McIlroy keen to win money titles in Europe and US


McIlroy keen to win money titles in Europe and US

SHANGHAI (AP) Rory McIlroy returns to competition as the defending BMW Masters champion determined to end his best season as the European Tour No. 1.

McIlroy has joined 10 of his victorious European Ryder Cup teammates, captain Jose Maria Olazabal, and 28 of the top 30 players on the European money list for the tournament starting on Thursday on the Jack Nicklaus-designed course at Lake Malaren Golf Club.

McIlroy captured the inaugural tournament in a playoff with Anthony Kim last year, but this time it's sanctioned and the sixth-to-last on the 2012 schedule.

He's scheduled to play in four of the events, hoping to do well enough to emulate Luke Donald's feat last year of winning the money titles on the European and U.S. tours.

He leads both for now, but it's the Race to Dubai money list he dearly seeks after being runner-up in 2009 and 2011.

``It would be good to knock that off and try and do what Luke did last year and win the money on both tours,'' McIlroy said.

``I've got Justin (Rose) and Branden (Grace) right behind me, so if I do play well in my four events hopefully I can achieve that goal.''

McIlroy leads Rose on the European Tour money list by $353,000, and is $634,200 ahead of Grace.

Rose and Grace could pass McIlroy by winning the $1.16 million first-prize check in the Chinese financial capital.

McIlroy competed last week in the exhibition World Golf Final in Turkey and was bundled out of the eight-man event in the round robin. The first matchplay showdown between McIlroy and Tiger Woods ended with Woods progressing to the semifinals in Antalya shooting a 64 to McIlroy's 70.

``If I had of known the summer I was going to have, I really would not have signed up for the Turkish event,'' McIlroy said. ``But then I went and it was a pretty relaxing week, and I got to spend the week with (girlfriend) Caroline (Wozniacki), which was nice.

``However, I did not pick up a club since the Ryder Cup until the day before the Turkish match, so I wasn't taking it that seriously.''

Next Monday, McIlroy will play Woods in another exhibition, the ``Duel at Lake Jinsha,'' in the north-central Chinese city of Zhenghou.

``We are both really excited as it will be the first time we will ever do something like this together, and hopefully the first of a few occasions we can do this.

``I see it also as a good marketing exercise for Tiger and myself. We both enjoy each other's company, and besides there is not many guys I would do something like this with and I know he feels the same. So it should work well.''

McIlroy has been drawn to play the opening two rounds of the BMW Masters with Rose and Lee Westwood.

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3 reasons the Caps beat the Red Wings

3 reasons the Caps beat the Red Wings

Not much separated the Washington Capitals and the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday. A late 2-on-0 goal for Brett Connolly proved to be the difference.

Here's why the Caps ultimately walked away with the 1-0 win.

A first period goalie interference call

Andreas Athanasiou thought he had given the Red Wings a first period lead, but Barry Trotz challenged the call for goalie interference. The review showed that Tyler Bertuzzi clipped Philipp Grubauer in the head with an elbow right before the shot went in. Given how long it took the Caps to get going in this game, it is fair to say an early deficit would have been hard to overcome.


Killing off a full two-minute 5-on-3

Two man advantages are hard to kill. Killing off a full two-minutes at 5-on-3, that's a tall task. With the game still scoreless in the second period, T.J. Oshie and Lars Eller were both assessed penalties giving Detroit two-full minutes at 5-on-3. The Red Wings managed four shots on goal, but Washington was able to successfully kill off the penalty and keep the game scoreless.

Philipp Grubauer

There were few players who had strong efforts on Tuesday, but Grubauer was phenomenal. Even when the game felt sleepy in the first two periods, Detroit still managed 28 shots on goal, all of which were turned aside by the German netminder. When Washington finally took the lead in the third, the Red Wings woke up and began pushing the offense, but Grubauer was in the zone at that point and could not be beaten. His best save came in the third period when he stared down a breakaway from Athanasiou and extended the pad to deny the shot.


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Tarik's 3 stars: Grubauer, Caps shut down the Red Wings

Tarik's 3 stars: Grubauer, Caps shut down the Red Wings

It wasn’t pretty but the Caps eventually got what they needed in Detroit: two points.  

After a sleepy first 40 minutes, Brett Connolly scored midway through the third period and then Philipp Grubauer made sure it stood up at Little Caesars Arena, where Washington eked out a 1-0 victory Thursday over the scuffling Red Wings.


Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Philipp Grubauer, Capitals

For much of the game, Grubi was left to fend for himself. Good thing for the Caps he was up to the task. The German netminder, who has been one of the NHL’s top goaltenders since Thanksgiving, turned aside 39 shots, including three stops on a pivotal 5-on-3 penalty kill in the second period.

2-Brett Connolly, Capitals

The Caps didn’t get many Grade-A opportunities vs. Jimmy Howard. But Connolly buried one of the few they got…on a 2-on-0, set up by Jakub Vrana in the third period.

Connolly’s goal was his 15th of the season in his 63rd game, equaling the career-high he set a year ago in 66 contests. Vrana, meantime, has three goals and five assists since getting scratched 12 games ago.

3-Lars Eller, Capitals

Eller didn’t record a point, but he was all over the puck in Motown. The veteran center finished with a game-high six shots on net. He also had a key backcheck against Darren Helm, on a shorthanded breakaway, in the first period.

Eller was good in the dot, too, winning eight of 12 faceoffs.

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