Four tournaments into his season, Phil Mickelson showed signs of turning the corner Thursday. Mickelson, nowhere near the leaderboard since his collapse at the U.S. Open last summer, eagled his final hole at Poppy Hills for a 7-under 65 to share the lead with rookie John Mallinger and Nick Watney in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Rock, sidelined by the chicken pox last year in Kuala Lumpur, had seven birdies and a bogey on the Saujana Golf and Country Club course. Indian rookie S.S.P. Chowrasia shot a 67, and American Edward Loar was another stroke back along with Australia’s Kane Webber and Argentina’s Rafael Echenique. Three of the biggest stars in the field struggled. Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke opened with a 74, and New Zealand’s Michael Campbell and England’s Lee Westwood, the 1997 Malaysian Open winner, shot 75s. WOMEN’S GOLF South Korea’s Ahn Sun-ju shot an 8-under 64 to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Australian Ladies Masters. The 19-year-old Ahn had 10 birdies and two bogeys on the Royal Pines course in the event sanctioned by the Australian and European tours. Wales’s Rebecca Brewerton and Sweden’s Cecilia Ekelundh opened with 66s. Americans Cristie Kerr and Natalie Gulbis were five strokes back after 69s. Five-time champion Karrie Webb, coming off a victory last week in the Women’s Australian Open, shot a 71. – From News Services 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Whether this week marks the return of Mickelson won’t be decided for three more days. One thing was clear on a gray afternoon on the Monterey Peninsula was the return of the miserable conditions that have made this tournament infamous over the years. It was cold, wet and windy – known as “Crosby” weather in these parts because of the years when Bing Crosby was the tournament host. Mickelson and Watney played at Poppy Hills, the easiest of three courses in the rotation because it is the farthest from the Pacific Ocean and shielded by trees. The best round belonged to Mallinger, a 27-year-old rookie who was on the wrong course at the right time. He was at Pebble Beach, which is exposed to the wind along the cliffs of the ocean. Mallinger, however, started his round on the 10th tee in the virtual calm of the morning, and gusts strong enough to topple a tree at Spyglass Hill didn’t arrive until he had only five holes remaining. Jim Furyk played his best golf in the worst conditions, making five birdies on the back nine at Spyglass Hill for a 67. Also at 67 was Arjun Atwal, another early starter at Pebble Beach who went without a bogey until the 18th. The wind was blowing so hard off the ocean that his tee shot sailed right of a bunker, nearly into the hedges. Mickelson, a two-time winner at Pebble Beach, ran off three straight birdies on the back nine at Poppy Hills, made the turn in 31 and then settled for pars in the cold, blustery conditions until the par-5 ninth, where he shot into a share of the lead. EUROPEAN TOUR England’s Robert Rock shot a 6-under 66 – his lowest score in a PGA European Tour-sanctioned event – to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Malaysian Open.
6 February 2009The true legacy of the 2010 Fifa World Cup “will be in our ability to showcase South African and African hospitality and humanity – to change once and for all perceptions of our country and our continent among the peoples of the world,” President Kgalema Motlanthe said in Cape Town on Friday.Delivering his state of the nation address in Parliament, Motlanthe urged all South Africans to join in and help showcase the country as the “rainbow nation” that it is.The President said South Africa’s preparations for hosting both the 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup and 2010 Fifa World Cup were well on track.“Virtually all the projects and plans are completed or nearing completion – from stadiums, transport infrastructure, security measures and issues of accommodation to health and immigration plans – confirming the confidence of the global soccer fraternity that ours will be a truly successful tournament,” he said.South Africa’s hosting of the two football tournaments would provide, at minimum, a temporary boost to capital inflows and domestic economic growth, the President added.Transport, tourism, and the informal sector – or “second economy” – would benefit directly from the massive influx of tourists destined for South Africa’s shores.The Confederations Cup will be hosted in four South African cities from 14 to 28 June, followed by the World Cup, which will take place in nine host cities from 11 June to 11 July 2010.Motlanthe praised the national soccer team, Bafana Bafana, for their recent performances. Bafana Bafana have notched up five wins in a row against Malawi, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Cameroon and more recently Zambia.“We believe that, after five consecutive wins, the national soccer team is now more confidently gearing itself to perform above expectations!”At the same time, Motlanthe congratulated South Africa’s sportsmen and women for their performances over the past year.“Special accolades are due to our cricket team, which has climbed to the apex of global rankings. We are of course rugby world champions; Giniel de Villiers and his team have won the Dakar Rally; our Paralympians continue to do us proud; and our under-20 soccer team did quite well in [qualifying for the 2009 World Cup Youth Championship],” he said.Source: BuaNews