1st Down: The Open is officially underway, and Thursday was dominated by Open rookie Cameron Young as he played a spectacular round of golf as St. Andrews to take a two-shot lead into Friday’s second round. Young, a 25 year-old, has never won at the top level of professional golf, but he shot an -8 64 to take the lead at the Old Course in Scotland. The man following him up? None other than Rory McIlroy, who has been playing some of the finest golf of his career of late as his name has been in the media quite often. There is still plenty of time and the weather could turn at any moment, but these two have started extremely well.
2nd Down: The Phoenix Suns are not too eager to let center Deandre Ayton go. And they proved that on Thursday as they matched the four-year offer that the Indiana Pacers had extended to the big man. The deal is said to be worth $133 million over those four seasons, meaning that this matching of the ‘offer sheet’ represents the biggest such of all-time. Ayton was technically a free agent, but a restricted one, and the Suns didn’t even consider shipping out the 2018 #1 Draft pick when news of his potential move to the Pacers emerged. They now can’t trade him until at least January 15th and they can only trade him in the next year with his permission. Ayton averaged a double-double in 2021-22, scoring 17.2 points and grabbing just over 10 rebounds per game.
3rd Down: The United States women’s soccer team will be in the CONCACAF W Championship on Monday night. And they will be facing off for an Olympic spot against an all too familiar foe in the form of Canada. The Canadians, of course, were the team that defeated the Americans a year ago in Tokyo in the semi-finals before going on to win the Gold in the Final. Both teams won their semis on Thursday night, with the US beating Costa Rica 3-0 and Canada matching that score line over Jamaica. Emily Sonnett and Mallory Pugh scored in the first half for the Americans and Ashley Sanchez put the icing on the cake in the 95th minute. As for the Canadians, Jessie Fleming gave them a first-half lead and two further goals came in the second half from Allysha Chapman and Adriana Leon to set up a huge rematch.
4th Down: The bracket for the 2022 MLB Home Run Derby has been announced as of Thursday, and the star-studded field will include a first-round showdown between NL East rivals as defending champ Pete Alonso, the #2 seed, will take on #7 seed Ronald Acuna, Jr. NL home run leader Kyle Schwarber is the top seed, and he will face #8 Albert Pujols while Corey Seagar (#3) will face #6 seed Julio Rodriguez. The other match up, the 4/5 match will see Jose Ramirez go toe-to-toe with Juan Soto.