The Sport Matrix: Saturday 17 January 2015


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McIlroy closes gap on Kaymer with first hole-in-one

Rory McIlroy sunk his first professional hole-in-one in the HSBC Golf Championship second round yesterday, as the four-times major winner mounted another late surge to close within two strokes of leader Martin Kaymer.

The German shot a flawless 67 for an aggregate 13-under score of 131, piling the pressure on McIlroy (above), who teed off under a blistering midday sun.

The Northern Irishman, starting on five under, made birdies on the first two holes but bogeyed the sixth to slip seven strokes behind Kaymer. He claimed further birdies at 10 and 11 before missing simple putts to pick up further shots on the next two holes.

The world No 1’s luck was to turn on the par-three 15th, however, as he lofted a nine-iron tee shot 177 yards straight into the hole. “It made up for the two previous holes,” McIlroy said.

Rangers match cut short due to snow

Rangers’ Scottish Championship match with Hearts at Ibrox was abandoned at 0-0 after just 25 minutes last night, due to heavy snowfall. The game went ahead despite the conditions but players struggled. “There was a potential risk of injury. When you see the players running at 100 per cent, you see they are struggling. It was the best decision to start the game and see what happened,” said referee Bobby Madden.

Yarnold credits ‘relaxing’ for World Cup win

Lizzy Yarnold claimed her second victory of the current World Cup skeleton season in Konigssee, Germany yesterday. Yarnold completed her two runs in 1 minute 44.24 seconds, a comfortable 0.71 sec ahead of second-placed German Anja Huber.

The 26-year-old Yarnold started the season with victory in Lake Placid but was forced to miss the following race in Calgary after experiencing dizzy spells.

She returned to form by taking silver last week in Altenberg behind Russia’s Maria Orlova - who had to settle for bronze in Konigssee. Yarnold said: “I think eventually I’ve learned to relax on this track – it’s taken me six years and I’ve eventually got it.”

McLeish enjoying Genk challenge

Alex McLeish is enjoying a new lease of life at Genk. Belgium’s Jupiler League resumes this weekend with Genk placed seventh and the Scot, who took over as manager in August, says: “There’s a freshness to it and I must say I’m invigorated by it. I feel revitalised.”