Joaquin Niemann is part of a three-way tie for the lead after the opening round of the Sony Open in Hawaii.

The Chilean carded an eight-under 62 at the Waialae Country Club on Thursday to lead alongside Peter Malnati and Jason Kokrak.

Coming off a play-off loss to Harris English at the Tournament of Champions, Niemann's fine start to 2021 continued.

The 22-year-old made seven birdies, a bogey and an eagle, the latter coming with a chip in at the 18th.

Kokrak produced a bogey-free opening round, while Malnati mixed nine birdies with one bogey.

At the 17th, Kokrak almost produced a hole-in-one, only to see his shot lip out as he was forced to settle for a birdie.

Vaughn Taylor, Jim Herman, Aaron Baddeley, Patton Kizzire, Daniel Berger and Kim Si-woo are two shots adrift of the leaders.

The champion in 2018, Kizzire made a 45-foot eagle putt from off the green at the ninth, while Baddeley – runner-up in 2003 – is also in contention.

A group of 13 players are at five under, including last year's runner-up Brendan Steele, 2014 runner-up Chris Kirk and 2012 U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson.

Defending champion Cameron Smith opened with a three-under 67 to be in a tie for 40th.

Kevin Na and Sean O'Hair hold a one-shot advantage after the first round of the QBE Shootout.

Na and O'Hair hit the ground running at the Tiburon Golf Club in The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, Florida to lead the way from Ryan Palmer and Harold Varner III.

O'Hair and Na teamed up superbly in the scramble format on Friday, combining for a 16-under opening round of 56.

There were two eagles and 12 birdies for the leading duo, who went out in 27 in a blistering start to an event that is being hosted by Australian great Greg Norman.

Varner and Palmer are hot on their heels, sitting second of the 12 teams after coming up with eight birdies on the front nine and another seven after the turn.

Lanto Griffin and Mackenzie Hughes are just two shots adrift of the leading duo along with Harris English and Matt Kuchar.

Australian duo Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith are among three teams who will head into the weekend with the most ground to make up on 10 under.

Cameron Smith feels he could win a couple of Masters titles if he replicates his history-making Augusta performance.

Smith became the first player in Masters history to card all four rounds in the 60s at the major tournament after going 67-68-69-69, but he still finished runner-up on Sunday.

The unheralded Australian ended the rescheduled event 15 under, level with Sung-jae Im, but still five strokes adrift of record-breaking champion Dustin Johnson in Georgia.

It was Smith's best major performance, having tied for fourth at the 2015 U.S. Open.

After achieving a first in The Masters' 84 years, Smith told reporters: "I had no idea starting today that I needed to do that. That's really cool. 

"I honestly can't believe it, but just got to put it down ‑‑ myself, just got to put it down to just scrambling and digging deep. There were a few times throughout week where I could have let it slip away, and it didn't."

Reflecting on his bittersweet display, Smith – winner of two PGA Tour titles and as many on the European Tour – added: "It would have been cool to do that and win. I was actually saying before, you know, I'd take 15‑under around here the rest of my career and I might win a couple. 

"It's just the way it is. I felt as though I didn't quite have my longest stuff, like I said, this week, but my scrambling was what kept me in it."

"I felt like I got away with a lot this week, a bit of skewwhiff shots into the green, something I might need to tidy up if we're coming back here and it's firm and fast," continued the 27-year-old, who was tied for fifth at the 2018 Masters.

"But I love the place. I want to win here really badly, and I feel like it brings the best out of my game."

Dustin Johnson's previously commanding position at the top of the Masters leaderboard was left looking a little less dominant after his lead was cut to two at the halfway point of the final round on Sunday.

The world number one enjoyed a near flawless outing a day earlier, his seven-under-par 65 helping him to equal the 54-hole record set by Jordan Spieth in 2015 and open up a four-shot lead over Cameron Smith and Sungjae Im.

But an early wobble offered encouragement to the chasers, particularly the impressive Smith, who found himself as Johnson's closest competitor at the turn.

Having parred the first, Johnson then showed signs of unease as he scrambled to avoid dropping a shot on the par-five second.

