The final round of the Masters has started with all the familiar pin positions for Sunday at Augusta National.
Hideki Matsuyama takes a four-shot lead into the final round. He is trying to become the first Japanese player to win a major and the second major champion from an Asian country. (The first was Y.E. Yang of South Korea in the 2009 PGA Championship at Hazeltine.)
It’s never easy at Augusta National. In November, Dustin Johnson had a four-shot lead that was trimmed to one shot after only five holes. He recovered with a birdie and went on to win by five. Rory McIlroy lost a four-shot lead after 10 holes in 2011 when he shot 80 in the final round.
The most famous was Greg Norman losing a six-shot lead in 1996.
Xander Schauffele, Justin Rose, Marc Leishman and Will Zalatoris were all four shots behind Matsuyama. Rose is the only major champion in that group. Zalatoris is trying to become the first player in 42 years to win a green jacket in his first attempt.
Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., is five shots back in sixth following a third round highlighted by a hole-in-one on the par-3 6th hole.
WATCH | Conners aces par-3 6th hole on Saturday at Augusta:
Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., became the sixth player to ever hit a hole in one on the sixth hole at the Masters Saturday in Augusta, Georgia. 0:36
The 29-year-old will attempt to become the second Canadian to clinch a Masters Green Jacket, after Mike Weir in 2003.
Despite his lofty position, Conners was not worried about tossing and turning all night
“I’m notoriously a great sleeper, so I don’t think that will be a problem,” said Conners, who is scheduled to tee off at 2:20 p.m. ET.
Matsuyama will play in the final group with Schauffele at 2:40 p.m., a comfortable pairing. Schauffele’s mother was raised in Japan and he speaks enough Japanese to share a few laughs with Matsuyama during Saturday’s pairing.
Matsuyama showed he could handle Augusta National when he first showed up as a 19-year-old amateur. Ten years later, the Japanese star put himself on the cusp of a green jacket.
Matsuyama looking to make history
In a stunning turnaround after storms doused the course, Matsuyama had four birdies, an eagle and a superb par at the end of a 7-under 65, turning a three-shot deficit into a four-shot lead as he tries to become the first Japanese player to win a major.
“This is a new experience for me being a leader going into the final round in a major,” Matsuyama said. “I guess all I can do is relax and prepare well and do my best.”
Matsuyama was at 11-under 205, and no one could stay with him after Saturday’s one hour 18-minute rain delay made the course a little more forgiving.
Schauffele ran in a 60-foot eagle putt across the 15th green to momentary join a four-way tie for the lead. Seconds later, Rose holed a 25-foot birdie putt back on the par-3 12th to regain the lead. That lasted if it took Matsuyama to rap in his five-foot eagle putt on the 15th to take the lead for good.
WATCH | Canadian golfers heading to the green in droves during pandemic:
Golf Canada is capitalizing on a remarkable interest in the sport while seeing paralleled success on the pro tours. 5:18
Auston Matthews and John Tavares rode to the rescue scoring third-period goals for the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 4-2 win Sunday over the host Calgary Flames.
Matthews and Tavares each had a goal and an assist, and Morgan Rielly and Alex Galchenyuk also scored for Toronto (25-10-3).
Maple Leafs goaltender Michael Hutchinson made 32 saves for the win.
“It definitely wasn’t our best, I think we looked a little sluggish at times,” Tavares said. “We defended really well and I thought played a quicker game in the third, which I think allowed us to take control.
“There’s going to be nights, you don’t have your best, but you’ve got to work and compete and find ways to get your game going. I think we did that.”
The Maple Leafs continue to top the NHL’s North Division and are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games.
WATCH | Leafs’ Matthews secures win against Flames:
Mitch Marner set up Auston Matthews for his league-leading 25th goal of the season in Toronto’s 4-2 win vs Calgary. 1:00
Joakim Nordstrom and Andrew Mangiapane scored for the Flames (16-20-3), who are 2-8-0 in their last 10 and 5-8-0 since Darryl Sutter took over as head coach.
“In order to keep up, the team has to play at a pace,” Sutter said. “You have to be able to execute at that pace and check at that pace. For some of our players, that’s difficult.”
David Rittich stopped 26-of-30 shots for the loss in the first of back-to-back games between the division rivals.
The Flames are at home to Toronto again Monday. Toronto leads the nine-game season series 5-2.
Calgary trails the Montreal Canadiens, holding down the fourth and final playoff spot in the division, by six points.
Auston Matthews (25-19—44 in 35 GP) scored his NHL-leading 25th goal of the season. He is one of five different <a href=”https://twitter.com/MapleLeafs?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@MapleLeafs</a> players in the expansion era to reach the mark in 35 games or fewer. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/NHLStats?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#NHLStats</a> <a href=”https://t.co/8Z65qKfcb9″>pic.twitter.com/8Z65qKfcb9</a>
The Leafs went ahead 3-2 on a Flames own-goal credited to Tavares at 6:55 of the third period. Matthews made it 4-2 at 9:16.
Matthews scored his league-leading 25th from close range. From the goal-line, Mitch Marner dished to his linemate driving the net for the insurance goal.
Rittich made initial saves on William Nylander and Tavares, but the rebound went off the skate of Flames defenceman Noah Hanifin and into Calgary’s net.
Hanifin swung his stick in frustration and broke it across Calgary’s post.
“There’s a reason why [the Leafs] are where they are,” Flames captain Mark Giordano said. “And you could tell they were coming out with the mentality to win the game in the third.
“We’ve got to have that same mentality when games are tied or when you’re down, whatever the case, you’ve got to have that confidence.”
