Nationals

Campbell leads Hong Kong Open; McIlroy misses cut

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Campbell leads Hong Kong Open; McIlroy misses cut

HONG KONG (AP) Hong Kong Open leader Michael Campbell says it will be easier for him to end a seven-year winless drought after defending champion Rory McIlroy missed the cut at the Hong Kong Open on Friday.

The 43-year-old Campbell holed a 10-foot birdie at the last for a 6-under 64 that gave him a one-stroke lead at 9 under on the Fanling course at Hong Kong Golf Club.

Four other 40-somethings followed Campbell on the leaderboard. Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain, 48, posted a 67 to share second with Zhang Lian-wei of China, 47, and Fredrik Andersson Hed of Sweden, 40, who both shot 66.

And 42-year-old Anders Hansen of Denmark matched Campbell's 64 to sit fifth at 7 under.

Campbell denied Tiger Woods the 2005 U.S. Open title at Pinehurst, and hasn't tasted success since winning the World Match Play Championship at Wentworth four months later.

He was surprised to learn McIlroy missed the cut with a 5-over total.

``It now makes winning the Hong Kong Open a lot easier, definitely,'' Campbell said. ``But then Rory's world No. 1 for a reason as he's a wonderful talent and I've admired him ever since he turned pro.''

The New Zealander based in Spain was third in the Portugal Masters a month ago, his best result in years. He confessed there were occasions since his last win, after which he became distracted by off-course events, that he considered quitting golf. But he gained inspiration from the winning efforts of fellow 40-somethings.

``You can't buy confidence, you just have to earn it, and I think I've earned it over the last seven years since I haven't won a golf tournament,'' Campbell said.

``There have been times where I wanted to throw it in, but what's really inspired me over the last, particularly over the last four or five years, is seeing my friends around the same age bracket as me, the 40-plus club.

``The likes of Ernie (Els) winning his fourth major, Thomas Bjorn winning three times last year. Paul Lawrie's had a wonderful last couple of years. Padraig Harrington, he's 40 now. Jim Furyk winning the FedEx Cup. And the list goes on.

``So being 40 isn't that bad playing golf, and seeing my friends win tournaments left, right and center definitely inspired me to don't give up and keep on playing.''

McIlroy double-bogeyed his last hole in a round of 72, following a 73 to open his title defense.

``It's disappointing as you never want to miss the cut and even more when you are defending a tournament,'' he said.

``So it's not the week I wanted but then I have a few days to work on my putting and try and get ready for (the Tour Championship in) Dubai.''

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Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic and Nationals grant boys wish to be a player for a day

Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic and Nationals grant boys wish to be a player for a day

The Nationals welcomed 10-year-old cancer patient Parker Staples as the newest addition to their team on Friday, in conjunction with the Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic Foundation.

While battling lymphoma, Staples learned he would receive a wish and didn’t hesitate about what he wanted to choose. After being sidelined for two years during treatment, Parker couldn’t wait to celebrate his remission by becoming part of his favorite baseball team. 

Staples was introduced to his new teammates and got signed autographs from Matt Adams, Juan Soto, Anthony Rendon, and Yan Gomes. He also got to spend time hitting and playing catch with his new teammates, as well as being interviewed as the newest member of the team. It gets even better than that, Staples threw the ceremonial first pitch at Nationals Park leading up to the Marlins-Nationals game Staples 

"My favorite moment was throwing the first pitch. It was really cool," Staples said.

"Probably the biggest day of my life."

 

The Nationals are hosted the Miami Marlins in the series opener Friday.

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Australian Taste Test: Washington Spirit Aussies serve up Vegemite

Australian Taste Test: Washington Spirit Aussies serve up Vegemite

Washington Spirit Aussies Chloe Logarzo and Amy Harrison have NBC Sports Washington’s Anna Witte try Australian staples Vegemite and Bundaberg ginger beer.

According to Logarzo, before each game with the Australian National team, all of the players would eat vegemite on toast with poached eggs and avocado. 

Witte rated the Vegemite a four out of ten, her immediate response was that it tastes "Super salty."

"Not awful, but I don't think I would buy it for myself....it's awful."

Both Logarzo and Harrison joined the Spirit this season. Harrison has appeared in ten games for the Australian national team and Logarzo has appeared in 37. 

After two straight wins the Washington Spirit are looking to continue their winning streak this weekend against the Chicago Red Stars.

Washington will face off against Chicago at the SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, Illinois on Sunday, March 26 at 6 p.m.

In the NWSL standings, the Red Stars are in first place with a 3-1-2 record and the Spirit are in fourth with a 3-1-1 record. In 2018, Chicago took the series over Washington with two wins and a draw.

Despite missing U.S. National players Rose Lavelle and Mallory Pugh, the Spirit defeated Portland Thorns FC last weekend 3-1. 

Amy Harrison scored the first goal during the 16th minute followed by Portland scoring on their own goal in the 47th minute to put Washington ahead 2-0. Finally, in the 71st minute, Jordan Diabasi scored an olimpico. 

Spirit Midfielder Jordan DiBiasi won the NWSL Goal of the Week for her goal against the Portland Thorns last weekend. 

Spirit Goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe continues to lead the NWSL with 19 saves.