Redskins

Chinese teen pulling away at Asia-Pacific

Chinese teen pulling away at Asia-Pacific

BANGKOK (AP) Chinese teen Guan Tianlang began to pull away Friday in the Asia-Pacific Amateur, making nine birdies on his way to an 8-under 64 and a five-shot lead going into the weekend.

Guan, who turned 14 last week, is halfway home to becoming the youngest player ever at Augusta National. The winner of the Asia-Pacific Amateur gets an invitation to the Masters and to the final stage of British Open qualifying.

Guan woke up at 4:30 a.m. for his early start at Amata Spring Country Club and wasted little time getting started, making birdies on his opening two holes. He made three straight birdies after the turn, chipping in on the third hole, and had to settle for a 64 with his lone bogey of the round on the last hole.

He was at 14-under 130, five shots ahead of Prin Sirisommai of Thailand (65) and Oliver Goss of Australia, who also had a 65. Goss was a quarterfinalist at the U.S. Amateur in August.

``My feeling with the putter is fantastic and that's why I've got a low score,'' Guan said. ``I had two birdies in the first two holes and felt very comfortable after that. I just kept going, and I'm happy I only made one bogey.''

Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, going for a third straight Asia-Pacific Amateur title, had a 69 and was tied for 10th, though he was 10 shots out of the lead.

It was another step toward Guan building on some strong amateur credentials. A year ago, he won his age division (11-12) at the prestigious Junior World Championships in San Diego by 11 shots. In April, he was 13 when he played in the China Open, making him the youngest ever to compete on the European Tour. Now he is closing in on a chance to play the Masters at age 14. Guan wasn't even born when Tiger Woods won his first Masters title.

``Everyone here wants to win and go to Augusta,'' said Guan, who lives in Guangzhou and spends his summer training in California. ``That would be amazing, but for now I need to focus on my game this weekend.''

Goss, an 18-year-old from Perth who will play for the Tennessee Volunteers in January, made an 80-foot eagle putt from just off the green at No. 2. A tougher chore might be catching up to the Chinese teen.

``Guan must be a good player to be 14 under at 14 years old,'' Goss said. ``I didn't shoot those scores when I was that young. He's playing well, so congrats to him. But I guess maybe his composure might disappear on the weekend if the pressure starts to build, which hopefully I can take advantage of, having a bit more experience.''

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Need to Know: Five Redskins on the bubble who could make the roster

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Need to Know: Five Redskins on the bubble who could make the roster

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, June 21, 35 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The first five off of the roster

Here are five players who are not on my projection of the Redskins’ 53-man roster (offensedefense) but who are one injury or a few strong preseason game performances away from making it. 

G Kyle Kalis—Last year he lined up with the second team during most of training camp and he nearly made the roster as an undrafted free agent. The team did re-sign him after injuries struck the O-line in the middle of the season. He will push Tyler Catalina for a backup guard spot. 

RB Byron Marshall—He got a few touches last year before ending up on injured reserve. Marshall has looked good in practices so far, especially catching out of the backfield. Jay Gruden likely will play Chris Thompson sparingly in the preseason and that could give Marshall a chance to shine. Don’t sleep on him. 

WR Cam Simms—Right now, the undrafted rookie out of Alabama looks like the eighth wide receiver on the roster and they are only going to keep six. But if he continues to get the attention of Gruden with his play in practice and makes the most of his opportunities in preseason games, Robert Davis and Maurice Harris should look out. 

S Fish Smithson—The Redskins liked him a lot after they signed him as an undrafted free agent last year. But they didn’t like him enough to keep him on the 53-man roster; he spent the year on the practice squad, getting a late-season cup of coffee on the roster. He will push both Deshazor Everett and Troy Apke for a backup safety spot. If the Redskins have reason to be concerned about the health of Montae Nicholson they might figure out a way to keep Smithson on as a fifth safety. 

ILB Martrell Spaight—It looks like Spaight’s three-year tenure with the team essentially came to an end when they drafted Sean Dion Hamilton in the fifth round. But his play in offseason practices indicates he’s not going to go out without a fight. 

Next five off: OT T.J. Clemmings, QB Kevin Hogan, RB Kapri Bibbs, NT Phil Taylor, CB Danny Johnson

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  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

Timeline 

Redskins running back Derrius Guice was born on this date in 1997. 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 35
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 49
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 72

The Redskins last played a game 172 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 80 days. 

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Capitals stars react to losing Barry Trotz as head coach

Capitals stars react to losing Barry Trotz as head coach

LAS VEGAS—Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom weren’t expecting to lose their head coach less than two weeks after winning the Stanley Cup.

But business is business, Ovi said, and Barry Trotz is handling his by attempting to capitalize on claiming the championship.

“It’s sad,” Ovechkin said on the red carpet at the NHL Awards, where he accepted his seventh Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy on Wednesday night. “Obviously, we won together.”

The Caps’ captain also thanked Trotz for directing him—and his teammates—to new heights.  

“First of all, [I want to] thank him for a great job to be our coach, to be our dad, to give us a chance to win,” Ovechkin said. “But then again, it’s a business. You never know what’s going to happen. I’m pretty sure he’s going to be fine and I wish him luck.”

Backstrom, meanwhile, said he was caught off guard by Trotz’s decision to step down over a contract stalemate with the team. Trotz asked for $5 million per for five seasons; the Caps balked over the terms Trotz’s camp sought.   

“I was a little surprised, obviously,” Backstrom said. “I heard the scenario.”

Like Ovechkin, though, Backstrom praised the job Trotz did during his four-year tenure.

“He’s done a great job in Washington,” Backstrom said. “We obviously have him to thank for a lot. He’s done a tremendous job of schooling us and winning a championship. No one is going to take that away from him.”

Trotz’s next move is unclear, but he’s a free agent and currently eligible to negotiate with any team. The Islanders are the only team with an opening for a head coach.

As for Washington, GM Brian MacLellan said that associate coach Todd Reirden will get the first crack at replacing Trotz.

Ovechkin said he thinks Reirden would be a good fit.

“We all respect Todd,” Ovechkin said. “We all like him. Again, it’s not our thing to say who’s going to be head coach, but if it’s going to be Todd, it’s going to be fun.”

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