A birdie at the third proved a false dawn of sorts as back-to-back bogeys followed.

At the same point, Im was two under for the day and seemingly closing on Johnson, only for the South Korean's bogey at the sixth to set him back.

However, at the halfway point it was Smith – a Masters debutant, like Im – who appeared the most likely to knock Johnson off the summit, the Australian just two adrift having been four off the pace at the start of the day.

Smith made it to the turn in 33, his remarkable approach shot from a bed of pine needles setting up his fourth birdie of the day on the ninth.

Elsewhere on the course, five-time Masters champion Tiger Woods endured a torrid time on the par-three 10th, incredibly carding a 10 after three visits to Rae's Creek

Jon Rahm moved into a five-way share of the lead when the second round of The Masters was completed and Bryson DeChambeau only just avoided missing the cut on Saturday.

Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Abraham Ancer and Cameron Smith topped the leaderboard after completing 36 holes before play was halted in fading light at Augusta on Friday.

Rahm holed a short birdie putt when he resumed at the 13th hole to join that quartet and the world number two remained at nine under after signing for a 66 following five consecutive pars.

The composed Spaniard chipped in from the edge of the green at 15 to remain a joint-leader of a major that is finely poised on moving day.

DeChambeau was in danger of making an early exit, but sneaked in for the rest of the weekend by the skin of his teeth, moving just about the cut line despite finishing with back-to-back bogeys to sign for a 74.

Pre-tournament favourite DeChambeau, who revealed a COVID-19 test he took after playing on Friday as he was feeling dizzy came back negative, faced an anxious wait to see if the cut line would be moved but the U.S. Open champion was able to breathe a sigh of relief.

Patrick Reed moved into the top 10 after heading back out for an early start, picking up a couple of shots to sit in contention on eight under with a second successive four-under 68.

Defending champion Tiger Woods is just four shots off the pace on a congested leaderboard following a second round of 71, a birdie at 15 moving him on to five under.

Justin Rose, the leader at the end of a weather-affected first day, carded a two-under 70 and is two shots adrift of the leaders.

 

Justin Thomas said you have to "throw all past knowledge out the window this week" as the American star eyes his first Masters title.

Thomas, world number one Dustin Johnson, Masters debutant Abraham Ancer and Australian Cameron Smith are all nine under through 36 holes at Augusta.

Former world number one Thomas claimed the 2017 US PGA Championship, though he has never won the Masters – last year's 12th-place finish his best performance to date.

Thomas has improved in every Masters appearance since 2016, but the 2020 edition is like no other after the iconic major was rescheduled from its original April start to November in Georgia amid the coronavirus pandemic.

After carding a second-round 69, Thomas told reporters: "I know the golf course, I know what to do, what not to do. I know the subtle nuances. I just simply haven't executed it and performed it well. 

"You have to really throw all past knowledge out the window this week, as weird as it is. I had a chip on 15 this morning to that front pin that usually would be just brutal and really, really hard to hit close, and I had to trust that I just kind of had to gas it and hit it pretty hard and it was going to spin. Balls are making pitchmarks with chip shots and pitch shots. 

"A lot of the history and things that you know about the golf course, it can sometimes hurt you this week because of what you're used to. But at the end of the day, it is a lot softer and a lot more scorable, obviously, but it really has just come down to executing a little bit better and minimising the mistakes."

Asked how difficult it is to throw away that past history and knowledge and trust the now and new conditions, Thomas said: "It's really hard… it is weird, but everyone's dealing with it. It's not like I'm the only one that has to adjust or make or may be uncomfortable in certain situations. The entire field is dealing with the same thing."

Ancer enjoyed a fine second round, the Mexican signing for a five-under-par 67 to earn a share of the overnight lead.

He is trying to become the second Mexican player to win in as many weeks on the PGA Tour, after Carlos Ortiz claimed last week's Houston Open.

Asked about his Masters invitation, Ancer said: "It was awesome. I actually have it framed in my house, so it's right there in my living room, and it's something that I dreamt since I was a little kid to play here. I was really, really excited to be here my first time ever, I've never been to the tournament or watched, anything, was last week. I played with a member, Nick Evans, awesome, I couldn't have picked a better guy well, I'm lucky he picked me, I guess. I didn't pick anybody. 