Galchenyuk scored his first as a Maple Leaf and evened the score at 2-2 at 17:08 in the second period. The forward converted a goal-mouth feed from Tavares.
“We obviously were not very good at all through 40 minutes, but we were in a game,” Toronto head coach Sheldon Keefe said.
“A big goal there late in the second. The way that it worked out, we really needed to find a way to get better for 20 and if we did, we liked our opportunity to get points here tonight. I really liked our third.”
WATCH |Rob Pizzo recaps week 11 in the NHL’s North Division:
In our weekly segment, Rob Pizzo catches you up on the week that was in the all-Canadian division in the NHL. 3:54
Mangiapane spotted the Flames a 2-1 lead with 39 seconds remaining in the opening period.
He pulled Mikael Backlund’s pass out of his skates and got an off-speed shot away that beat Hutchinson’s blocker.
The hosts drew even on Nordstrom’s goal at 12:43 of the first period. He tipped a Giordano slapshot upstairs on Hutchinson for his first goal as a Flame.
Rielly took advantage of Calgary’s defensive-zone turnover and scored on Toronto’s first shot on net 58 seconds after puck drop.
The Leafs defenceman skated the puck to the far faceoff circle and beat Rittich with a wrist shot over the Calgary goaltender’s left shoulder.
Calgary is scheduled to host the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday and Saturday. The Canucks, however, were dealing with 16 players on the NHL’s pandemic protocol list Sunday.
Kevin Sutherland chipped in for the only birdie of the final round on No. 16 and had a tap-in for another on the next hole, shooting a 4-under 69 to overtake Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont. in the Cologuard Classic on Sunday.
Sutherland trailed by two to start the day and was down four after Weir birdied the par-5 eighth in blustery conditions at Tucson National. Sutherland cut Weir’s lead in half with two birdies in his first three holes to start on the back nine and chipped in from short right of the 183-yard, par-3 16th.
Sutherland tapped in on 17 after putting through the fringe on the par 5 and just missed another birdie on the difficult 18th to close out his second victory in his last three PGA Tour Champions starts and fifth overall. He finished at 15 under, two ahead of Weir, three up on Steve Stricker and Scott Parel.
Weir had bogeys on two of his final three holes to shoot an even-par 73. The 2003 Masters champion has twice been runner-up on the PGA Tour Champions since turning 50 last year.
Calgary native Stephen Ames finished in a tie for 52nd place at 4-over par.
Phil Mickelson’s long-shot bid to win his first three PGA Tour Champions starts came to a screeching halt with a triple bogey on the par-4 ninth. He shot 73 to finish 11 shots back.
Weir opened the second round with a birdie as gusting wind bent flagsticks at sharp angles. He followed with five straight pars and walked up to the green at the par-3 seventh as Rush’s “Limelight” blared from one of the backyards lining Tucson National.
WATCH | Sutherland wins Cologuard Classic:
Kevin Sutherland came from behind to defeat Mike Weir by two strokes and finish 15-under on Sunday in Tucson, Arizona. 2:03
The Canadian left-hander responded with a little inspiration of his own, chipping in for birdie from about 90 feet. A curling 15-foot birdie putt at the par-5 eighth gave him a four-shot lead over Sutherland.
Sutherland, who won the Charles Schwab Championship in November in Phoenix, opened the back nine with a birdie and had another on the par-5 12th. The 56-year-old from Sacramento, California, stumbled when he couldn’t get up and down from a bunker on the par-3 14th, but closed with a flourish as conditions worsened.
Weir watched a slick 4-foot par putt slide by the hole after a nice bunker shot on No. 16 and missed a birdie putt from the fringe on No. 17 after a bunker shot ran through the back of the green. He three-putted to bogey the par-14 18th.
Mickelson was the last amateur to win on the PGA Tour in Tucson 30 years ago, but couldn’t conjure up the same magic in his return.
Nine shots back entering the final round, he had three birdies and a bogey through the first eight holes before hitting his tee shot into the water on the par-4 ninth. He then hit into the greenside bunker and three-putted for a seven.
Mickelson did avoid the mud on No. 15, at least.
He hit two good tee shots in the opening two rounds and both found the pond on the dogleg of the par 5. Mickelson made a birdie after hitting his second shot out of the mud in the first round and salved par after another mud shot in the second.
He avoided the pond altogether Sunday by hitting into the adjacent 17th fairway and ended up with par after missing a birdie putt of about 15 feet.
Former U.S. president Donald Trump has parted ways with his lead impeachment lawyers little more than a week before his trial, two people familiar with the situation said Saturday. The change injects fresh uncertainty into the makeup and strategy of his defense team.
Butch Bowers and Deborah Barbier, both South Carolina lawyers, have left the defense team in what one person described as a “mutual decision” that reflected a difference of opinion on the direction of the case.
The two people familiar with the legal team discussions insisted on anonymity to discuss private conversations. One said new additions to the legal team were expected to be announced in a day or two.
The upheaval injects fresh uncertainty into the makeup and strategy of Trump’s defense team as he prepares to face charges that he incited the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. However, all but five Senate Republicans this week voted in favour of an effort to dismiss the trial before it even started, making clear a conviction of the former president is unlikely regardless of his defense team.
Greg Harris and Johnny Gasser, two former federal prosecutors from South Carolina, are also off the team, one of the people said.
Trump has struggled to find attorneys willing to defend him after becoming the first president in history to be impeached twice. He is set to stand trial the week of Feb. 8.
After numerous attorneys who defended him previously declined to take on the case, Trump was introduced to Bowers by one of his closest allies in the Senate, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham.
