Langer, seeking a third green jacket 21 years after his second, began the day eights shots off the lead shared by American duo Bubba Watson and Jordan Spieth. But the 56-year-old German – Julius Boros was 48 when he won the 1968 US PGA Championship – birdied the first and eagled the par-five second to get back to level par for the tournament and close the gap to five. Bernhard Langer’s unlikely bid to become golf’s oldest major champion kickstarted the final round of the 78th Masters at Augusta National on Sunday. Press Association Langer finished 25th in his 30th Masters last year, although he was briefly within two shots of the lead when he started his final round with three straight birdies. Spieth, who was not even born when Langer won here in 1993, could become the youngest ever Masters champion on Sunday evening, while 50-year-old Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez was also aiming to become the oldest winner of any major. Spieth, 20, and 2012 champion Watson shared the lead on five under par, with Matt Kuchar and Sweden’s Jonas Blixt on four under and Jimenez another shot back alongside American Rickie Fowler. England’s Lee Westwood, seeking a first major title at the 64th attempt, was another stroke back along with former US Open champion Jim Furyk and Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn. Former Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal was the last European winner at Augusta in 1999. Langer’s charge faltered with a bogey on the third – at 350 yards the shortest par four on the course – but he hit back with a birdie on the fifth. Defending champion Adam Scott’s bid to join Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods in winning back-to-back titles got off to a bad start however, the Australian three-putting the second to drop back to two over par. Langer remained level par through the turn as Joost Luiten showed what kind of scores were possible, the Ryder Cup hopeful carding birdies at the 14th, 15th, 16th and 18th to post a closing 67. At the other end of the field, Fowler had birdied the first to close to within a shot of the lead, while 54-year-old Fred Couples had birdied the first and second to move to three under.
Manchester United have begun their hunt for a successor for David Moyes in earnest, drawing up a shortlist and sending out feelers to potential candidates. United vice-chairman Ed Woodward is leading the search but is drawing on the experience of Sir Alex Ferguson and former chief executive David Gill, who are both board members. Holland coach Louis van Gaal is the front-runner, but sources close to United say he is only one on a list of candidates that has been drawn up. Press Association The club are looking for a coach with a significant level of experience, which means temporary manager Ryan Giggs will not be among those considered. Van Gaal is currently on holiday in Portugal, according to reports in Holland, and the 62-year-old will be a free agent after the World Cup. The Dutchman is one of those on the shortlist, along with Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti. However, former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon is confident Ancelotti will stay in Spain. He told talkSPORT: “I believe Carlo Ancelotti will be with Real Madrid next season. He’s got a contract. We don’t know what’s happening with Manchester United. “It’s always a pity when you have to sack a coach. I had that problem with Fabio Capello. Sometimes you have to take those decisions, though. Manchester United’s results have not been normal so it’s a decision they had to take.” As well as a significant level of experience, the criteria for the new manager is also thought to include having a good grasp of English, which would count against Atletico Madrid’s much-admired coach Diego Simeone. United are trying to move on from the controversy that surrounded the sacking of Moyes on Tuesday, and Giggs will hold his first news conference as player-manager on Friday morning. The ‘Chosen One’ banner that has been displayed on the Stretford End since Moyes took over has been taken down, it has been confirmed. It is also understood that club chiefs will continue to work hard to line up transfer targets so that the deals can be done as soon as the transfer window opens on June 1. That will also give time for the new manager to indicate his views on the targets as well as put forward other transfer wishes. United have refused to comment on reports that the owners, the Glazers, are due to fly into the UK for talks on the situation. Meanwhile, West Ham manager Sam Allardyce claimed the process of Moyes’ departure could have been handled better. He said: “For Manchester United as an institution and a football club as large as they are, the process looked like it was flawed, which was a great shame for Manchester United as a brand and, of course, David Moyes knowing his fate before he was even told. “That is how it looks from the outside. If that is the case, it is a great shame for David and a great shame that Manchester United chose to use that process.” United have insisted no decision had been taken at the time reports first started emerging that Moyes faced the axe. Roberto Martinez is confident that Moyes, his predecessor at Everton, will have no problems in getting a new job. He said: “It is not a nice situation when a manager loses his job, especially someone who has such strong links with our club. “It has been a difficult experience but any experience is a good experience in this game unfortunately. “We know David Moyes will look forward to the next footballing chapter. “I am sure he will be ready to get into another job as quick as he can and I am sure he won’t have a lack of offers or opportunities when you have someone who is so hard-working, focused and dedicated in his job.”