"It's been amazing, and I know maybe it's not the same as in April, but I mean, it's incredible and I love it out here, I love the golf course, and I think this is probably one of my favourite places in the world."

Smith (68) added: "It's obviously good to be in contention on a weekend, and I feel like I've been there enough where I can have a good crack at it."

Cameron Smith was relieved to cling on for victory in the NRL Grand Final, admitting Melbourne Storm "did it the hard way" after surviving a late rally from the Penrith Panthers.

Melbourne appeared on course for a comfortable triumph at ANZ Stadium when they led 26-0 early in the second half, but ending up hanging on for a 26-20 win.

Penrith scored four tries to come charging back into a contest that saw their opponents finish with 11 men, Jahrome Hughes and Brandon Smith both sent to the sin-bin in a dramatic conclusion.

However, Melbourne survived a desperation final play from the Panthers to prevail, securing the club's fourth premiership in the NRL era.

Smith was full of praise for Penrith, not just for their late rally but also a 2020 season that saw them win 17 games in a row heading into Sunday's clash, while also spoke of his pride for a Storm squad forced to leave Victoria due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"We did it the hard way, 11 men in the end," Melbourne's captain, who scored one of his team's four tries, said in a post-game interview during which he refused to be drawn on whether he plans to prolong his career.

"Penrith were coming home with a wet sail and playing the footy that they've played all year, which has been terrific.

"As an opposition club and organisation, we've admired what Penrith have done. To win 17 in a row in this competition is a special effort, on top of what everyone has been through this year.

"If there was another couple of minutes on the clock, who knows what would have happened there. You've got to give credit to Penrith, they fought to the end.

"But I'm just proud of this football team, not just the ones that played tonight but the entire squad. We haven't been home for about five months and with the conditions that we've been under, it's a remarkable effort to be here tonight and get a victory."

A COVID-19 outbreak denied Melbourne home comforts, but Smith revealed overcoming adversity had created a bond within the group that will forever remain strong.

Justin Olam, Suliasi Vunivalu and Ryan Papenhuyzen also touched down for Craig Bellamy's side in the final, while their talismanic skipper booted 10 points.

"We've had some close-knit teams during my time with the club, but given the situation we've been here, pretty much living in each others' pockets for five months, it's something very different, something we've never experienced," Smith added.

"We grew as a unit this year and there are connections in this team now that we will have for the rest of our lives."

Cameron Smith played a starring role before Melbourne Storm survived a second-half fightback to beat Penrith Panthers 26-20 in a pulsating NRL Grand Final. 

Hooker Smith - potentially playing his final game - scored a try and also kicked 10 points to help Melbourne overcome the team who finished above them in the table.

Penrith had triumphed when the teams met in the regular season on their way to being crowned minor premiers, yet a first title since 2003 proved out of their reach as they were made to pay for costly errors at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on Sunday.

Melbourne capitalised in clinical fashion, opening up a commanding 22-0 lead at the break that, despite the Panthers trying to claw their way back in the closing stages, set up the victory.

Justin Olam was awarded a penalty try after the ball was kicked out of his grasp in the process of trying to ground it over the line, while the Panthers' poor discipline allowed Smith to kick his team into a double-digit advantage. 

After Suliasi Vunivalu intercepted a looping Nathan Cleary pass and raced clear to score a second try, Smith collected a loose ball and darted over from close range just prior to the interval. 

When man of the match Ryan Papenhuyzen broke free from inside Melbourne's own half to cross early in the second half, the game appeared to over as a contest.

However, having seen two tries chalked off in the first half, Penrith finally opened their account when Brian To'o finished in the corner, the score awarded despite suggestions of obstruction in the build-up. 

Stephen Crichton added another try and when Josh Mansour raced through on the Panthers' left less than four minutes later, a miraculous comeback suddenly seemed a serious possibility. 

Yet the deficit was too much with the clock against them and Melbourne held on, even with Jahrome Hughes and Brandon Smith finishing the game in the sin-bin.