Bowers, a familiar figure in Republican legal circles, had years of experience representing elected officials and political candidates, including then-South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford against a failed impeachment effort that morphed into an ethics probe.
Bowers and Barbier did not immediately return messages seeking comment Saturday evening.
Republicans and Trump aides have made clear that they intend to make a simple argument in the trial: Trump’s trial is unconstitutional because he is no longer in office.
While Republicans in Washington, D.C., had seemed eager to part ways with Trump after the deadly events of Jan. 6, they have since eased off of their criticism, wary of angering the former president’s loyal voter base.
CNN was first to report the departure of the lawyers.
After several days of silence, perhaps the only surprising thing about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denials Thursday that his secret police played a role in poisoning a political opponent was that he punctuated his comments with an uncomfortable-sounding chuckle.
“Who needs him?” Putin said of political foe Alexei Navalny during a news conference, laughing as he dismissed news reports that members of Russia’s federal security service, the FSB, specializing in nerve agents, followed Navalny during a trip to Siberia in August, where he was poisoned by the nerve agent Novichok and nearly died.
“If someone had wanted to poison him, they would have finished him off,” said Putin, returning to the well-worn Kremlin talking point that Russia’s secret services are too good to make such clumsy mistakes.
Putin denigrated Navalny as a nobody striving for political legitimacy, even providing a mocking imitation of his rival.
“Pay attention — it means I am a person of the same calibre [as Putin],” he said.
While the revelations about the FSB’s activities, published earlier this week by several Western news outlets, have enthralled many in the West, the Navalny case has long been largely ignored by the Russian media — and so, perhaps not surprisingly, by many Russians as well.
Navalny was airlifted to a hospital in Berlin shortly after he was poisoned on Aug. 20, and has remained in that country even as his crusade against Putin has continued.
A lawyer by training, Navalny is one of the very few political figures in Russia who has directly challenged Putin’s authority and risked his own life and security by organizing mass protests. Yet, while his investigations into corruption involving senior members of Putin’s inner circle have been viewed tens of millions times on YouTube, he remains a polarizing figure.
Many Russians appear to believe Putin’s claim that Navalny works for foreign intelligence agencies, and even some Western-leaning liberals see him as a divisive figure who has failed to create a strong anti-Putin coalition.
The new revelations in the Navalny case come via a detailed investigation led by the international journalism collective Bellingcat.
Its investigative team says the findings were procured from data that can easily be purchased on the black market, including cellphone records and passenger flight logs.
The findings include evidence suggesting Russia’s secret police have used a special unit to trail Navalny since 2017, following him to 37 different locations around Russia. Bellingcat alleges it tracked the cellphone usage of several members of the team and those records put them with Navalny at the time he was poisoned in Siberia.
The journalists even released photos of the men, as well as their aliases and work and home addresses. A CNN reporter knocked on the apartment door of one of the men, but he quickly shut it after she introduced herself.
Bellingcat also alleges the men reported to a senior officer who was once associated with the Novichok nerve agent program, and that the chain of command led straight to Putin himself.
At Thursday’s news conference, Putin didn’t deny that Russian agents could be tracked by their cellphones, or that they may have had reason to keep an eye on Navalny.
“Don’t we know that [foreign intelligence agencies] track geo-location? Our intelligence services fully understand that and know it,” said Putin, as he repeated his claim that Navalny himself must be an agent of the U.S.
“It’s not an investigation — it is the legalization of data from the U.S special services,” Putin said.
Putin’s constant refusal to discuss Navalny has seen him resort to using different descriptors rather than simply saying Navalny’s name.
On Thursday, Navalny was the “Berlin clinic patient.”
While the allegations about the FSB’s activities have been widely reported outside of Russia, within the country itself, it’s an entirely different story.
Until Putin’s comments Thursday, state TV programs ignored the story. Even the social media feeds of many of the Kremlin’s usual critics have been quiet on the topic.
At the news conference in Moscow, the CBC approached several prominent Russian journalists to ask why.
“I think Western media just pays too much attention to this person,” said host Mikhail Akinchenko of Channel One, borrowing Putin’s technique of not referring to Navalny by name.
“He’s not so interesting for our news agenda as for you, maybe because he’s not [such a] significant person for us.”
WATCH | State TV journalist explains lack of coverage of Navalny case:
Russia Channel 1 political host Mikhail Akincheko explains why Russian state TV is ignoring the poisoning of Kremlin foe Alexei Navalny. 0:51
And what of the evidence that suggests the FSB may have tried to kill Navalny?
“Only that person who does not know the real situation in Russia,” would take the poison allegations seriously, Akinchenko said.
“It can’t happen in real life.”
Navalny and his supporters have been arrested repeatedly by Russian police for organizing anti-Putin protests. He’s also been physically attacked and had corrosive green paint thrown in his face.
A video Navalny posted this week, in which he directly accused Putin of being complicit in his attempted murder, had already been viewed more than 10 million times by the time the Russian president addressed the news conference.
Nonetheless, there’s also persuasive evidence that the Kremlin’s efforts to marginalize Navalny and minimize his political impact have been effective.
A survey conducted in late October by respected independent pollster the Levada Center suggests 55 per cent of Russian respondents said they don’t believe Navalny was poisoned.
Of the one third who said they believe he had been poisoned, only a third of those said they believe the Russian state was behind it.
In the days after Bellingcat’s revelations were released but before Putin spoke about them, the CBC visited the community of Zvenigorod, a town of about 15,000 people located 70 kilometres west of Moscow.
