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Rediff.com  » Sports » Sports Shorts: Kaymer wins Grand Slam title in playoff over Watson

Sports Shorts: Kaymer wins Grand Slam title in playoff over Watson

October 16, 2014 11:00 IST

Martin Kaymer of Germany

Martin Kaymer of Germany, left, shakes hands with Bubba Watson of the United States after Kaymer won the first playoff hole during the final day of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf at Port Royal Golf Course. Photograph: Scott Halleran/Getty Images

US Open champion Martin Kaymer sank an eight-foot birdie putt at the first extra hole to beat Bubba Watson in the four-man PGA Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda on Wednesday.

Ten days after a blowout singles win over Watson on the final day of the Ryder Cup, German Kaymer had to work much harder to overcome his American rival for a second time.

He erased a two-stroke deficit in the final two holes of regulation before triumphing in breezy conditions at Port Royal Golf Course in the elite 36-hole event which brings together the winners of the year's four majors.

In the sudden-death playoff at the par-four 18th, both players hit nice approach shots, but Kaymer's finished further from the hole, so he putted first and made no mistake, before Masters champion Watson missed from inside five feet.

Earlier, Kaymer (71) and Masters champion Watson (69) finished on six-under 136, eight strokes in front of Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy and nine clear of American Jim Furyk.

After McIlroy won two majors this year, the British Open and PGA Championship, Furyk was invited as the fourth player.

Watson reeled off three consecutive birdies from the 14th to go two strokes with two holes to play, only to bogey the par-five 17th after finding the water.

He was on the wrong end of a two-shot swing when Kaymer birdied the same hole to tie it up with one hole to play.

They both parred the last, which necessitated a playoff.

The event was completed two days before the expected arrival of Hurricane Gonzalo, which on Wednesday strengthened into a Category 4 hurricane about 640 miles (1,025 km) south-southwest of Bermuda.

Cilic through to Kremlin Cup quarter-finals

Marin Cilic

Marin Cilic of Croatia reacts. Photograph: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

US Open champion Marin Cilic was made to work hard before he earned a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 win over 128th-ranked Russian journeyman Evgeny Donskoy to reach the quarter-finals of the Kremlin Cup on Wednesday.

Cilic was pushed to the limit at times but claimed victory in just under two hours to keep alive his hopes of qualifying for next month's ATP Tour Finals.

The Croatian second seed had the greater composure in the decider, breaking wildcard Donskoy three times while just about managing to keep his own serve functioning, despite being broken twice by the 24-year-old Russian.

"I am generally happy with today's match," said Cilic, who will next face either Tommy Robredo or Filip Krajinovic.

"In the first match of a tournament, I always feel a bit rusty.

"I was really surprised by my opponent. I had never played Donskoy before and had not even trained with him. He played a great game today."

The Croat currently stands sixth in the "Race to London" for the end-of-season ATP World Tour Finals which will feature the top eight players.

Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Australian Open winner Stanislas Wawrinka have already qualified, while several players are still in contention to grab the four remaining places.

The race to London:

1 Novak Djokovic 9010-qualified

2 Roger Federer 8020-qualified

3 Rafael Nadal 6745-qualified

4 Stanislas Wawrinka 4805-qualified

5 Kei Nishikori 4265

6 Marin Cilic 3990

7 Tomas Berdych 3945

8 Milos Raonic 3750

- - - - - - - - - - - -

9 David Ferrer 3715

10 Andy Murray 3655

11 Grigor Dimitrov 3450

Algeria, Cape Verde through to Nations Cup finals

Yaya Toure

Wilfried Bony of the Ivory Coast, centre, celebrates with Yaya Toure, left, and Gervinho. Photograph: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

The tiny Cape Verde Islands became the first country to book a place at next year’s African Nations Cup finals and were joined by Algeria after Wednesday’s round of qualifiers across the continent.

A 75th-minute goal from Heldon gave Cape Verde a 1-0 home win over Mozambique in Praia for their third victory in four games and a guaranteed a top-two finish in Group F while Algeria overcame Malawi 3-0 in Blida to keep up their 100 percent record in Group B.

Yacine Brahimi scored after only two minutes for Algeria and Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani added two more in a comfortable triumph that ensures their place at next January’s finals in Morocco.

Cape Verde, with a population of less than 500,000, were surprise quarter-finalists at the last finals in South Africa and continued their remarkable rise with a competent showing in the qualifiers.

Cameroon, the Ivory Coast, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia also had a chance to secure qualification on a busy day of action, but must wait until the next round of qualifiers in November.

Cameroon scored twice in the opening seven minutes to beat Sierra Leone 2-0 in Yaounde and top Group D, but would only have been sure of progressing to the finals had the Ivorians beaten the Democratic Republic of Congo in Abidjan later on Wednesday.

