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Hovland beats Bland in playoff to win Dubai Desert Classic

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Viktor Hovland beat Richard Bland in a playoff to capture the Dubai Desert Classic on Sunday after Rory McIlroy missed a chance to win the title in regulation by bogeying the last hole.

Hovland claimed his third victory in five events by making birdie from inside 3 feet at the first playoff hole — the 18th — at Emirates Golf Club. Bland had just missed a birdie putt from longer out.

Both players finished on 12-under par. Hovland shot 6-under 66 after finishing birdie-eagle-birdie, while Bland birdied the last for a 68.

McIlroy was tied for the lead with Hovland and Bland heading down the 18th hole, only to send his approach shot from 267 yards into the water in front of the green. His par putt, which would have sent him into the playoff, brushed . . .

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US Open Round 2: Bland, Henley surprise leaders at Torrey

Raise your hand if you had a guy named Bland sharing the 36-hole lead on your U.S. Open bingo card. Now put it down. Even he didn’t.

The 48-year-old Englishman — first name, Richard — won the first tournament of a not-so-distinguished European Tour career at the British Masters just last month to snap on 0-for-447 streak and earn an . . .

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The Latest: Henley, Bland lead, Mickelson advances

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Latest on the U.S. Open (all times local): 6:45 p.m.

Russell Henley and England’s Richard Bland share the lead going into the weekend at the U.S. Open. Both are at 5-under through two rounds, one shot ahead of Louis Oosthuizen and Matthew Wolff.

Bubba Watson and Jon Rahm are another shot back at 3-under 139. Phil Mickelson finished off a steady round with a birdie on 18 for a 2-under 69 to advance to the weekend of the one . . .

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Column: Golf’s ultimate grinder doesn’t give up easily

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Richard Bland spent 25 years lugging his golf clubs across Europe, chasing a dream that improbably came true last month at the age of 48.

Whether he can stand up to the pressure of the weekend at the U.S. Open is anyone’s guess. But there’s one thing for sure: Golf’s ultimate grinder doesn’t give up easily.

Not after playing 477 European Tour events before getting a win. Not after getting into — and then getting himself into . . .

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