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Golf

Sky Sports Golf podcast: Matt Wallace, Phil Mickelson and the distance debate

Matt Wallace’s near-miss in Scotland, Phil Mickelson continuing his winning run on the PGA Tour Champions and the distance debate all feature in the latest Sky Sports Golf podcast.

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Eight-time Solheim Cup player Trish Johnson and Kit Alexander join host Josh Antmann to reflect on the talking points from another busy week in the golfing world.

The panel look back at Adrian Otaegui’s victory at the Scottish Championship and discuss what went wrong for Wallace on the final day, where he squandered a three-shot advantage, plus they look at what the Englishman can do to ensure a return to the winner’s circle.

The trio review Jason Kokrak’s long-awaited breakthrough victory at The CJ Cup and a second win in as many starts for Mickelson, leading to questions about whether the five-time major champion is going to dominate the over-50s circuit.

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Johnson explains why she believes golf courses are often not fair for players within the professional women’s game, and she gives her view on whether she would risk playing the Houston Open – where fans are being allowed – the week before the Masters in the current Covid-19 climate.

The trio also look ahead to this week’s Italian Open and Zozo Championship, where Tiger Woods defends his title, plus answer the best of your questions sent in to @SkySportsGolf.

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October 21, 2020, 7:00pm

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Download and listen to the latest Sky Sports Golf podcast and don’t forget to subscribe via Spotify or Apple Podcasts!

The Vodcast version is out now on Sky Sports On Demand, with the show also on Sky Sports Golf this Wednesday from 7pm and 10pm.

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Golf

Matt Wallace opens up three-shot lead at Scottish Championship

Matt Wallace birdied his final two holes to take a three-shot lead into the final round of the Scottish Championship presented by AXA.

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Scottish Championship presented by AXA

The Englishman’s fast finish closed out a blemish-free round and saw him post a third consecutive 66 in as many days at Fairmont St Andrews, pulling him clear of Garrick Porteous.

Overnight co-leader Adrian Otaegui sits four strokes back in third ahead of Sean Crocker, with Eddie Pepperell part of a three-way tie for fifth on 12 under alongside Chris Paisley and Jonathan Caldwell.

“To finish the way I did was really nice,” Wallace said. “It’s probably the best I’ve ever handled myself. Sometimes I feel like I wanted to push on but I stayed really patient and it showed there by the end.”

Wallace missed a five-foot birdie opportunity at the third but made amends by rolling in from 15 feet at the next, before driving the green at the par-four seventh and converting a 20-footer for eagle.

The world No 51 ended a run of missed birdie chances from inside 15 feet with a close-range gain at 14th, with a bunker hole-out at the par-three 17th and a kick-in birdie at the last extending his advantage.

Porteous made his move up the leaderboard with five birdies in the first eight holes of his third-round 66, while Otaegui was with him in a share of second until finishing his two-under 70 with a penultimate-hole bogey.

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Crocker made an eagle and seven birdies in his eventful five-under 67 to get within five of the lead, with Scottish Open champion Aaron Rai seven back after a double-bogey at the 17th saw him settle for a level-par 72.

Adrian Saddier dropped three shots over his final three holes to join Rai on 11 under, while three straight bogeys around the turn saw Lee Westwood post a third-round 72 and slip into tied-20th,

Who will win the Scottish Championship presented by AXA? Watch the final round live on Sunday from midday on Sky Sports Golf!

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Basketball

Paige Spiranac reminisces about World Series flashers during ‘fun’ baseball game

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Paige Spiranac has joked about the World Series flashing antics of Julia Rose and Lauren Summer.

The pair were banned from attending baseball after they decided to lift their tops in the presence of former Astros pitcher and current Yankees star Gerrit Cole back in October of 2019.

The pair later claimed that their stunt was in support of Breast Cancer Awareness, and also urged spectators to subscribe to their new magazine that features topless women.

Professional golfer Spiranac has now recalled the incident in a tweet that read: “This has been the most fun I’ve had watching baseball since I saw some boobies last year.”

Summer tweeted after their indefinite ban on attending MLB matches was confirmed: "To clarify, yes we knew we would get banned, yes the letters are real, and yes I would do it again lol.”

An official letter to the duo stated: "During the game you violated the fan code of conduct by exposing yourself during the 7th inning, in order to promote a business.

"You were also part of a scheme in which you induced others to expose themselves to promote their business.

"You are hereby banned from all Major League Baseball stadiums and facilities, indefinitely."

Spiranac, who has an Instagram following of over 2.8 million, has earned an army of followers thanks to her golfing videos in which she shares tips and techniques.

