soon forget. To make to the NBA is one thing, but to do it while playing for Raptors vice-chairman Masai Ujiri, a legend in African basketball and alongside Siakam, a giant figure in their hometown makes it even more special.

“It was amazing. It was crazy. My family was really happy. I was happy for myself,” he says of his draft experience. “Where I’m from, it’s only me and Pascal from that city to make it this far. Even when I got to college, it was a big thing for me to get to that level. To get to the NBA, it’s just surreal. I’m just going to embrace it and continue to get better and show people that you can achieve anything if you put the work in, for sure.

“… I’ve built a really good relationship with Masai and every time I saw [people from the Raptors] they always showed love to me and having them pick me in this draft just means everything, man. I’m forever going to be thankful for them and I’m going to go out there and give everything I have for them.”

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Canada's Bianca Andreescu reaches Bad Homburg final after Simona Halep withdraws – CBC Sports

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Bianca Andreescu reached her first final in more than a year after Simona Halep withdrew ahead of their semifinal match at the Bad Homburg Open in Germany on Friday with a neck injury.

In her first grass-court final, Andreescu will play Caroline Garcia on Saturday.

“I am sorry that I had to withdraw today before my semifinal match,” Halep wrote on Instagram. “But unfortunately I woke up this morning with a blocked neck and this is not allowing me to perform to the best of my ability.”

The 22-year-old Andreescu beat top-seeded Daria Kasatkina 6-4, 6-1 in the quarterfinals.

The Canadian’s last title win was her breakout U.S. Open victory in 2019, when she beat Serena Williams. Her last final was against Ash Barty in Miami in April 2021, when she retired with an ankle injury.

WATCH | Andreescu ousts top-seeded Kasatkina in Germany:

Andreescu knocks out top seed Kasatkina to reach semifinals in Bad Homburg

1 day ago

Duration 3:29

Bianca Andreescu of Mississauga, Ont., defeated top seed Daria Kasatkina of Russia 6-4, 6-1 to reach the semifinals of the Bad Homburg Open in Germany.

Andreescu, who took time off to recharge and work on her mental health, missed the Australian Open before returning to the tour in April.

While the Canadian was able to rest up and prepare for the final, Garcia had to spend close to three hours on court to beat fellow French player Alize Cornet 7-6 (9), 3-6, 7-5.

Garcia saved match point at 5-4 down in the deciding set before winning the next three games as Cornet struggled with an apparent right leg injury which restricted her movement.

Andreescu and Garcia have not met before.

WATCH | Canadian tennis star Andreescu answers questions from kids: 

Bianca Andreescu answers questions from kids

6 hours 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.

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