Jones soars on Sydney winds, frustrated Spieth in touch

SYDNEY Sydneysider Matt Jones stormed into a three-stroke lead with a three-under-par 68 in the second round of the Australian Open on Friday as reigning champion Jordan Spieth moved into a share of third despite another frustrating day. The American world number one also carded a 68 to stand four shots off the pace set by Jones on seven-under and a stroke behind big-hitting local Todd Sinnott, who was second after a 70.Although conditions were markedly calmer than on Thursday, when temperatures soared and gusts of wind swirled across the fairways at the Australian Golf Club, good scores were still at a premium.Spieth could have really put his stamp on the tournament, therefore, if he had built on the progress he made on the front nine, when he picked up birdies at the first, second and seventh holes. Another at the 14th sent him to four-under but a poor chip and a short putt at the next saw him drop his first shot of the day, a swipe of the hand in the direction of the offending ball making clear his frustration.A second bogey at the 16th dropped him deep into the pack again and although he finished with a birdie at the 18th, the 22-year-old was left on three-under feeling he had missed an opportunity. "The cross-winds again made it a guessing game out there today, leaving a 50-50 shot and we got less than 50 percent of them right," he told reporters.  "It just made it so frustrating as I was striking the ball well, and it was a round I could have shot six or seven under par, and I just didn't have any chances."So boy, it was a round that could have been and that made it so frustrating as I found myself finally getting into a nice rhythm as I was hitting fairways and giving myself opportunities but I just couldn't quite gauge the wind." U.S. PGA tour winner Jones was already in the clubhouse when Spieth got underway, having mixed five birdies with two birdies to add the 68 to the impressive 67 he shot when the wind was at its peak on Thursday afternoon.The 35-year-old is a member of the host club and conceded that 20 years playing the course gave him some advantage when it came to dealing with the breeze."But you've still got to get it in the hole," he said. "If there was no wind, I could have gone out and shot three over today -- that's how golf is." Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts had the best round of the day with a 66 for a share of third with Spieth, former U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy (71), overnight leader Lincoln Tighe (73) and another local in Aron Price (68).Former world number one Adam Scott had a rare round where he failed to pick up a single birdie, finishing nine shots off the pace on two-over after a 73.The difficult conditions means he comfortably made the cut, however, and, like U.S. Open and Masters champion Spieth, will be looking to go low over the weekend."Right now I think the goal is going to be to try and shoot 10 under on the weekend and I think that should be good enough," said Spieth. (Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

Read More
Apple wins dismissal of lawsuit over MacBook logic boards

Apple Inc won the dismissal on Thursday of a lawsuit accusing it of defrauding consumers by selling MacBook laptop computers that contained "logic boards" it knew were defective, and which routinely failed within two years.U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco said the plaintiffs, Uriel Marcus and Benedict Verceles, failed to show that Apple made "affirmative misrepresentations," despite citing online complaints and Apple marketing statements calling the laptops "state of the art" or the "most advanced" on the market."Plaintiffs have failed to allege that Apple's logic boards were unfit for their ordinary purposes or lacked a minimal level of quality," Alsup wrote. "Both plaintiffs were able to adequately use their computers for approximately 18 months and two years, respectively."Alsup gave the plaintiffs until Jan. 22 to amend their lawsuit, which sought class-action status, against the Cupertino, California-based company. Omar Rosales, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Apple did not immediately respond to a similar request.The plaintiffs claimed that Apple's sale of MacBooks since May 20, 2010, violated consumer protection laws in California and Texas, where the lawsuit began last May before being moved.They also contended that Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook was told about the defective logic boards in 2011, but did nothing. Logic boards contain computer circuitry and are sometimes known as motherboards.A separate and still pending lawsuit in California accuses Apple of defrauding consumers by selling MacBook Pro laptops in 2011 that contained defective graphic cards, causing screen distortions and system failures. MacBooks are part of Apple's Mac line of desktop and laptop computers. The company reported unit sales in that business of 18.91 million in its latest fiscal year.The case is Marcus et al v. Apple Inc, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 14-03824. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York. Editing by Andre Grenon)