Press Association Sport understands Villa have now sacked the 49-year-old, with Lambert now seeking a new number two. Villa have also sacked head of football operations Gary Karsa, whose career at the club was also put on hold in April after he too faced allegations relating to off-field issues. Culverhouse and Karsa were the subject of separate internal investigations by the club, with Karsa understood to have been the first of the pair to lose his job earlier this month. Youth-team coach Gordon Cowans and goalkeeper Shay Given were promoted to assist Lambert and his first-team coaching staff for the closing weeks of the season. Aston Villa have dismissed assistant manager Ian Culverhouse following an investigation that followed his suspension in April. Press Association Former Norwich player Culverhouse, who previously worked alongside Villa manager Paul Lambert at Carrow Road and at Colchester, was suspended in April due to disciplinary issues. At the time, owner Randy Lerner referred to “unexpected issues that could have very easily set the club back”.
A suspected knee injury forced O’Driscoll off barely eight minutes into his 186th and final appearance for Leinster, but the retiring centre still managed to end his provincial career with silverware – just as he did with Ireland in March. First-time finalists Glasgow were far from overawed at the RDS, four finely-struck penalties from Finn Russell meaning they were only 14-12 behind at half-time. The high pace continued into the second quarter with both defences tested in the sun-kissed conditions. Half-breaks from Chris Cusiter and Peter Horne saw Glasgow exert more control and Russell’s third penalty came after an eye-catching burst from big Fijian Leone Nakarawa. Tellingly, Kirchner turned creator in the 38th minute as he breezed through a midfield gap and Jennings was on his shoulder to run in a converted try from 25 metres out. There was still time for Russell to make it a two-point game, drilling home a late penalty from just inside the Leinster half. The hosts were denied a third try on the resumption, referee Nigel Owens ruling that Cian Healy had been tackled before getting up to reach for the try-line. Gopperth hit an upright with a penalty attempt from distance and Glasgow showed their offloading ability as replacement Niko Matawalu sparked their attack into life. As bodies tired, Matawalu crucially lost the ball forward as he lunged for the Leinster line and a Gopperth-inspired counter almost led to Madigan scoring from his own kick through. A powerful close-in scrum allowed Gopperth stretch Leinster’s lead to 17-12 and their greater experience began to tell as Gopperth widened the margin to eight points, with Nakarawa infringing at a ruck. Glasgow’s brave challenge was petering out as Gopperth missed a drop goal and a thundering charge from man-of-the-match Sean Cronin should have garnered a try. The victory was duly wrapped up by Kirchner’s second touchdown in the 74th minute, a crisp passing move allowing D’Arcy to break free and send the South African over. The roles were reversed just two minutes later as Leinster profited from turnover ball and Kirchner set up the tireless D’Arcy to go over in the same left corner. Press Association Four-try Leinster overcame the early departure of Brian O’Driscoll to beat Glasgow Warriors 34-12 and become the first team to retain the RaboDirect PRO12 title. Springbok Zane Kirchner crossed for Leinster’s opening try in the 16th minute and his pass sent Shane Jennings through for the second late in the first half. The defending champions strangled the life out of Glasgow as Jimmy Gopperth made it 20-12 by the 66th minute and the final gloss was added by late tries from Kirchner and Gordon D’Arcy. Leinster’s long-serving captain Leo Cullen, who is moving upstairs as their new forwards coach, also came off the bench to help the Blues make it seven major trophy wins in as many years. Glasgow were bidding to become the first Scottish winners of the PRO12 and unsettled the hosts straight away, their young fly-half Russell blocking down Gopperth in the first minute. The 22-year-old landed a long range penalty soon after and Leinster emerged pointless from their first visit to the Scots’ 22, knocking on after turning down a kickable three-pointer. Worse followed for Matt O’Connor’s men when O’Driscoll hobbled off injured with semi-final hero Ian Madigan replacing him. Russell then punished Mike McCarthy’s high tackle with a superb strike from the left wing that went over off the right-hand post. But Leinster’s patience was rewarded on the quarter-hour mark, building pressure through 20-plus phases before Rob Kearney released winger Kirchner to finish in the left corner. Gopperth nailed the conversion for a 7-6 advantage.