Cleary barged through as the Storm's 11 men were breached again in the final minute, though it was a mere consolation effort as Craig Bellamy's side sealed a fourth premiership in the NRL era.

Craig Bellamy offered a cheeky response to Cameron Smith going beyond his career try total as Melbourne Storm wrapped up another top-two NRL finish with a 50-22 rout of Wests Tigers.

Smith scored one of nine Storm tries - the 47th of his career - to take him beyond Bellamy's haul from his playing days with Canberra Raiders, a fact he was keen to remind his Melbourne coach of when dotting down in the 71st minute.

Bellamy responded by flipping the bird back in the direction of his Storm players as they pointed up to their coach, who saw Suliasi Vunivalu and Josh Addo-Carr cross for two tries apiece as Melbourne sealed a top-two finish for the fifth successive year.

"The only thing I can feel okay about is it took him 428 games to get there and I got mine in about 140 or something, 150," Bellamy said of Smith afterwards.

Cronulla Sharks had a night to forget as they suffered a 34-18 loss to Sydney Roosters, and lost star playmaker Shaun Johnson to a suspected Achilles injury.

The Sharks are already assured of a finals berth but the absence of Johnson - who has provided an NRL-best 22 try assists - would be a monumental blow.

Mitchell Aubusson marked becoming the Roosters' all-time leader in appearances by scoring a brace of tries on his 303rd outing for Sydney.

Gold Coast Titans' good form continued as they beat Manly Sea Eagles 42-24 for a fourth successive victory, though that game was also overshadowed by a shoulder injury to Tom Trbojevic.

The Manly fullback was only making his return from three months out with a hamstring injury and is now a doubt for the State of Origin series.

 

Brisbane Broncos head coach Anthony Seibold said he is interested in signing Melbourne Storm captain Cameron Smith.

Smith – the first player to reach 400 NRL games – is uncontracted beyond this season after extending his contract with the Storm last year.

The 37-year-old Australia great was born in Queensland but he has spent his entire career with the Storm since 2002, winning two NRL Grand Finals and as many Dally M Medals.

It remains to be seen whether Smith will continue playing next season but Seibold – who worked with the superstar as an assistant during his time at the Storm and Queensland Maroons – revealed the Broncos will consider pursuing the veteran.

"Of course, it is something we would consider but it is a really long bow. Would he add something to us? Could he add something to us? Of course he could," Seibold said on Wednesday.

"I worked with Smithy for five years at club level and rep level so I do have a really good working relationship with him. It is not something I have spoken to Cameron about or he has spoken to me about.

"A little bit of experience would be something to add to the group, going forward. I am not sure how long he wants to play for but Cameron would add not only experience but leadership and quality on and off the field to any organisation or any team… but I would assume that Cameron would finish his career at the Melbourne Storm."

However, Storm chairman Matt Tripp played down Brisbane's interest in Smith midweek as the Melbourne club look to retain the icon in some capacity.

"This is absolute news to me. We know nothing about that," Tripp told SEN Breakfast. "Cameron is contracted until the end of the year.

"At some point in the next month or so we will attempt to either renegotiate a contract for Cameron as a player or we will try and arrange something for him whereby he will remain committed and part of the Melbourne Storm in some capacity for hopefully many years to come."

Smith has made 11 appearances for the second-placed Storm this season, kicking 49 goals with a conversion rate of 89 per cent while recording nine try assists.

"First and foremost I would try and convince him to stay. He is so important to our club," Tripp said. "Whether that's in a playing capacity or whether that is being one of the coaches, sitting on our board, there are many options for Cameron in terms of what he may do.

"All of those options to my mind involve the Melbourne Storm and certainly not a Queensland club."

Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) chairman Peter V'landys believes it is "premature" to suspend the NRL season.

Melbourne Storm star Cameron Smith called for the campaign to be suspended amid the coronavirus pandemic, with the NRL planning to continue behind closed doors from round two.

But while V'landys accepted that was a possibility, he said the NRL would continue for now.

"That's one option we've looked at. We want that lever up in our armoury at the moment," he told Sky News on Monday.