Former railway worker Alexy Provorovsky, 39, stopped to talk on his way out of church but, like many people, was reluctant to discuss the Navalny story directly.
“I don’t really want to say anything about this,” he said. “[People] are only thinking about their families and their close ones now. They only think about themselves, just to survive.”
Elena Pomina, 30, said she was only vaguely aware of the Navalny case and what might have happened to him.
“I’m not for or against him. It’s not really my business,” she said.
Younger Russians who spoke with the CBC were generally more aware of the details and more sympathetic toward Navalny.
WATCH | Putin laughs off accusations of Kremlin-controlled hit against Navalny:
Russian President Vladimir Putin laughed off damning new allegations that a Kremlin-controlled hit squad uses nerve agents to eliminate opponents, including Alexei Navalny. 1:59
Daria Generalova, an 18-year-old artist who works in a gift shop in the town, said the government’s comments that Navalny might not have been poisoned aren’t credible.
“It can’t be that a person who is healthy like this, and quite young still, that he just suddenly falls so ill,” she said.
“It’s awful. It’s even frightening, actually.”
Levada pollster Denis Volkov told a forum earlier this week that support for Putin is strongest among the older generation that still gets their news from state TV sources, while younger people who rely on the internet are far more likely to favour Kremlin outsiders, such as Navalny.
After Putin’s news conference, Navalny was sounding pleased with how his week had gone.
“Of course they can’t open a criminal case now, because this would be a criminal case against Putin,” he told host Lyubov Sobol, one of his supporters, who was broadcasting on Navalny’s YouTube channel.
“And Putin, who is the king of lies, who can lie about anything no problem, even he in this situation can’t deny that there were FSB agents that followed me.”
What do you want to know about the U.S. election? Email us at Ask@cbc.ca.
As the wait for final results continues, Democratic candidate Joe Biden expressed confidence of winning the U.S. presidential election late Friday night, citing his lead over Donald Trump in key battleground states.
High turnout, a massive number of mail-in ballots and slim margins between the two candidates all contributed to the delay in naming a winner. But Biden held leads in Pennsylvania, Nevada and Georgia, putting him in an ever-stronger position to capture the 270 electoral college votes needed to take the White House.
Biden’s electoral college lead currently stands at 253-to-214.
“We’re going to win this race,” he said as he addressed the nation briefly Friday night near his home in Wilmington, Del. “With a clear majority, with a nation behind us.”
Biden has more than 74 million votes to Trump’s close to 70 million as of Friday night.
Late Friday, intense focus remained on Pennsylvania, where Biden led Trump by more than 27,000 votes, and Nevada, where the former vice-president led by about 22,000.
Biden’s lead continued to expand early Saturday in Georgia, by just over 7,200 votes — with the count 99 per cent complete — up from a lead of around 4,000 on Friday afternoon. With such a slim margin, Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, said on Friday that ballots will undergo a recount.
WATCH | Georgia heads for recount with razor-thin vote margin:
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden says his campaign is on the path to victory as his lead over Donald Trump grows. 2:32
In Arizona, Biden’s lead has narrowed to about 29,861 votes with 97 per cent of the tally completed. Trump’s campaign has been optimistic that Arizona will end up in his column.
The prolonged wait added to the anxiety of a nation facing historic challenges, including the surging pandemic and deep political polarization.
Trump takes to Twitter
Trump posted a series of tweets on Saturday morning, alleging a lack of monitoring of votes in Pennsylvania.
Tens of thousands of votes were illegally received after 8 P.M. on Tuesday, Election Day, totally and easily changing the results in Pennsylvania and certain other razor thin states. As a separate matter, hundreds of thousands of Votes were illegally not allowed to be OBSERVED…
On Friday evening, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito approved a Republican request ordering county boards to comply with Pennsylvania state guidance to keep the late-arriving ballots separate from those received before or on election day. Alito, however, did not direct election officials to stop counting the ballots, as the Republicans had also sought.
He also took to Twitter late Friday to pledge further legal action, tweeting that “Joe Biden should not wrongfully claim the office of the President. I could make that claim also. Legal proceedings are just now beginning!”
Trump stayed in the White House and out of sight on Friday, as more results trickled in. In the West Wing during the day, televisions remained tuned to the news amid trappings of normalcy, as reporters lined up for coronavirus tests and outdoor crews worked on the North Lawn on a mild, muggy fall day.
Biden, for his part, acknowledged the sluggish pace of the count “can be numbing.” But, he said, “Never forget the tallies aren’t just numbers: They represent votes and voters … your vote will be counted.”
WATCH | ‘We’re going to win this race,’ says Biden:
Joe Biden ended Friday with a razor-thin margin over Donald Trump in Georgia and the state is already headed for a recount. 2:28
He expressed confidence that victory ultimately would be his, saying, a record number of Americans “chose change over more of the same” and told the nation that the political parties may be opponents, but they are not enemies.
“We’re certainly not going to agree on a lot of issues, but at least we can agree to be civil with one another,” he said. “Let’s put the anger and the demonization behind us.”
Standing alongside his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, and against a backdrop of flags, Biden wasn’t able to give the acceptance speech his aides had hoped. But he hit notes of unity, seemingly aimed at cooling the temperature of a heated, divided nation.
“We have to remember the purpose of our politics isn’t total unrelenting, unending warfare,” he said. “No, the purpose of our politics, the work of our nation, isn’t to fan the flames of conflict but to solve problems, to guarantee justice, to give everybody a fair shot.”
Trump continues baseless allegations
Trump vowed to continue his legal fight on Friday, according to a statement released by the White House.