McIlroy was looking to claim the fourth major of his career and become the first player since Padraig Harrington in 2008 to win back-to-back majors. Lifting the Wanamaker Trophy for the second time would also see the Northern Irishman become the third youngest player after Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus to win four majors, just one less than the total won by the late Seve Ballesteros and two behind Nick Faldo. It was the fourth time McIlroy had held the 54-hole lead in a major, the first leading to heartache in the 2011 Masters when he was four ahead entering the final round at Augusta only to collapse to a closing 80. Two months later he bounced back in spectacular style to win the US Open by eight shots at Congressional before winning the 2012 US PGA by the same margin at Kiawah Island. Last month he led from start to finish at Royal Liverpool, taking a six-shot lead into the final round before going on to win by two from Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler. McIlroy missed good birdie chances on the 11th and 12th, the latter after seeing Mickelson in the group ahead hole from 30 feet across the green for an unlikely par. But the world number one made no mistake from eight feet on the 13th to get back into a share of the lead with five holes remaining. Stenson had offered a prayer of thanks to the golfing gods when his approach to the 13th just carried the water and set up a birdie from three feet, only to three-putt the next to drop back out of the lead. Fowler dropped out of the lead after a wayward tee shot led to a bogey on the 14th and when Mickelson bogeyed the 16th, McIlroy was back in the outright lead for the first time since the third hole. Press Association With the Valhalla course already saturated, a torrential downpour saw play suspended at 12:53pm local time, more than two hours before the final pair had been scheduled to tee off. Play was eventually able to resume almost two hours later with McIlroy and Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger starting at 4:19pm, meaning they faced a race against time to finish before darkness descended in Louisville. Rory McIlroy was battling the elements and some world-class opposition as he tried to win his second major in four weeks in a thrilling, weather-affected climax to the USPGA Championship. “I will hang around until next week to try to win this thing. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest,” McIlroy said. The Open champion started with two pars before three-putting the third from long range to drop back into a tie for the lead with Wiesberger and Phil Mickelson, who had birdied the first and third. That soon became a five-way tie when Rickie Fowler recovered from a bogey on the second with birdies at the third and fourth and Henrik Stenson picked up his third shot of the day on the fifth. But Fowler, who finished joint fifth in the Masters and joint second in the US Open and Open this season, then moved into the outright lead by chipping in for his third birdie in succession on the fifth. Stenson drew level again with a two-putt birdie on the seventh and when McIlroy failed to get up and down from a bunker on the sixth, the 25-year-old found himself two shots off the lead. A superb chip from the edge of a bunker on the seventh set up McIlroy’s first birdie of the day but Fowler had also picked up a shot there and then holed from 28 feet on the 10th to reclaim the outright lead on 15 under. McIlroy therefore found himself three off the pace but got back into contention in spectacular fashion, hitting his approach to the par-five 10th to seven feet and rolling in the putt for an eagle. Mickelson had missed from much closer than Fowler on the 10th but made amends on the 11th to join his playing partner in the lead, the pair exchanging fist-bumps as they walked to the 12th tee.
Angel Di Maria has told Real Madrid he wants to leave the club and has rejected the offer of a new contract, coach Carlo Ancelotti has revealed. Press Association Di Maria has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United, with recent reports suggesting the Red Devils are willing to spend up to £100million on the transfer fee and wages to take the Argentina winger to Old Trafford. Ancelotti has previously given little away about Di Maria’s future but on Thursday confirmed that the 26-year-old has asked to leave the European champions. “Di Maria asked to go in the summer and has rejected an offer from the club,” Ancelotti said at a press conference. “The player has to look for a solution. If when the (transfer) market closes he’s still here, he will work with us like last season and there will be no problem.” Ancelotti, speaking ahead of Friday’s Supercopa second leg against Atletico Madrid, added of Di Maria: “He’s a Real Madrid player and until August 31, as I’ve already said, anything can happen. “I’m surprised to read that there seems to be some disagreement (about Di Maria) between the club and me. There’s no disagreement and we both think the same.” Ancelotti also revealed that midfielder Sami Khedira has rejected the offer of a new contract – although the World Cup winner has not said he wants to leave. Arsenal are reportedly keen on the 27-year-old, who has seen competition for a place in the Madrid midfield increase this summer with the signings of his Germany team-mate Toni Kroos and Colombia star James Rodriguez. Ancelotti said of Khedira: “It’s a different situation to Di Maria. He’s not asked to go. He’s rejected an offer to renew, but has a year of contract. We’ll see what happens.”
