The Asian reporter. (Portland, Or.) 1991-current, January 16, 2017, Page Page 9, Image 9

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January 16, 2017
Justin Thomas holds on to beat
Hideki Matsuyama at Kapalua
By Doug Ferguson
The Associated Press
APALUA, Hawai‘i — Justin Thomas kept
reminding himself that a one-shot lead with two
holes to play is never a bad place to be on the
Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) Tour.
Ignoring that his five-shot lead was nearly gone against
Hideki Matsuyama, Thomas thought more about the
great golf that had put him in this position at the SBS
Tournament of Champions. He responded by hitting an
8-iron from 214 yards on a downhill lie that was so pure he
stopped to admire it before it landed.
It plopped down in front of the pin and settled three feet
away for a birdie.
Matsuyama three-putted for bogey and Thomas was on
his way to a comfortable victory at Kapalua that moved
him into the conversation of golf’s young stars.
Matsuyama, going after his fourth straight victory
worldwide, knew he needed to make his 30-foot birdie putt
to stay in the game. He ran it eight feet by, missed the par
putt coming back, and was out of chances when Thomas
hammered another tee shot on the par-5 18th hole.
Thomas closed with a two-putt birdie for a 4-under 69
and a three-shot victory, his second of the PGA Tour
season that moved him to No. 12 in the world. His other
PGA Tour title was at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia.
Matsuyama, who made two soft bogeys on the front nine
to fall five shots behind, made it more of a game than
anyone expected. The 24-year-old from Japan holed a flop
shot for eagle on the 14th hole, then Thomas hooked a
4-iron into the hazard on the par-5 15th hole and made
double bogey.
Just like that, Thomas went from a five-shot lead to a
one-shot lead, and Matsuyama had a 10-foot birdie putt on
the 16th to tie for the lead. The putt narrowly missed, and
Thomas answered with his 8-iron for birdie to end it.
Matsuyama closed with a 70.
“My putter let me down there at 16, 17, and 18,”
Matsuyama said. “I tipped my hat to Justin. He played
SENIOR STRIKER. Kazuyoshi Miura of Yokohama FC heads the ball
while his team plays Tokyo Verdy during a J-League match in Tokyo, in
this May 3, 2013 file photo. One of the longest careers in soccer has
been extended after 49-year-old striker Miura renewed his contract with
second-division J-League club Yokohama FC. (AP Photo/Kyodo News)
49-year-old striker
Kazuyoshi Miura extends
contract for a 32nd season
TOKYO (AP) — One of the longest careers in soccer has
been extended after 49-year-old striker Kazuyoshi Miura
renewed his contract with second-division J-League club
Yokohama FC.
Miura, who will turn 50 on February 26, will enter his
32nd season this year.
Miura played in 20 league games last year and scored
twice. On August 7, he scored in a match against Cerezo
Osaka to make him the J-League’s oldest scorer at 49
years, five months, and 12 days.
Miura played for Brazilian club Santos and in Italy with
Genoa early in his career, and represented Japan’s
national team 89 times, scoring 55 goals, but never played
in the World Cup.
Ex-major leaguer Manny Ramirez
to make comeback in Japan
TOKYO (AP) — Former major league outfielder Manny
Ramirez has agreed to terms with the Kochi Fighting
Dogs of Japan’s independent Shikoku Island League. The
team announced the signing on its official website.
The 44-year-old native of the Dominican Republic
played for the EDA Rhinos of Chinese Professional
Baseball in Taiwan in 2013, hitting .352 with eight home
runs and 43 Runs Batted In (RBI).
The four-team independent league is based in Shikoku,
the smallest and least populous of Japan’s four main
Ramirez finished his 19-season major league career
with a lifetime .312 batting average, 555 home runs, and
1,831 RBI.
GRIPPING GOLF. Hideki Matsuyama of Japan waves after making
birdie on the 18th green during the third round of the SBS Tournament
of Champions golf event at the Kapalua Plantation Course in Kapalua,
Hawai‘i, on January 7, 2017. Fellow golfer Justin Thomas held on to
beat Matsuyama at Kapalua. (AP Photo/Matt York)
well all day long.”
Thomas is the only player to beat Matsuyama over the
last three months. In his last six tournaments worldwide,
Matsuyama had four victories and a pair of runner-up
finishes — both to Thomas, in Kuala Lumpur and
Thomas, who finished with a 22-under 270, said his
immediate thoughts were booking a return trip to
Kapalua next year for the winners-only event.
“It changes things going forward because I know I’m
coming back here,” Thomas said.
Argentine soccer star Carlos Tevez signs $40M deal in China
By Nomaan Merchant
The Associated Press
EIJING — Argentine striker Carlos Tevez has
signed to play for Shanghai Shenhua, becoming
the latest in a procession of star players to join the
Chinese Super League.
Shanghai Shenhua said it paid an $11 million transfer
fee to Argentine club Boca Juniors.
A person familiar with the negotiations said the 32-
year-old Tevez would be paid $40 million over two years.
The source spoke on condition of anonymity because he
was not authorized to divulge details of the transaction.
Tevez joins team training on the Japanese island of
Okinawa this month. The next Super League season
begins in March.
Chinese clubs have spent heavily over the past year to
attract mainly South American stars. Also in late
December, Shenhua’s city rival, Shanghai SIPG, sealed a
deal with Oscar from Chelsea. Other stars to join Chinese
clubs include Brazilians Hulk, Ramires, and Paulinho,
Colombian striker Jackson Martinez, and Argentine
forward Ezequiel Lavezzi.
Tevez will be coached by Gus Poyet, the former
Sunderland and Real Betis manager who became
Shenhua’s manager in November. Other internationally
recognized managers in the Chinese Super League
include Guangzhou Evergrande coach Luiz Felipe Scolari,
Shanghai SIPG coach Andre Villas-Boas, and Hebei
China Fortune’s Manuel Pellegrini.
China’s government wants to turn the country into a
football power, setting the goal of having a team capable of
winning the World Cup by 2050. Leading the national
team is Italian coach Marcello Lippi, who was signed in
2016 to a hefty contract of his own. China has also
invested in youth soccer and building stronger pipelines to
develop homegrown talent.
But the Super League’s shopping spree has raised
eyebrows and alarmed major European clubs who
previously had no rival in attracting the world’s top
players. Antonio Conte, manager of Chelsea, said “the
Chinese market is a danger for all.”
Tevez has appeared in two World Cups for Argentina
and previously played for Manchester United,
Manchester City, and West Ham United in the English
Premier League, as well as Italy’s Juventus.
Tevez last year moved to Boca Juniors, the club where
he began his senior career, after helping Juventus win its
fourth straight Serie A title. But he was quoted in the
Argentine press saying he was unhappy and even
contemplating retirement.
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