Read More
Nicole Kidman named best actress in London stage awards

LONDON Nicole Kidman won the best actress award for her performance as a DNA researcher in the play "Photograph 51" at the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards on Sunday.James McAvoy won best actor for a revival of "The Ruling Class" while Imelda Staunton took the award for best performance in a musical for her portrayal of Momma Rose in a revival of the 1959 Broadway musical "Gypsy".The Oscar-winning Kidman, performing on the London stage for the first time since 1998, has won rave reviews for her portrayal of Rosalind Franklin, whose use of X-ray diffraction images helped lead to the discovery of DNA's double helix structure.In other categories, the award for best play went to "The Motherf**ker with the Hat" by Stephen Adly Guirgis and the best director award went to Robert Icke for his revival of Aeschylus's "Oresteia". The award for best design went to Anna Fleischle for "Hangmen" while Molly Davies received the award for most promising playwright for "God Bless the Child". The emerging talent award was won by David Moorst, for his role in "Violence and Son" and the newcomer in a musical award went to Gemma Arterton, for her musical theater debut in "Made in Dagenham".Actors Judi Dench and Ian McKellen served as co-hosts of the event, along with the Evening Standard's publisher Evgeny Lebedev. (Reporting by Michael Roddy; Editing by Ros Russell)

Read More
Australia says El Nino-reinforcing weather condition ends

SYDNEY A climate condition that has reinforced the impact of an El Nino weather event in recent months has broken down over the past fortnight, but a strong El Nino persists, Australia's weather bureau said on Tuesday.A positive Indian Ocean Dipole - a difference in sea surface temperatures between two areas - ended in the past two weeks, as is common at the start of the country's monsoon season, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said.More broadly, the bureau said Indian Ocean temperatures had remained warmer than average in 2015, which has offset some of the drying influence of the current El Nino. A strong El Nino persists in the Pacific Ocean, it said, comparable to 1997/98, but climate models suggest sea surface temperatures are approaching their peak and will decrease in the first quarter of 2016.An El Nino, a warming of sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific, can cause scorching weather across Asia and East Africa, but heavy rains and floods in South America. (Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Richard Pullin)

Read More
Britain's Davis Cup team delay departure for Belgium

LONDON Britain's Davis Cup team delayed their departure to Belgium by 24 hours on Sunday after Brussels went on maximum alert amid a search for armed Islamist extremists and fears of imminent attacks.A spokesman for the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) said the team, led by Andy Murray, had trained on the clay courts at London's Queen's Club on Sunday and now planned to travel on Monday.The LTA said in a statement it was monitoring the situation closely and taking government advice."The safety of everyone in the British contingent, including our players and fans, remains our number one priority," it added.The three-day final between Britain and Belgium is scheduled to start on Friday at the 13,000-seat Flanders Expo in Ghent, 35 miles north west of Brussels.The Flemish Tennis Federation (FTF), who are staging the event, said it believed the final would be played. "Everything is continuing because we believe it will go on," the FTF was quoted as saying by the BBC.FTF chief executive Gijs Kooken is in regular contact with the Belgian government and said he had "not yet had a signal that it's not safe to organize the event."It is an event with international exposure, with 13,000 spectators a day, so it is a risk event, of course, in the current situation - but I'm very confident in our government. "Of course, you never can predict what will happen next, but I would be surprised if it was canceled. I'm quite confident that we will play next weekend," he told the BBC.Belgium put the capital on maximum security alert on Saturday, shutting the metro and warning people to avoid crowds because of a "serious and imminent" threat of coordinated, multiple attacks by militants. The move follows last week's deadly attacks in Paris by Islamic State militants, of whom one suspect from Brussels remains at large.Bernard Clerfayt, mayor of the Brussels district of Schaerbeek, was quoted by broadcaster RTBF as saying there were "two terrorists" in the Brussels area ready to carry out violence.The International Tennis Federation (ITF) said on Saturday it was greatly concerned by the raised terror alert but preparations for the final were continuing. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis and Ken Ferris)

Read More
Older Post