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China teen leads by 2, goes for Masters bid

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China teen leads by 2, goes for Masters bid

BANGKOK (AP) Guan Tianlang of China is one round away from becoming the first 14-year-old to play in the Masters.

Guan overcame some early nerves and a difficult course at Amata Spring on Saturday with a par 72 to take a two-shot lead over Oliver Goss of Australia going into the final day of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship.

``Everybody looked a little bit nervous to start with, and there was not much talking,'' Guan said. ``I then started to focus on my own game and felt pretty relaxed on the back nine, got a few birdies, so it was all right.''

The winner gets an invitation to play in the Masters, along with an exemption to the final stage of qualifying for the British Open. The youngest competitor in Masters history was Matteo Manassero of Italy, who was 16 in 2010.

The third round showed that Guan still has a long way to Augusta National.

Goss, a quarterfinalist in the U.S. Amateur and winner last week in the Western Australia Open, shot a 69 in tougher conditions. He has a big advantage in distance over the 125-pound Guan.

The Australian was impressed with the slender schoolboy, who hits it about 250 yards off the tee.

``Guan did well because the course was playing a lot tougher than the first two days. He doesn't hit it as far as other players, so I think he did really well,'' Goss said. ``I hit it longer than him, but I think he's too young to be intimidated.''

Guan began Saturday with a five-shot lead and dropped two shots on the front nine before he settled down with birdies on the 11th, 12th and 14th. For the second time in three days, he made bogey on the 18th. That put him at 14-under 202.

Prin Sirisommai of Thailand also had a 72 for third, five shots behind. Hideki Matsuyama, going for a third straight Asia-Pacific Amateur title, had a 71 and was eight shots back.

Guan played in the China Open this spring, at 13 the youngest player to compete at a European Tour event. A year ago, he won his age division (11-12) by 11 shots at the Junior World Golf Championships in San Diego.

Guan realizes what's at stake on Sunday and the quality of his competition.

``Goss hits the driver pretty far and every part of his game is pretty good,'' Guan said. ``He doesn't make big mistakes. He's a very good player.''

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Clarifying the confusion about the Redskins' Week 16 game at the Titans

Clarifying the confusion about the Redskins' Week 16 game at the Titans

There was some confusion about the Redskins’ Week 16 game in Tennessee when the NFL schedule dropped. The schedule pushed out by the Redskins said that the game date and time are to be determined. Other versions that went out, including the one on NFL.com, says the game will be on Sunday, December 23 at 1 p.m.

So what’s the story? Well, if you’re thinking of making reservations to go to Nashville to watch the game you just might want to hold off for a while. Like, until early November. 

In an under the radar move, the NFL has established flex scheduling for its late-season Saturday games. Here are the details from the schedule press release from Redskins PR:

“Flexibility for Saturday games in Weeks 15 and 16 is also part of the 2018 schedule. In Week 15, there will be two games played on Saturday on NFL Network, with the game times of 4:30 p.m. and 8:20 p.m. to be determined. In Week 16, two of four possible matchups will be scheduled for Saturday. Start times and Saturday games for Week 15 and 16 will be announced no later than following Week 8, with the non-Saturday games to be played on Sunday.”

The way it sets up, if the Redskins and Titans are playing well in midseason there is a good chance the game will be played on Saturday, December 22 at either 4:30 or 8:20. If one or both teams are struggling, the league and networks could choose to flex two of the other four matchups to Saturday. 

This is taking flex scheduling to a different level. It’s one thing shifting a Sunday kickoff seven and a half hours from 1 p.m. to 8:30. It’s another to shift a whole day. The visiting teams can’t make travel arrangements, not knowing if they need to come into town on Friday for a Saturday game or on Saturday for Sunday. Fans who want to travel to the game are in the same boat. 

Of course, if you can afford it, you can just add a day to your Nashville excursion. There are worse things in the world than spending an extra day or two in Music City. 

If you have to wait to make your plans, as the Redskins do, you will find out no later than October 29, which is when Week 8 ends. 

Do you believe in trends? Then you should hope that the game does get flexed to Saturday. The Redskins have won three straight Saturday games, beating the Eagles in both 2014 and 2015 (the latter game clinching the division title for Washington) and the Bears in 2016. 

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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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John Tortorella has no answers, walks out of postgame press conference after Game 4

John Tortorella has no answers, walks out of postgame press conference after Game 4

In each of the first three games of the series, the Columbus Blue Jackets always had an answer for the Washington Capitals.

The Caps built a two-goal lead in each game and Columbus was able to battle back and tie it each time.

In Game 4 on Thursday, however. the Blue Jackets had no answer in a 4-1 loss to Washington and that includes head coach John Tortorella.

"We weren't good," Tortorella said to the media after the game. "There's no sense asking me things about the game. I'm telling you, we laid an egg. I'm not going to break it down for you. We sucked. We sucked."

Tortorella is known for having some fiery interactions with the media. By his standard, Thursday's postgame presser was fairly tame.

The Capitals may have won Game 3, but Columbus certainly looked like the better team for most of the night. That was not the case in Game 4 as Washington dominated from start to finish. That led to the contentious postgame presser.

"We laid an egg," Tortorella said. "That's all I have to say, guys. I'm sorry, I'm not going to break it down for you. Nothing went well for us. It's on us, we have to figure it out and we will."

Reporters continued to press the head coach until he finally walked out.

Before you laugh too hard at this, it is important to consider that this may be a calculated move by Tortorella.

Sure, there have been times in which he has lost his temper in the past, but these outbursts may be more premeditated than we think.

Consider this. After their worst game of the series, a game in which the Blue Jackets only scored once and saw a 2-0 series lead evaporate in two games at home, we're talking about the head coach. We're not talking about the loss or the performance of the players. Instead, we are talking about Tortorella walking out on reporters.

Even if Tortorella was not willing to give any answers on Thursday, he will need to find some soon. The series now shifts back to Washington for Game 5 on Saturday with all the momentum on the Caps' side.

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