"We may do that three, four weeks down the track, but I think it's probably premature at this stage to be doing it because we want to have everything available to us in this crisis.

"To pull the trigger now and in two weeks nothing's changed, we've got nowhere, but if in three or four weeks a player unfortunately catches the virus, then we can suspend it there and use that two weeks there.

"We don't want to lose that asset that we have at the moment that we can suspend the season for a period of weeks without affecting the whole game."

V'landys admitted the decision to continue the NRL season was a financial one as he again called for rugby league to be included in the Australian federal government's economic stimulus package.

"It is a financial reason," he said.

"We earn our money from broadcast. If we don't get that revenue from broadcast we can't pay the costs, we can't pay the players, we can't pay the administration, we can't pay any of our bills.

"There's an economic multiplier through the whole economy because there's the broadcast people, the cameramen, the caterers.

"We're not asking for a handout. What we're saying is include us in the economic stimulus. Rugby league provides billions of dollars to the economy, it'll lift the spirits of people around Australia.

"In any other crisis in history you need sport to lift the spirit of people and in rugby league that's what we want to do. We want to continue playing, lift the spirits of people, but at the same time take every precaution possible so that none of our players or officials contract the coronavirus."

The coronavirus pandemic is still raising questions across sport, even with the global calendar decimated by cancelled and postponed events.

Coronavirus has, according to official figures, caused around 6,500 deaths from approximately 170,000 confirmed cases worldwide.

As the pandemic continues, there are going to be some big decisions made in the world of sport over the coming week, with UEFA's 55 members set to come together – via video conference – on Tuesday.

The fate of this season's Champions League and Europa League will be up for debate, while Euro 2020 is also to be discussed.

Here is a look at the latest developments:

 

Ahead of Tuesday's meeting with UEFA, Italian football federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina confirmed he will call for Euro 2020 to be postponed, in the hope that might allow the Serie A season to be finished in June.

This proposal will likely be backed by LaLiga boss Javier Tebas, who is convinced the top-flight season in Spain will be completed. Swiss FA president Dominique Blanc, meanwhile, has confirmed he has coronavirus.

It is not yet clear what will happen in the Premier League, with the teams set to reconvene for another meeting on Thursday and, after coming under criticism for stating that the season should be considered "null and void", West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady defended her comments.

"The Premier League and EFL are doing all we can to ensure the season is finished. Including suspending games, isolating players, and if required playing games behind closed doors and into the summer months," she wrote on Twitter.

"My point was safety of fans, players, staff come first and if the remaining games just cannot be played the only fair and reasonable thing is to declare [the] season null and void."

In a newspaper column, Wayne Rooney backed the decision to postpone fixtures in England, but criticised the Premier League and EFL for taking so long to make the call.

More players have confirmed they have tested positive for COVID-19.

Valencia defender Ezequiel Garay became the first LaLiga player to be named as having the illness, with the club adding four more members of the first-team playing and coaching staff had also tested positive.

Valencia's former Manchester City defender Eliaquim Mangala confirmed later on Sunday that he was one of those with the virus.

In Serie A, Sampdoria's Omar Colley posted a video to his official Instagram account in which he refuted his club's claim that he too had received a positive test result.

Meanwhile, Manchester United's Paul Pogba joined the raft of sports stars pledging to support people during the crisis, as he launched a fundraiser to mark his 27th birthday.

In France, Paris Saint-Germain announced they had extended the suspension of all club operations until March 18.

In the United States, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert – the first NBA player to be diagnosed with coronavirus – provided a positive update on his recovery, while also stating: "I wish I would have took this thing more seriously and I hope everyone else will do so because we can do it together."

Not all sport has been postponed just yet, with rugby league in both Britain and Australia continuing for now.

In Super League, Castleford Tigers ran out winners over defending champions St Helens, though in the National Rugby League (NRL), Melbourne Storm's Cameron Smith called for the competition to be suspended.

Round two is set to go ahead next week, albeit behind closed doors, while New Zealand Warriors have elected to remain in Australia rather than return to Auckland, where they would have to self-isolate for 14 days.