“We will pursue this process through every aspect of the law to guarantee that the American people have confidence in our government,” Trump said in a statement.
“I will never give up fighting for you and our nation.”
Trump has sought to portray as fraudulent the slow counting of mail-in ballots, which surged in popularity due to fears of exposure to the coronavirus through in-person voting. As counts from those ballots have been tallied, they have eroded the initial strong leads the president had in states like Georgia and Pennsylvania.
States have historically taken time after election day to tally all votes.
Trump has previously mentioned taking his case to the Supreme Court, but he could need the court’s help in two or more states, an unlikely scenario that is far different from what took place in 2000, the only time the Supreme Court has effectively settled a presidential election. Twenty years ago, the entire fight was over Florida’s electoral votes and involved a recount as opposed to trying to halt the initial counting of ballots.
WATCH | Trump attempts to use courts to hold White House:
Trump’s mood is reportedly foul as vote counts continue to tilt toward his opponent. And as the states where he is losing multiply, the legal strategies for contesting or halting the count gets harder. 2:24
In an extraordinary assault on the democratic process, Trump appeared in the White House briefing room on Thursday evening and without basis alleged that Democrats could “try to steal the election from us” if “illegal votes” cast after election day were counted.
Offering no evidence and taking no reporter questions, Trump lambasted election workers in a 15-minute address and sharply criticized polling before the election.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, speaking at a news conference from his native Kentucky on Friday, said he would not comment on the president’s allegations, pointing to a tweet he sent out earlier as his conclusive thoughts on the current state of affairs.
Here’s how this must work in our great country: Every legal vote should be counted. Any illegally-submitted ballots must not. All sides must get to observe the process. And the courts are here to apply the laws & resolve disputes.<br><br>That’s how Americans’ votes decide the result.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney pointed to examples of previous candidates, including incumbent presidents, who conceded promptly when the math was no longer in their favour.
“I think what the president needs to do, frankly, is put his big boy pants on,” said Kenney. “He needs to acknowledge the fact he lost, and he needs to congratulate the winner.”
Some residents in the city celebrated what they believed was a lead change that would be permanent.
Trump campaign files multiple lawsuits
In Pennsylvania, the Trump campaign won an appellate ruling to get party and campaign observers closer to election workers who are processing mail-in ballots in Philadelphia.
But the order did not affect the counting of ballots that is proceeding in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, as elections officials are dealing with an avalanche of mail-in ballots driven by fears of voting in person during a pandemic.
Judges in Georgia and Michigan quickly dismissed Trump campaign lawsuits Thursday, undercutting a campaign legal strategy to attack the integrity of the voting process in states where the result could mean Trump’s defeat.
WATCH | Georgia heads for recount with razor-thin vote margin:
Protesters outside a vote-counting centre in Phoenix, Ariz., echoed U.S. President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated claims that the Democrats are stealing the election even as Joe Biden’s lead shrank in the state. 1:40
Protesters crying foul over closely watched vote counts rallied outside tabulation centres in Phoenix and Detroit on Friday.
Roughly 200 Trump supporters gathered for a third straight day in front of the elections centre in downtown Phoenix, where hundreds of workers are still processing and counting ballots.
Jim Kenney, mayor of Philadelphia, called Donald Trump’s claims about voter fraud in the U.S. election ‘baseless’ Friday while city commissioner Lisa Deeley gave updates on the vote count, estimating there are approximately 40,000 votes left to be tallied. 1:23
“Arrest the poll workers,” the crowd chanted, demanding that Trump’s presidency be renewed for “four more years.” Sheriffs’ deputies kept protesters in a “free speech” zone away from the entrance to the building.
In Philadelphia, two armed men were arrested Thursday near the convention centre where an ongoing vote count was happening, police said Friday. Police said the men, not yet identified, will be charged with firearms offences.
What do you want to know about the U.S. election? Email us at Ask@cbc.ca.
Walker Buehler pitched in the World Series like the Los Angeles Dodgers’ aces of old.
Think Sandy Koufax, Fernando Valenzuela and Orel Hershiser, all leaders of title runs.
Now Buehler has the Dodgers two wins from the championship that has eluded them since 1988.
Buehler struck out 10 over six innings in a pulsating performance, and Los Angeles beat the Tampa Bay Rays 6-2 on Friday night for a 2-1 World Series lead.
“Being a big-game pitcher and really succeeding on this stage, there’s only a few guys currently and throughout history,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “He’s in some really elite company,”
Justin Turner homered in the first inning against a surprisingly hittable Charlie Morton, who was chased in the fifth.
Austin Barnes, the Dodgers’ No. 9 hitter and catcher, added a sixth-inning homer against John Curtiss. He became just the second player to drive in runs with both a homer and a sacrifice bunt in the same Series game.
He’ll probably remember the home run most.
“It’s a cool little stat, but it’s not easy to barrel the ball up against all these really good pitchers,” Barnes said.
Los Angeles overwhelmed Tampa Bay in all phases, leaving the Rays’ scuffling offence with a .206 batting average and 11 runs in the Series. The Rays’ .133 average (6 for 45) against Clayton Kershaw, Tony Gonsolin and Buehler is the lowest through three Series games against a team’s starters since the Boston Red Sox held the Philadelphia Phillies to .129 in 1915, according to STATS.
Julio Urias, a hard-throwing Mexican left-hander in a Dodgers lineage dating to Valenzuela, starts Game 4 on Saturday night, while the Rays start Ryan Yarbrough, who relieved in the first game.
Thirty-eight of 59 previous teams that won Game 3 for a 2-1 lead went on to take the title.