Ireland coach Kiss believes Joe Schmidt’s side face a tall order to contain Stuart Lancaster’s increasingly-confident side in a match that could define this year’s Six Nations. “You’ve got to be really on your game and make sure you do hit and stick in your tackles,” said Kiss. “You’ve got to get them to the deck early, make them make decisions about how they load their attack. “They are loaded across the park and they have got options too. Cipriani comes on late and shows some magic as well. “The analysis of it has opened our eyes to the challenge ahead and what it presents. “W ith the type of competition this is, it’s not going to be over until the last game, no matter what happens in the next match. “There are more surprises to come, Scotland have more to come, the French can be dangerous still and Wales will keep coming. “I don’t think the result in the next fortnight will determine the tournament at all.” Ireland held an open training session at Connacht’s Sports Ground in Galway on Wednesday, with Tommy Bowe and Keith Earls sitting out parts of the action purely to manage their workloads. Kiss confirmed Ireland do not have any new injury concerns and moved to downplay the impact of Johnny Sexton returning to France for Racing Metro action this weekend. The 29-year-old will face a stern examination against Clermont for his Paris club side, just a week after being clattered about the Aviva Stadium by Mathieu Bastareaud on his return after a 12-week concussion absence. “Johnny’s a pro and he’ll get back and get in front of things in terms of the computers when he gets back,” said Kiss. “He’ll get in front of the vision and he’ll get to chat with the guys and will get in front of things really early (next week). “Rather than being a glass half-empty it’s a glass half-full situation, because Joe (Schmidt) gets a chance to work with Ian Madigan in this case for this training session. “So he can build that a little bit more, so there is a silver lining to it as well. “The fact that Johnny’s not here, that’s just a reality and it’s an opportunity for Joe to work with Mads a bit more.” Press Association Les Kiss has warned that George Ford’s “scary relationship” with Jonathan Joseph and Anthony Watson could derail Ireland’s quest to retain the RBS 6 Nations title. Former Australia rugby league star Kiss also revealed wariness of England’s bullish back row and the cameo threat of in-vogue fly-half Danny Cipriani. “Our preparation starts with the analysis and that’s been pretty scary with what they can do,” said Kiss. “If you look at that scary relationship in midfield with George Ford, and he has a relationship already with Watson and Joseph, those types of combinations seem to be coming through for them nicely. “I think also their back row has been brilliant, James Haskell and Billy Vunipola are big threats and Chris Robshaw is excellent. “The momentum that they give them is critical for them and they can take the ball deep and still make yards.” Bath fly-half Ford will win just his ninth cap if he faces Ireland in Dublin, but the 21-year-old looks increasingly composed in the Test arena. Fleet-footed centre Joseph is already being likened to England great Jeremy Guscott, while flyer Watson’s trickery has added guile out wide, completing a threatening Bath trio. Sale fly-half Cipriani climbed off the bench to score a try in his first Twickenham Test appearance in seven years in Saturday’s 47-17 victory over Italy, while Wasps flanker Haskell is another rejuvenated England star. Defence specialist Kiss has admitted Ireland’s coaches were shocked by England’s new-found attacking fluency when preparing for the pivotal Six Nations clash in Dublin on March 1. Ireland and England are the Six Nations’ only remaining unbeaten sides, but Kiss has denied that the winners at the Aviva Stadium will stride onwards to the title.
He added: “I can accept that is an opinion, but the comment on Giroud was a bit more wrong, especially because I heard the same thing being said about (Nicolas) Anelka, about Thierry Henry himself and about Robin van Persie, and they all became world class players themselves.” Wenger added: “What I know is Giroud works very hard for the team and has fantastic mentality and if the team does well it is down to him and, if on top of that he scores 20 or more goals, he has done his job.” Despite the disappointment of not being able to close the gap on Chelsea, Arsenal have nevertheless been in superb form since the turn of the year, winning 17 from 21 matches with a quarter-final Champions League exit to Monaco the only real disappointing result. “What will be interesting, lets get a new start and see where we stand next year,” said Wenger, whose side struggled for form in the opening 10 league matches with several players suffering a World Cup hangover. “We feel we have made up some ground, that will be the challenge of next season from the start, lets show we are there and capable to fight for it.” Asked how much of what happened in 2015 had changed what he was thinking about summer transfers, Wenger said: “(It has made) massive changes. “I believe as well that some players who were questioned, like (Mesut) Ozil, have made big improvements in the second part of the season, getting slowly to be the leader you want him to be in guiding our game.” Wenger insists Arsenal are “not in the need of absolute change”, but also accepts the club must strengthen, even if it just to keep up with their rivals. “You can expect Manchester City to respond, expect