The 27-year-old was back in the news recently after admitting her strange eating habits while taking to the course.

She said: “My mum would not give me sandwiches on the golf course because of the bread and carbs.

“So she would make… and, oh my god, this is so embarrassing… I would have baby food.

“They had these little meat sausages, they were like turkey or chicken and it basically looked like a Vienna sausage.

“There were no preservatives, so it was so much better than what you would feed an adult.

“My mum would never give me anything that was bad. So I literally ate baby food until I was 18.”

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Golf

BMW PGA: Tyrrell Hatton hopes hoodies will be accepted, not sneered at by golf ‘snobs’

Tyrrell Hatton admitted his hoodies have “split opinions” among golf fans, but there is no disputing his talent as he jumped into a three-shot lead at Wentworth.

Hatton’s hoodies have prompted debate on acceptable dress codes throughout the BMW PGA Championship, and he was stunned by the huge reaction on social media when his sponsors made 10 tops available from him to give away to 10 of his followers on Twitter.

The leader’s offer has generated almost 12,000 responses, and he insisted that his bold choice of clothing style should be embraced rather then sneered at by “snobby” golf clubs and traditionalists.

“I was going to give out 10 of these to 10 of my followers,” said Hatton, who birdied the 18th for the third day running to cap a three-under 69 and lift him three clear of the chasing pack on 14 under.

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“When I woke up this morning and saw something like 9,500 replies on Twitter … I wonder how many it is now at the end of this round? But the hoodies look good and there’s no reason why there should be an issue with it.

“It’s interesting, obviously it creates a bit of debate. People are split, they don’t know if they like it or not, but I think it’s a cool thing that people are talking about it, should be open to the idea of creating a more open kind of sport rather than being kind of snobby.

“I think you need to move on from that. It’s comfortable when you play golf in it and it looks good, then I don’t see an issue. I actually love them. I mean, they are so nice to swing in. It’s not like jumpers from back in the day where there’s no movement. They are so stretchy and keep you really warm, so on days like this, it’s perfect.”

When he turned his attention back to the job in hand, Hatton insisted he was fully aware of the need to remain patient on the final day, an asset that served him well throughout the third round.

“I just know I’ve got to stay patient, even if guys get off to a really hot start and I don’t,” said Hatton, who turns 29 on Wednesday. “There are so many opportunities out there if you play well, and I just have to allow myself to give myself opportunities to do that. Just have to stay in the moment and see how it plays out.

“That’s one of the things about Wentworth. You know you’re going to have opportunities towards the end of the round. You’ve just got to try and stay patient, which is obviously normally a struggle for me. I feel like I’ve done that pretty well so far this week, and tomorrow is going to be no different. Just got to stay patient and see how we get on.

“I’ve been in this position before and gone on to win tournaments. I’ve been in this position before and not won the tournament. It’s so hard to win tournaments in golf. When it’s your week, obviously everything falls into place.

“Winning here would be really special. It’s kind of a career goal for me to win this event. Being here as a five-year-old and now being inside the ropes is pretty cool. Hopefully I can do that tomorrow.”

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Golf

Francesco Molinari keeping expectations realistic as he prepares for first start since March

Francesco Molinari does not regret putting his family ahead of his career as he prepares to make his long-awaited return to competitive golf this week.

Molinari put his career on hold over the summer and has relocated from London to southern California with his wife and children, a move he admits was made more difficult by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Italian conceded he is unlikely to be fully prepared for the Masters next month due to how little golf he has played since his last start in a professional event, which lasted only 18 holes as The Players Championship was cancelled after the first round in March.

The 37-year-old was ranked sixth in the world shortly after winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in March last year, but his ranking has plummeted to 73rd as he gets ready to return to action at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas.

“The situation with COVID kind of made us think about our set-up, and when it happened I was over here in Florida, my wife was in London and both our of families were in Italy,” Molinari said. “So you ask yourself a few questions, and we just decided to make the move.

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“Obviously it’s not an easy thing to do in general, and it’s even harder to do in these circumstances, but we’re now happy to be here. We’re probably not settled yet; we flew over in mid-July and spent some time in San Francesco but in the end decided to move down to Los Angeles.

“I would say not only in career-wise, it’s obviously more of a family decision in the end, a life decision. When my wife and I moved to London 12 or 13 years ago, obviously we had no kids. It’s a bit different when you do before kids. Now there are a lot more moving parts, I guess.