Justin Turner and Austin Barnes homered for the Dodgers, who have outhomered the Rays 7-4 in the Series and opponents 25-16 in the post-season. Barnes also drove in a run with a squeeze, the second player with RBIs on a bunt and home run in a Series game behind Hector Lopez of New York Yankees in Game 5 of 1961.
Steely-eyed like Hershiser, who won MVP honours of the 1988 Series, Buehler has supplanted Kershaw as the Dodgers’ ace. He showed no indisposition from the blister on his right index finger that has bothered him.
He has allowed one run in 13 Series innings that include seven scoreless in Game 3 against Boston two years ago. He improved to 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA in four post-season starts that include the win over Atlanta in Game 6 of the NL Championship Series last weekend.
“I’ve taken the failures that I’ve had and tried to learn from them a little bit,” Buehler said.
The 26-year-old right-hander started 15 of 21 batters with strikes and threw strikes on 67 of 93 pitches. Buehler didn’t allow a hit until Manuel Margot’s one-out double in the fifth. Willy Adames then drove in Margot with another double.
Tampa Bay’s only other hit off him was Austin Meadows’ leadoff single in the sixth.
“You can see the fastball just pop through the zone,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “Other than a few breaking balls here or there, it was very much a there it is, hit it approach. You totally understand and appreciate why he’s so talented.”
Rays batters were kept off balance by his mix of 59 four-seam fastballs, 14 knuckle-curves, 12 sliders and eight cut fastballs. He became the first pitcher in the Series with 10 or more strikeouts in six or fewer innings.
“That might have been the best I’ve ever seen him,” Barnes said.
Blake Treinen and Brusdar Graterol followed with a perfect inning apiece. Kenley Jansen finished the four-hitter, giving up Randy Arozarena’s record-tying eighth post-season homer.
Morton, a right-hander who turns 37 on Nov. 12, had entered unbeaten in seven straight post-season decisions, one shy of Orlando Hernandez’s record, including wins in five consecutive post-season starts. But he took the loss, allowing five runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings — more than the four runs total he gave up in his previous five post-season starts combined.
No Rays starter has finished the fifth inning in their last five Series starts since Matt Garza in Game 3 against Philadelphia in 2008. Tampa Bay repeated its pattern of a dozen years ago, losing the opener, winning the next game and dropping the third.
“I wasn’t particularly sharp,” Morton said. “I felt like I was able to get two strikes pretty quickly with a lot of guys and just not able to put them away.”
Turner put the Dodgers ahead on Morton’s 14th pitch, turning on a high 94.8 mph fastball with a 1-2 count and driving the ball 397 feet over the left-field wall. Turner’s home run was the 11th of his post-season career over 69 games, tying the team record set by Duke Snider over 36 games with the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers from 1954-59.
Los Angeles extended the lead to 3-0 in the third when Morton hit Corey Seager on a toe with a pitch, Turner doubled and Max Muncy drove a cutter into centre for a two-run single.
After singles by Cody Bellinger and Joc Pederson, Barnes drove in a run with the safety squeeze to first baseman Ji-Man Choi, the first RBI bunt in the Series since the Rays’ Jason Barlett in Game 2 in 2008 and the first since for the Dodgers since Billy Cox in 1953.
Mookie Betts followed with a two-out RBI single that made it 5-0, and Barnes homered off John Curtiss in the sixth. Five of the Dodgers’ first six runs scored with two outs, raising their total to nine of 18 in the Series and 50 of 87 in the post-season.
“Obviously there’s two outs, but you can still build an inning not giving away at-bats,” Betts said. “That’s how you win a World Series.”
Looking like a world champion even this early in the figure skating season, Nathan Chen easily won the short program at Skate America on Friday night with a personal best score.
Performing to Flamenco music in a spicy routine, the two-time world gold medallist and four-time national champion looked very much at home even without any fans at Orleans Arena. He hit a quadruple toe loop-triple toe loop combination, a superb quad flip and showed off masterful footwork. His 111.17 points beat his short program high of 110.38 in last year’s Grand Prix final.
Kicking off an already truncated figure skating season in the first event of the Grand Prix series, Chen was unchallenged.
“I felt great out there,” Chen said. “I am happy where I am at.”
WATCH | Chen eases to big lead in Las Vegas:
American Nathan Chen leads the men’s program at Skate America by nearly 12 points after his short program score of 111.17. 5:32
Chen is unbeaten since finishing fifth at the Pyeonchang Olympics in 2018. He’s already showing where his focus is long before the 2022 Beijing Games.
“Of course, Beijing and any Olympics are a huge motivator for me,” Chen said. “I think since I was a kid my family had raised me to be better, even if by a millimetre.”
Instead, he’s getting better by leaps and bounds, and he might not have another chance to show it until the U.S. championships in late January.
“As an athlete, we are really fortunate to have the opportunity to do this,” he said.
Vincent Zhou, bronze medallist at the 2019 worlds, was second heading into Saturday’s free skate, while Canada’s Keegan Messing sat third with 92.40 points. Messing lives and trains in Alaska.
WATCH | Messing 3rd after short program:
Sherwood Park, Alta., native Keegan Messing sits third overall at Skate America after his short program on Friday night. 5:50
Skate America is one of only four series events for 2020-21, with two others in Canada and France cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Grand Prix Final in Beijing also is cancelled.
Earlier, as expected, Mariah Bell and Bradie Tennell finished on top of the women’s short program.