Manchester United to respond, Liverpool to respond. I don’t know yet (what they will do), but that is something you have to consider,” he said. Wenger, though, wants Arsenal to first focus on the end to the current campaign, which could yet end with a successful defence of the FA Cup when they tackle Aston Villa at Wembley on May 30. “What is important is how we finish the season now,” he said. “We will be judged at the end of the season, after the FA Cup final, where are we in the Premier League and we will see how well we have done. “That is why it is vital that we keep the focus and the hunger to go as strong as we can until the end.” Press Association Manager Arsene Wenger says Thierry Henry is “wrong” to claim Arsenal need to buy four new players and cannot win the title with striker Olivier Giroud. Henry, part of Wenger’s Invincibles squad and the record goalscorer, said Arsenal “need that spine” down the side “and, I am afraid, they need a top, top quality striker to win this league again”. Giroud, who missed three months of the season with a broken leg, responded to criticism after a poor display in the Champions League defeat to Monaco with an impressive run of seven goals in 10 matches. Wenger feels while the former Arsenal captain is entitled to his opinions, they are unfounded. “I think he is wrong,” said Wenger, who takes his side to Hull on Monday night looking to keep up the pressure on Manchester City in the battle to finish second. “It doesn’t cost to say that. He’s paid for that. We know all the system now of the modern media, especially on TV. I know how it works, they push you to be controversial because they give you a lot of money.” Henry has started working on his coaching badges at Arsenal since announcing his retirement when he left New York Red Bulls. Wenger quipped: “He has to pay to come in because he makes a lot of money.” The Gunners boss, however, insists he has heard it all before, even about the former French World Cup winner himself. The Gunners boss also feels the progress of his squad in 2015 has made him rethink his summer transfer plans. Following last weekend’s frustrating goalless draw against leaders Chelsea, who went on to claim the Barclays Premier League title with victories over Leicester and Crystal Palace, former Arsenal striker Henry used his new role as a pundit for Sky Sports to lay into his old club.
“First I have to agree with the club what the conditions would be for leaving,” he told reporters in his homeland ahead of the European Championship qualifier against Iceland on Friday. “Next week we will have a meeting with Chelsea. “At the moment it is with my agent. When it is clearer and all the cards are on the table, we will decide. “I believe that for what I have done for the club and what the club has done for me, we can arrange it so we are all happy.” He added: “I keep all options open, regardless of the country. I will decide based on what is best for me and my family. It does not matter whether it is England, Germany, France or Spain. “If I move, it brings difficulties. It must change everything, looking for housing, a school for children and so on. “Therefore, the sooner I know what to do the better. I can plan everything and even rest before the new season.” The 33-year-old has a year left on his contract at Stamford Bridge but was demoted to the role of back-up to Thibaut Courtois last season as the Belgian enjoyed an impressive campaign. Blues boss Jose Mourinho has stressed on several occasions he is eager for the Czech stopper to stay and Cech is keen to resolve the issue sooner rather than later. Petr Cech will hold talks with Chelsea next week, with the goalkeeper eager to sort out where he will be playing next season. Press Association
De Gea, Man Utd. Played: 90mins (2-1 v Watford) – Made five crucial saves, including fine reaction block from Almen Abdi’s deflected shot. Press Association Clyne, Liverpool. Played: 90mins (4-1 v Man City) – England defender helped hustle the City front line, which managed only three shots. Koscielny, Arsenal. Played: 90mins (1-2 v West Brom) – France defender’s efforts deserved more than to be on end of defeat, completing 61 passes. Skrtel, Liverpool. Played: 90mins (4-1 v Man City) – Czech defender capped a fine all-round display with a fiercely struck fourth goal. Walker, Tottenham. Played: 90mins (4-1 v West Ham) – His son was a mascot for the game, in which he scored as Spurs went 12 league matches unbeaten. Depay, Man Utd. Played: 90mins (2-1 v Watford) – Man-of-the-match display by the Dutchman, who scored opening goal and had 67 touches. Barkley, Everton. Played: 74mins (4-0 v Aston Villa) – Industrious display by the England midfielder, who now has five goals and four assists this season. Alli, Tottenham. Played: 71mins (4-1 v West Ham) – Another box-to-box showing from the new England international, but a fifth yellow card means a one-match suspension. Coutinho, Liverpool. Played: 68mins (4-1 v Man City) – Tricky Brazilian scored for a fourth successive league game and developed great understanding with countryman Roberto Firmino. Kane, Tottenham. Played: 90mins (4-1 v West Ham) – Two goals for the England front man took his tally into double figures and helped Spurs continue their impressive development under Mauricio Pochettino. Vardy, Leicester. Played: 77mins (3-0 v Newcastle) – Foxes striker cannot stop scoring, netting for the 10th game in a row, equalling the Premier League record, as Newcastle were beaten 3-0 on their own ground.