Cameron Smith called for the NRL to suspend the competition on Sunday, allowing time to assess the impact of coronavirus rather than reacting "daily or hourly" to the ever-changing situation.

Smith was part of the Melbourne Storm team that recorded an 18-4 triumph over Manly Sea Eagles in the opening round of the 2020 campaign.

However, the former Australia captain feels continuing to play is not the best course of action in the midst of the pandemic, given the amount of travel involved for the teams.

"If we make a decision to suspend the comp for a couple of weeks then I think it just gives everyone an opportunity to actually sum up the situation a little bit better rather than being reactive daily or hourly," Smith said in quotes appearing on the NRL's website.

"We want to be playing rugby league. We'd love to be playing. But this is a serious thing that's happening at the moment.

"I'm really confident with the measures we're taking as a club, particularly from our CEO Dave Donaghy and our doctor to minimise the risk around our organisation and anyone getting the virus or being around large crowds.

"This is a view of our entire team. Given our team travels a lot. We're travelling virtually every second week of the competition so we're going to be exposed to airports, air travel and large crowds a lot.

"Our players aren't concerned about themselves, they're concerned about their families and making this issue which is already global, making it much bigger than what it is in Australia at the moment."

All round two fixtures are to be staged behind closed doors after the federal government declared a ban on non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people due to COVID-19.

Smith is willing to carry on playing in empty stadiums for now, with Melbourne due to face Cronulla Sharks next Saturday in Sydney.

"Going into round two, there's no crowds so we're not going to be around large crowds. So I'm comfortable with where things are at the moment," Smith said.

"If I wasn't comfortable I wouldn't have come up this weekend and the rest of the players wouldn't have come up either. But this thing changes all the time."

Cameron Smith said every birdie "meant that little bit more" after dedicating his victory at the Sony Open to the those affected by the bushfires in Australia.

Smith defeated Brendan Steele in a play-off in Hawaii after overturning a three-shot deficit to claim his first individual title on the PGA Tour, having won the Zurich Classic alongside Jonas Blixt in 2017.

The Australian's uncle saw his home destroyed by the fires terrorising the country and Smith pledged to donate $500 for every birdie and $1,000 for every eagle he made during the event in Honolulu.

"That [victory] has been one that I've wanted to tick off for a long time," Smith said. "I've been out here four or five years now, and to finally say that I have won an event by myself is quite good.

"It's been an Aussie week. Wade [Ormsby] won over in Asia, me winning here. I just hope that just brings a little bit of joy to some people that are going through some tough times.

"I just wanted to make birdies. It was tough the first three days to make birdies and I managed to scrape in a few. Every birdie putt I had just meant that little bit more.

"Rather than kind of wanting to make it, I almost felt like I had to make it. I've always been quite good at not giving up. I've never felt the need to kind of mentally check out in any way.

"I started bogey, triple-bogey [on Thursday] and then finished that day even par and progressed from there. It was a big fight all week basically."

Smith later tweeted to say $10,500 had been raised for the relief efforts in Australia.

Cameron Smith claimed his second PGA Tour title with a play-off victory at the Sony Open in Hawaii on Sunday.

The Australian overcame Brendan Steele in a play-off at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu for his first individual win on Tour.

Smith won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans alongside Jonas Blixt in 2017, but added a second title to his collection.

He two-putted for par at the 10th hole as Steele battled to a bogey to fall short in the play-off.

Smith carded a two-under 68 in the final round, making birdie at the last to get into the play-off as Steele struggled late.

The American – forced into a long wait at the last as players battled – had been two shots clear of Smith with two holes to play, but bogeyed the 17th on his way to a final-round 71.

Smith took his chance and recovered from a poor tee shot at the play-off hole to clinch his victory.

"I just had to hang in there. No one was playing good golf today it seemed like," he told the Golf Channel.

"The conditions got a lot easier at the end there, but just hung in there and what do you know?"

Smith added: "That's been one that I've wanted to tick off for a long time. I've been out here for four, five years now and to finally say that I've won an event by myself is quite good."

Webb Simpson (67) finished outright third at 10 under, a shot clear of Graeme McDowell (64), Ryan Palmer (68) and Kevin Kisner (69).

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