Bell was smooth and solid in a program choreographed by 2018 Olympian Adam Rippon. Her 76.48 points were more than enough to beat Tennell, who had 73.29 and was marked down for under-rotation on her triple lutz-triple toe loop combination.
Bell, whose sensational free skate at the national championships in January earned her a silver medal behind two-time champion Alysa Liu — who is too young to compete in senior internationals — was grateful for the opportunity to display her routine.
“It was very interesting to not have a crowd here,” Bell said. “We are so fortunate to have this event. I really enjoyed getting to skate today.”
WATCH | Bell’s career-best skate vaults her into lead:
Mariah Bell leads the women’s program at Skate America after receiving a career-best short program score of 76.48. 5:41
Bell nailed her triple flip-triple toe loop combination and had a perfect triple lutz, making everything look easy — particularly for the first major competition of the season, even if Skate America is limited to Americans and foreigners training in this country.
“I kind of had to revert to what it feels like to practice at home,” she said, “and have to emphasize that and to put a little pressure on myself. I heard some [taped] clapping, and the stands are empty.”
Tennell, the 2018 U.S. champion, has changed coaches and now works with the renowned Tom Zakrajsek in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
“We’ve tried to keep a lot of the things pretty much the same,” she said, “because I know it works for me.”
Audrey Shin was third heading into Saturday’s free skate. Karen Chen, the 2017 U.S. champ, was fourth.
WATCH | Full men’s short program:
Watch coverage of the ISU Grand Prix 2020 Skate America from Las Vegas, Nevada. 1:38:34
WATCH | Full women’s short program:
Watch coverage of the ISU Grand Prix 2020 Skate America from Las Vegas, Nevada. 1:39:59
LeBron James finally got an easy Game 1 in the NBA Finals.
A very easy one, at that.
Anthony Davis scored 34 points, James had 25 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists and the Los Angeles Lakers rolled past the Miami Heat 116-98 on Wednesday night.
“The bigger the moment, he’s just raising his play,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said about Davis, who was making his finals debut and made it look easy.
The Heat left beaten and battered. Point guard Goran Dragic left in the second quarter and, a person with knowledge of the situation, said he was diagnosed with a torn plantar fascia in his left foot — which obviously jeopardizes his availability for the rest of the finals. And all-star centre Bam Adebayo left in the third quarter after apparently aggravating a left shoulder strain.
“We’re much better than we showed tonight,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “You have to credit the Lakers, and we’ll get to work for the next one.”
WATCH | Lakers crush Heat in Game 1:
LeBron James finished with 25 points, 13 rebounds and 9 assists in the LA Lakers 116-98 win over the Miami Heat in game one of the NBA Finals. 0:55
Game 2 is Friday night.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 13 points, Danny Green had 11 and Alex Caruso finished with 10 for the Lakers. They returned to the finals for the first time in a decade and sent a very clear message. James’ teams had been 1-8 in Game 1 of past finals, with losses in each of the last seven openers.
Not this one.
“We kind of picked it up on both ends of the floor,” Davis said.
Jimmy Butler fought through a twisted left ankle to score 23 points for Miami. Kendrick Nunn scored 18 points for the Heat, Tyler Herro had 14 and Jae Crowder 12.
“I, and we, are here for him,” Butler said about Dragic. “We know how much he wants to win, how much he wants to go to war and battle with us. And obviously, we love him for that and we want him out there with us. But whatever the docs tell him to do, that’s what he’s got to do. … He’s got to take care of himself first.”
Adebayo was held to eight points in 21 minutes, and Miami went with subs for a fourth-quarter burst that turned a total rout into something only slightly more palatable in terms of final margin.
WATCH | Dragic, Adebayo injured in Heat loss:
The Miami Heat lost Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo to injuries in their 116-98 loss to the LA Lakers in game one of the NBA Finals. 0:58
The Lakers did whatever they wanted. They outrebounded Miami 54-36, led by as many as 32 points, and made 15 3-pointers — a big number for a team that doesn’t necessarily count on piling up that many points from beyond the arc. They’re 21-3 this season when making at least 14 3s.
The only stretch that provided hope for Miami came in the first six minutes. The Heat scored on six consecutive possessions in what became a 13-0 run to take a 23-10 lead midway through the opening period.
So, the first six minutes were fine for Miami.
Everything else was all Lakers.
“You have to get a feel for how hard Miami plays,” James said. “They smacked us in the mouth and we got a sense of that. … From that moment when it was 23-10, we started to play to our capabilities.”
The simplest way to sum up what happened over the rest of the opening half is this: Lakers 55, Heat 25. The Lakers came into Game 1 ranked 21st out of the 22 teams that spent time in the bubble from 3-point range, making only 33.6 per cent of their tries from deep at Disney. They were the only team in the post-season to have two games shooting less than 25 per cent on 3s.
Perhaps they were due. The Lakers went 9-for-11 on 3’s in the final 16 minutes of the first half. Of the nine Lakers who played in the first two quarters, eight tried a 3-pointer — and all eight made at least one.
They closed the first quarter on a 19-3 run. Herro banked in a 3 from a sharp angle for a 43-41 Miami lead with 7:33 left in the half, and then the Lakers took off again, this time on a 24-5 burst to go into the break with a 65-48 lead.
The Lakers started the third on another run, this one 18-3, and the rout was officially underway.
“You can learn so much more from a win than you can in a loss,” James said. “I can’t wait for tomorrow for us to get back together and watch the film and see ways we can be better.”
The NBA Finals record book is basically a James scrapbook of career achievements, and he raised his spot on some of those lists Wednesday. He became the seventh player to appear in 50 NBA Finals games (he could climb all the way to a tie for third on that list if this series goes seven games) and passed Michael Jordan and George Mikan for fifth in finals free throws made.