“But I think it’s worth a shot. I want to try and achieve as many things as possible in let’s say the second part of my career. My wife is supportive of that, and obviously she’s probably the one I guess in the toughest spot because she’s even further away from her family and friends.”

Molinari also revealed he was in San Francisco when the PGA Championship was being played at TPC Harding Park, although he was taking his children to the zoo rather than competing for a second major title.

He intends to play the Houston Open and then the Masters the following week, although he will have low expectations when he gets to Augusta National and feels that could be his final appearance of the year.

“I’ve been playing probably as little golf as ever in my life,” he added. “I was practising in London before the move, and then I took a break when we physically moved over. That’s why I’m saying I’ve got pretty low expectations for this week. I’m definitely far away from where I want to be physically, mentally, technically in the long-term.

“But it’s nice to be back and it’s the start of the process, I guess. I’m looking forward to playing a lot more golf in the coming weeks.”

And, asked he believed he will be 100 per cent ready for the Masters, he said: “I don’t know, we have to see. I think, no, to be honest. Probably I will need an extra month or so. My goal mentally really is to be 100 per cent for January next year. Anything that comes before then in this period of time, it’s kind of a bonus.

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“I don’t know, it’s all new for me. Luckily I’ve never had injuries or big injuries in my career so I never had such a long break from the game, so it’s all kind of new and exciting. This week obviously going to be pretty important to see how I react under pressure after such a long break. It will kind of dictate what I do between now and Augusta.

“But I’m not expecting to be 100 per cent ready for Augusta, no.

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Golf

2021 Latin America Amateur Championship cancelled due to coronavirus complications

The Latin America Amateur Championship scheduled for January has been cancelled, it has been announced.

The tournament has developed into one of the biggest events in the amateur game since its inception in 2014, with each champion earning an invite to the Masters and The Open Championship.

Joaquin Niemann was a notable winner of the 2018 LAAC and has since established himself as a force to be reckoned with on the PGA Tour, winning his first professional title at The Greenbrier a year ago before making his debut in The Internationals team at the Presidents Cup in Australia.

The seventh edition of the LAAC was due to be held at Lima Golf Club in Peru, a 72-hole stroke play event starting on January 14, but the tournament has now been called off “due to complications presented by the COVID-19 pandemic”.

A statement read: “The 2021 Latin America Amateur Championship (LAAC), conducted by the USGA, The R&A and the Masters Tournament, was scheduled to be played January 14-17, 2021, at Lima Golf Club in Lima, Peru. Future championship plans will be announced at a later date.

“Founded in 2014 by the Masters Tournament, The R&A and the USGA, the LAAC was established to further develop amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean. The event annually moves to top courses throughout Latin America and showcases the sport’s rising talent in the region.

“Notable alumni of the championship include 2018 LAAC champion Joaquin Niemann of Chile, Sebastian Munoz of Colombia and 2019 champion Alvaro Ortiz of Mexico. Last year, Ortiz became the first player from Mexico to compete in the Masters since 1979, finishing as the Low Amateur Runner-Up.

“The champion of the LAAC receives an invitation to compete in the Masters Tournament, The Open Championship, The Amateur Championship, the US Amateur Championship and any other USGA amateur championship for which he is eligible.”

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Basketball

Paige Spiranac admits she sends nude photos – but expects something in return

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Golf babe Paige Spiranac has admitted that she has sent nude photos before – but always expects one back.

The 27-year-old has shot to fame after accumulating over 2.7m followers on Instagram.

As well as being a professional golf star, she sets pulses racing with her steamy posts on social media.

But in private, she has admitted to going one further and sending naked pictures in the past.

However, she has made sure that she gets one back for 'collateral'.

Speaking on her You Got Game podcast, the American star said: "This is what p***** me off.

"If a guy is asking for a picture, you also have to return the picture with another picture.

"It is not that I really care to see it, it's more just collateral. I need to have something of yours, because you have something of mine.

"I learned that the hard way!"

Spiranac certainly did after a photo she had sent to someone she was dating was leaked onto the internet.

After the relationship turned sour, her ex shared the photo with pals that quickly found itself spread further.

Addressing her attitude towards sending pictures before her nude pictures were leaked, Spiranac said: "I was fun.

"I was carefree and I didn't think twice about it!

"That was just my thing, I would send pictures because I didn't like sexting, or doing things over Facetime or talking dirty.

"When it is over Facetime or through text, I find it is very uncomfortable because guys are awkward. They make it awkward.

"They just take it to such an extreme level, or they say something uncomfortable.

"They don't know how to do it in a sexy way. It's just like 'you're a dirty w****' and it's a little much!"

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