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Popovic maintains lead at Australian PGA

Popovic maintains lead at Australian PGA

COOLUM, Australia (AP) Daniel Popovic shot a 3-under-par 69 Saturday to take a two-stroke lead into the final round of an Australian PGA championship marked by lesser-known golfers dominating the marquee players.

Popovic, outside the top 1,000 in world rankings, had a 54-hole total of 13-under 203 on the Palmer Coolum Resort course. Fellow Australian Andrew Brown, who has never won as a professional and who has only one top-10 finish on the Australasian PGA Tour, shot 64 to move into second place.

U.S. Champions Tour regular Peter Senior, last week's Australian Open winner, was tied for third with fellow Australian Matthew Griffin. Senior shot 68 and Griffin 70 and were another stroke back.

Robert Allenby shot 68 and fellow Australian Geoff Ogilvy, who needs to be among the top three here in order to finish in the top 50 year-end world rankings and earn a U.S. Masters spot next year, had a 72 were tied for ninth at 208.

Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland, the 2011 British Open champion, shot a 72 was tied for 24th, eight strokes behind Popovic. South African Rory Sabatini (70) was 11 strokes out of the lead while Greg Norman, another player featured in the pre-tournament posters, only made it through two holes Thursday before withdrawing due to food poisoning.

The 26-year-old Popovic, who has led after all three rounds, nearly quit golf earlier this year due to his father's serious illness - his dad has incurable bone cancer. On Saturday, Popovic made a 15-foot birdie putt on the tough, water-lined 18th to give him his two-shot buffer into the final round.

``I knew that I had it in me and I still know that I have one more good round tomorrow in me,'' Popovic said. ``I've just got to keep my routine going.''

Popovic said his father would be watching the final round from his hospital bed, where he is undergoing further blood testing for his cancer.

``It's going to be an incredible ride for the whole family I think, tomorrow,'' Popovic said. ``For myself ... and my dad, it is going to be huge.''

Brown had the round of the day, making birdie on six of his first 10 holes and bogeying only the par-4 13th.

``I had a couple of slightly jittery holes towards the end of the back nine, so it was nice to hit a good drive down 18 and then hit an iron nice and close,'' he said. ``It hasn't been the best year for me, but whenever you shoot 64 in any tournament, let alone the Aussie PGA, you take it.''

Brown said his birdie at the fifth hole after hitting his approach into the trees was the turning point of his round.

``I hit an ordinary second shot but got a good break away from the signage and holed a 25-foot putt for birdie, and then birdied the next two holes,'' he said.

``There are a lot of birdies out there but it is the kind of course where things can go pear-shaped very quickly, too.''

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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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A drawing of the moment Ovi lifted the Stanley Cup makes the moment joyful all over again

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Daniel Duffy on Twitter/@RealArtOfWords

A drawing of the moment Ovi lifted the Stanley Cup makes the moment joyful all over again

How do you make a photo of Alex Ovechkin hoisting the Stanley Cup for the first time even more memorable?

You make it out of all the Capitals' game scores this year, of course.

Capitals fan and artist Daniel Duffy (@RealArtOfWords) posted a phenomenal finished piece commemorating the Cup win on Wednesday, June 20. It's a little meta and astounding to look at, but very fun to try and read. If you want to relive the glory that was the parts of the 2017-18 Capitals season, check out the piece.

The piece, which appears to be done in a traditional medium like pen or marker, holds the team faced, arena played at, and final score of every game. It uses six colors and over sixty lines of text. Ovechkin roars as he holds the Stanley Cup overhead, the white away jersey shaded with bits of grey text. It takes a skilled eye to sort text and colors into shapes and shading, but Daniel did a fantastic job! It's awesome to see a fanbase create different interpretations of iconic moments. We'll surely see more of Ovechkin in this moment.

Just as we thought we were going to get tired of the celebration, fans find new ways to surprise us. Stay creative, Caps fans!

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