Defender Frederic Brillant completed a late comeback with a 91st-minute goal as 10-man D.C. United rallied to tie Toronto FC 2-2 Monday morning at the MLS is Back Tournament in a matchup twice delayed by COVID-19 concerns.
Ayo Akinola, in a rare start, scored twice in the first half to give Toronto a commanding 2-0 lead at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida. But things turned in the 84th minute as D.C. United scored against the run of play.
Substitute Federico Higuain, in his D.C. United debut after a decorated career in Columbus, started the rally with a chip over Quentin Westberg after the heart of a reshuffled Toronto defence was sliced open by a pass from Brazil’s Felipe.
Brillant completed the unlikely comeback, rising above Laurent Ciman to head in the tying goal in stoppage time, after Steven Birnbaum headed the ball to him at the far post from a Felipe free kick.
Akinola came close to restoring the Toronto lead in the 96th minute but Bill Hamid got a hand to his header.
There was some bad blood after the final whistle of a game that saw some ugly tackles.
D.C. United played the second half with 10 men after midfielder Junior Moreno received a second yellow for going through the back of Marky Delgado in first-half stoppage time.
WATCH | Toronto FC salvages draw after coughing up lead:
Despite playing down a man in the second half, D.C. United’s Federico Higuain scored in the 84th minute and Frederic Brillant scored in stoppage time, as D.C. salvaged a 2-2 draw with Toronto FC. 2:31
Toronto used its man advantage in the second half, stroking the ball around the field, and seemed cruising to a commanding win until the bottom fell out.
Players negative in new round of testing
The two teams were originally scheduled to meet Friday night but that was pushed back to Sunday due to Toronto’s late arrival (July 6), caused by the need for additional COVID-19 testing after a member of the travelling part reported symptoms.
Sunday’s game was called off minutes before the 9 a.m. ET kickoff in the wake of a positive test for a D.C. United player and an inconclusive test for a Toronto player.
All other players tested negative in a round of new testing. The two players in question, neither of which was identified by their clubs, were isolated pending receipt of a second negative test.
The tournament, which marks the league’s first action since it shut down March 12 due to the global pandemic, has already lost FC Dallas and Nashville SC due to a rash of positive COVID-19 tests.
There was no evidence of rust as Toronto pressed D.C. and attacked on multiple fronts despite the absence of star striker Jozy Altidore.
Captain Michael Bradley, in his first game since injuring his ankle in the Nov. 10 MLS Cup final, was a force in the midfield. Fullbacks Justin Morrow and Brazil’s Auro bombed down the flanks in the first half.
Akinola scored in the 12th minute, beating one defender and then splitting two more before hammering in a right-footed shot from the edge of the box. The goal came after Hamid’s goal kick went straight to Bradley in the D.C. end, with an Alejandro Pozuelo pass eventually finding Akinola.
The 20-year-old scored again in the 44th minute after Pozuelo beat Brillant to the ball following an 11-pass Toronto sequence. Pozuelo floated the ball to the far post where an unmarked Akinola tapped it in.
Teams don masks, Black Lives Matter T-shirts
Akinola came into the match with one goal in 12 career MLS appearances (including two starts) spread over three seasons. It was his first MLS game action since June 29, 2019 — and first start since May 8, 2019.
The game finally kicked off at 9:08 a.m. in 28 C heat. Both teams arrived wearing masks and Black Lives Matter T-shirts, taking a knee before kickoff.
Pablo Piatti, making his TFC debut, had the game’s first chance in the sixth minute after Pozuelo found him on the edge of the box. But the Argentine winger dragged his shot just wide.
Akinola, a U.S. youth international, had a chance for a second goal in the 19th minute after Tsubasa Endoh found him with a slide-rule pass but Hamid stopped his weak shot from out wide.
Westberg made a remarkable one-handed save to stop Ola Kamara’s header from point-blank range in first-half stoppage time.
Akinola was scythed down by Felipe with 20 minutes remaining, earning the midfielder a yellow card. It was one of several ill-tempered tackles from D.C. United on the day.
Toronto coach Greg Vanney made changes in the second half, sending on Richie Laryea, Eriq Zavaleta, Ciman, Erickson Gallardo and Nick DeLeon.
Toronto’s next Group C game is Thursday against the Montreal Impact, who lost their opener 1-0 to the New England Revolution last Thursday.
Changes up front
The three group games count in the regular-season standings with Toronto now at 1-0-2 and D.C. United at 1-1-1.
Toronto went with the same starting 11 announced Sunday.
While it fielded the same back five as it had in its last league game March 7, there were four changes further forward — Bradley, Piatti, Endoh and Akinola.
Altidore did not make the matchday 23. He was late joining the team after spending the lockdown at his Florida home and had to train on his own while fulfilling quarantine.
Jonathan Osorio didn’t dress due to a quad strain, according to Toronto.
D.C. United made one change from the starting 11 that beat Inter Miami 2-1 last time out on March 7. Costa Rican Ulises Segura came in for Argentina’s Yamil Asad, who dropped to the bench.
Estonian international Erik Sorga, who played 75 minutes off the bench against Inter Miami, did not make the matchday 23.
It was another early wake-up call for the two teams, with Toronto planning a 5:30 a.m. pre-game meal for the second day in a row. That was pre-empted by a team Zoom call Sunday to discuss the COVID-19 tests.
Toronto knocked D.C. United out of the playoffs the last time they met, scoring four goals in extra time in a 5-1 first-round win in October.