Peter Senior salutes the gallery after becoming the oldest winner of the Australian Open
Photo: Getty Images
At 53 years and nine months, golfer Senior became the oldest winner of the Australian Open when he held his nerve in blustery conditions at The Lakes in Sydney. Senior was nine shots off the pace after the first round but proved that experience was worth plenty over the following three days. Play was suspended for several hours during the final round as winds approached gale force but as overnight leader John Senden plummeted down the leaderboard with 10-over, Senior was rock solid. He shot an even-par 72 to finish at four-under, one shot better than any of his challengers, which including England's Justin Rose who needed a hole-in-one on the par-three 18th to force a playoff. As well as being the tournament's oldest victor, Senior also set a record for the longest time between first and last wins - a whopping 23 years after his triumph in 1989.
Aaron Finch (Melbourne Renegades)
On Friday afternoon, we picked Finch as our tip for the Big Bash League's leading run-scorer, and the Renegades captain is already making us look like smart cookies. In the opening match of the season, Finch smashed an unbeaten 111 off 65 balls to fire the Renegades to a shock eight-wicket victory over the Stars. The innings took the shine off Shane's Warne's return to the crease, the champion leg-spinner flayed for 41 runs off 12 balls before removing himself from the attack for good. Finch's knock fell six runs shy of tying Luke Wright's record for the highest-ever Big Bash score, but no matter; with Finch is such seriously good form he's every chance to surpass it before the season is over (assuming that his Big Bash participation is not interrupted by a call-up to Australia's one-day side, which seems increasingly possible).
Alastair Cook (England)
Let's just pray that Cook is indisposed when Australia faces England in back-to-back Ashes series next year. We could do without facing the England skipper, who notched his fifth consecutive Test century on Wednesday and broke a record that has stood for 73 years. The 27-year-old now stands alone with 23 Test tons for England, one more than the late, great Wally Hammond. In addition, Cook is now the youngest man in history to reach 7000 Test runs, reaching the milestone faster even than Sachin Tendulkar. The Englishman would have reached his third Test double-ton had he not been run-out in bizarre circumstances on day three. Cook, at the non-striker's end, reflexively lifted his bat to avoid Virat Kohli's ping at the stumps and fell victim to a direct hit with no part of his bat or body behind the crease, despite not actually attempting a run. Watch his farcical end below:
Juan Manuel Marquez
Marquez had failed to win any of his three previous fights against legend-in-waiting Manny Pacquiao but he made amends in spectacular fashion on Saturday night in Las Vegas, knocking out his nemesis with one second left in the sixth round. After recovering from a knockdown in the third round, Pacquiao was all over Marquez in the fourth and fifth rounds, bloodying the Mexican and knocking him down. Pac-Man delivered more of the same in the sixth round before Marquez shocked the crowd at the MGM Grand, and boxing fans around the world with a flush right to his unguarded Filipino opponent's jaw. Pacquaio was out cold before he hit the deck and Marquez could finally claim bragging rights from one of the fiercest - and closest - rivalries in modern times.
League Two club Bradford City were expelled from the FA Cup on Friday, punished for fielding an ineligible player in their second-round tie against Brentford. Through sheer negligence, Bradford failed to gain the necessary permission to use Australia's Curtis Good in the tie last Friday, which ended in a 1-1 draw. The two clubs were due to meet in a replay on December 18 but the FA instead handed Brentford a walk into the third round, where they are due to face either Bury or Southend. Good, on loan from Newcastle United, was making his debut appearance for the Bantams, and the decision is a blow to the central defender, who is desperate for playing time after being left wanting for opportunity at the Magpies. Bradford have appealed the FA's decision but their hopes are slim; Bury and Droylsden both had appeals knocked back for similar indiscretions in 2006 and 2008, respectively.
Shane Warne (Melbourne Stars)
Following Australia's humiliating defeat at the hands of South Africa in the third Test in Perth, Warne hinted in the media that he would contemplate a return to Test cricket if captain and good friend Michael Clarke asked him to, saying he had no doubt he'd still be able to contribute even at his current age of 43. He then talked himself up just prior to the Big Bash League opener against the Renegades, warning his opponents of a new delivery he was set to unveil on Friday night. "Maybe all the renegades boys are asleep & already scared of the "disco ball" !!! Any renegades awake ?", Warne posted on Twitter. The spin great has often walked the walk after talking the talk, but didn't on this occasion. He was left with figures of 0/41 from just two overs, and dropped a sitter of a catch in the Stars' loss.
Josh Brent (Dallas Cowboys)
Success and failure on the football field was put into perspective on Friday night when Dallas Cowboys practice squad member Jerry Brown was killed in a single-vehicle accident. He was a passenger in a car driven by Brent, his teammate, college buddy and Cowboys squad member. Police allege Brent's car flipped at high speed about 2.20am on Saturday morning. Brown, 25, was unable to be revived at the scene and was later pronounced dead at a local hospital. Brent, 24, was charged with drink-driving manslaughter. He started five games for the Cowboys this year but it appears unlikely he will ever take the field again.
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