Instead the Congolese produced a surprise triumph in a seven-goal thriller, scoring a late winner through Jeremy Bokila.

The Ivorians, whose first goal came from Yaya Toure, fought back from 3-1 down at halftime.

They had debutant defender Franck Kessie sent off minutes into the second half, but levelled the game at 3-3 after a quick double from Salomon Kalou, before DR Congo's Bokila scored his second of the night to secure a shock three points.

Tunisia beat Senegal with a goal five minutes into stoppage time from substitute Sassi Ferjani, but a 2-0 victory for Egypt over Botswana in Cairo means Group G is also not yet settled. Had Egypt failed to win, both Senegal and Tunisia could have progressed.

South Africa would have booked their finals place if they had beaten Congo at home in Polokwane, but were held to a goalless draw in a match played in heavy rain.

Gabon, despite an early dismissal, stayed top of Group C after a 1-1 draw in Burkina Faso, while Ghana top Group E after a 3-1 triumph over Guinea in Tamale. Asamoah Gyan, Dede Ayew and substitute Edward Agyemang Badu all scored for the Black Stars.

Ahmed Musa netted twice for holders Nigeria to win their first game of the qualifying campaign, as they beat Sudan 3-1 to resurrect their Group A hopes.

The 2012 winners Zambia also got a first victory as they overcame Niger 3-0 while Angola’s 4-0 thrashing of Lesotho was the most convincing scoreline of the day.

The top two finishers in each of the seven groups qualify for the finals along with the best third placed finisher. The finals are set for January 17- February 8.

MLS chief fires back at Klinsmann over 'damaging' comments

Juergen Klinsmann

United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann with his players. Photographs: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber hit back strongly at US national team coach Juergen Klinsmann for saying players switching to the league could be hampered by a drop in form.

While MLS has trumpeted the return of leading US players like Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley as a sign of the league's rise, Klinsmann said this week that players returning from stints in Europe risked a drop in form.

"Juergen's comments are very, very detrimental to the league, to the sport of soccer in North America ... they are wrong," Garber said during a heated conference call specifically arranged so he could reply to Klinsmann's comments.

An animated Garber said Klinsmann's words, which were made on Monday, were "incredibly damaging and personally infuriating" and undermined the work that MLS and the US Soccer Federation were doing to develop the game.

"It sends the wrong message to other young American players that we collectively - the league and federation - want to have in Major League Soccer so that we can develop the game and the league," said Garber.

"Juergen needs to think very hard about how he manages himself publicly."

The MLS chief said he sent a "very strong letter" to US Soccer president Sunil Gulati and that MLS club owners had done the same independently.

As well as being head coach of the senior national team, Klinsmann is also technical director of US Soccer, responsible for the overall development of players.

"I am just demanding that he refrain from making comments that are critical of our players and damaging to our league," added Garber, who noted that MLS players had made up a large chunk of Klinsmann's World Cup squad.

Klinsmann, speaking ahead of Tuesday's friendly against Honduras, expressed concerns that Bradley, who moved from AS Roma, and Dempsey, who left Tottenham for Seattle Sounders, could suffer a drop in form.

"There's nothing I can do about it. I made it clear with Clint's move back and Michael's move back that it's going to be very difficult to keep the same level that they experienced at the places where they were," said Klinsmann "It's just reality. It's just being honest."

Garber also criticised Klinsmann's decision to leave out national team record scorer Landon Donovan from his World Cup squad in Brazil.

Levski fined for mocking UEFA’s anti-racism campaign

Levski Sofia

A general view of inside the Stadium Vassil Levski. Photograph: Nikolay Doychinov/EuroFootball/Getty Images

Levski Sofia have been fined 19,000 levs ($12,419) after fans mocked one of the anti-racism campaigns launched by European soccer's governing body UEFA in a Bulgarian league match last month.

The Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) imposed the relatively small fine on Wednesday after several Levski supporters held up a banner stating "Say yes to racism" and doctored UEFA logo during their 3-2 league win over champions Ludogorets.

The ugly incident caused outrage in the Black Sea state.

Bulgarian soccer authorities have long been criticised by anti-racism campaigners, local media and fans for not cracking down hard enough on discrimination in sport.

Levski, 26-times Bulgarian champions and one of the country's two most popular clubs along with bitter city rivals CSKA, have a history of racism at their matches.

The BFU fined the club 37,500 levs after their supporters displayed a banner showing a swastika and another one marking what would have been Adolf Hitler's birthday during their game at Litex Lovech in April 2013.

In 2012, Levski were fined 30,000 euros ($38,328) by UEFA for racist behaviour by fans during a Europa League match against Bosnia & Herzegovina's Sarajevo.

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