JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- Home town players Thomas Aiken and Justin Walters moved into a tie for the lead at 17 under at the Joburg Open on Saturday as overnight pace-setters Edoardo Molinari and David Horsey lost ground. Brook Lopez Jersey
. Aiken carded a 9-under 63 on the East Course at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington, while Walters shot an 8-under 64 to open a two-shot lead on the chasers. The Johannesburg-born pair were clear of South Koreas Jin Jeong (66) on 15 under heading to the final round of the European Tour event. Finlands Roope Kakko is 14 under and another stroke back. Aiken had five birdies on the front nine and five on the back, while Walters opened with five birdies on the front and finished with an eagle to draw level with Aiken after putting his second to within two feet on No. 18 and tapping in. Walters has never won on the European Tour. "Ive got one more round tomorrow and Im so happy that Ive put myself into a strong position," Walters said. "Im super excited for tomorrow because its what we play for." South Africans have won five of the seven previous Joburg Opens. Molinari and Horsey appeared to be the strongest challengers to that strong home record after leading on Friday, but both slipped up as the action moved to the longer, tougher East Course at Royal Joburg for the last two rounds. Italian Molinari struggled to a level-par 72 to slip six shots behind the leaders and Horsey, following a blistering 63 on Friday, finished with 10 straight pars to be five shots behind on 12 under. Aiken, a two-time winner on the tour, was impressive after dropping his only shot of the day on No. 2. His good friend Walters also had just one drop, on No. 16, before finishing with a flourish with his three on the par-5 last hole. Jeong also collected an eagle on the way to his 6-under 66 and Kakko eagled No. 18 to claw back the two shots he lost with a double bogey on No. 4. Scotlands Alastair Forsyth and South Africas George Coetzee were 13 under and tied for fifth. Players are also chasing three places at the British Open in July after the Joburg Open was announced as a qualifying event for Julys championship at Royal Liverpool. The three highest-placed finishers in the top 10 not already qualified will win a place at the Open. Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel continued a mediocre tournament with a 72 on Saturday to go with his 69 and 70 for a tie for 65th on 4 under. Bojan Bogdanovic Jersey
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. - Brent Burns kept waiting to see a replay of his shot that struck Martin Brodeur in the back of the neck and left the New Jersey Devils goalie flat on his back on the ice.RENTON, Wash. - The run of stout defence started with slowing down Arizona, followed by the handcuffing of San Francisco on Thanksgiving night.But the best defensive performance of Pete Carrolls tenure came Sunday when Seattle ground Philadelphias high-speed act to a halt that kept the Seahawks in the thick of the NFC West race.Shutting down Philadelphia and holding the Eagles to 139 total yards was the cap to a three-week run of defence by Seattle the NFL has not seen since 2011.Its returned Seattle to the top of the NFL in total defence and has the Seahawks statically almost equal with last seasons Super Bowl winning unit.The Seahawks are giving up 274.5 yards per game this season. They allowed 273.6 per game last season.The fact Bobby (Wagner) has returned has been significant and also I think Kam (Chancellor) really rounding into full health is helping us too. Hes feeling great and playing like crazy, Carroll said on Monday. I think the camaraderie of those guys being back in there and feeling right has been resounding, you can really feel it.Seattle has allowed 507 total yards in the past three games. According to STATS, Inc., its the fourth-fewest yards allowed over a three-game span by any NFL team since 2006. The Seahawks held Arizona to 204 total yards, the 49ers to 164 and the Eagles to 139.What makes Seattles accomplishment more impressive is the quality of competition faced compared to the three teams that posted better total numbers.The New York Giants gave up 422 yards over three games in 2009, but did it against teams with a winning percentage of .111. The 2011 Houston Texans allowed 494 yards to opponents with a .421 winning percentage and the 2009 New York Jets gave up 497 yards against opponents with a .273.Seattle? They beat the Cardinals when they were 9-1, knocked off the 49ers at 7-4 and handled the 9-3 Eagles. The combined winning percentage of the three: .758.The Seahawks have a chance this week hosting San Francisco to be the first team since the 2011 Texans to have three straightt games holding opponents to under 200 total yards. Brooklyn Nets Jersey
. eve tackled really well, really well for some time now. In the last couple years that has been a real sign of our performance and stuff, but it has been really consistent and noticeable, Carroll said. I think thats all part of the intensity and the pursuit thing — it really pays off. You dont notice a guy miss one when the other guys hits.While the return of Wagner and Chancellor has been crucial, the Seahawks are also playing their top players more snaps. Seattle cut down on its defensive rotations beginning with the Arizona win.Defensive end Michael Bennett played 98 per cent of the defensive snaps against Arizona, 81 per cent against San Francisco and 93 per cent against the Eagles. Bruce Irvin played every snap against both Arizona and San Francisco before playing 30 of 46 against the Eagles.Cliff Avril and second-year defensive tackle Jordan Hill have both seen their snap counts increase, while Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith hasnt seen the field on defence in the past three games.Seattle has found the rotations that work and are not about to tinker with the roll the Seahawks are on.Even when people said we were playing bad, we were still ranked as the third-best defence and we stopped some of the best offences, Bennett said. We are getting guys back and hitting our stride. We are playing good football and we are winning and thats all that matters.NOTES: C Max Unger (ankle/knee) and TE Cooper Helfet (ankle) are both going to try and practice this week, Carroll said. Helfet has missed two games while Unger has been out the past three. Carroll said Helfet is ahead of Unger in his recovery. ... CB Tharold Simon suffered a dislocated finger against the Eagles, but Carroll said hes fine. ... Reserve DE Demarcus Dobbs suffered a legit ankle injury. Carroll had no prognosis on how long Dobbs might be out. Seattle could use FB Will Tukuafu on the defensive line if needed.___AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
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