Title chasing Fowler salutes Harmon and Mickelson

Written by admin on 07/30/2019 Categories: 佛山桑拿

The American, one of the poster boys of the PGA Tour with a penchant for flamboyant outfits, produced one of the best rounds of the week on Saturday as he fired a five-under-par 67 for a three-under tally of 213.

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Fowler wondered at the end of last year how he could boost his performances in the big four championships and decided to ask Harmon, the former coach of Tiger Woods and the current mentor of Phil Mickelson, to rebuild his swing.

“When I started working with Butch our main goal was to be here right now ready to contend and have a chance to win the Masters,” the 25-year-old told reporters after cramming six birdies into his third round at Augusta National.

“So far, so good. I haven’t had the greatest finishes in majors…and I need to kind of step up and start playing well on the weekends.

“I want to be in contention. I want to be up there to have chances to win and we put ourselves in a great position today so I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”

However, Fowler said it had not been all plain sailing under Harmon’s tutelage.

“It was really frustrating because I started working with Butch in December and I came out and missed some cuts and people were pointing fingers,” he explained.

“Tee to green I was hitting it as good as I ever have and I was missing putts on Thursdays and Fridays and when you do that you don’t stick around for the weekend, but then the putting turned around.”

Fowler, whose best finish in a major was a tie for fifth at the 2011 British Open, said he was given an added lift when he played alongside triple Masters champion Mickelson in a practice match against Jason Dufner and Dustin Johnson at Augusta on Tuesday.

“I think the person I’ve learned the most from here is Phil in terms of where he hits shots from and how he prepares. No one knows the course better than him,” Fowler added.

“It was unfortunate to see him not play well on the first two days,” said Fowler of Mickelson’s failure to make the cut.

“I was swinging well on Tuesday and it definitely freed me up and gave me some confidence going into the week.”

(Editing by Gene Cherry)

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Monaco win means PSG must wait

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Monaco’s 1-0 win at Rennes on Saturday means Paris Saint-Germain will have to wait a little longer before securing a second straight French football title.

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A Monaco defeat in Brittany would have left PSG in a position to secure the championship on Sunday with a win away to Lyon, where they won the title last year, but a solitary strike by Emmanuel Riviere early in the second half gave the principality club the points.

Monaco are now 10 points adrift of PSG with five matches remaining, although they are more interested in keeping Lille in third at arm’s length.

Lille won 1-0 at home to local rivals Valenciennes earlier thanks to a second-half Divock Origi goal, a result that put them eight points clear of fourth-placed Saint-Etienne, who go to Reims on Sunday.

Only the top two teams go straight into next season’s Champions League group stage, with the third-placed side having to go through two qualifying rounds to get there and fourth having to settle for the Europa League.

Monaco coach Claudio Ranieri dropped skipper Eric Abidal for the match at the Stade de la Route de Lorient, while goalkeeper Danijel Subasic missed a league game for the first time this season.

The Croatian was replaced in the starting line-up by Argentine international Sergio Romero, who kept a clean sheet on his Ligue 1 debut.

Only a great save by Benoit Costil at the other end prevented Layvin Kurzawa from giving Monaco the lead in the first half, but the game’s only goal arrived 10 minutes into the second half, Jeremy Toulalan setting up Riviere to score his 10th league goal of the campaign.

Monaco now turn their attentions to Wednesday’s French Cup semi-final against Guingamp, and they could end up meeting Rennes again in the final, with Philippe Montanier’s side facing Angers in the other semi.

In Lille, the only goal of the game came for the hosts 20 minutes from time when Salomon Kalou set up Belgian forward Origi, whose shot was deflected into the net off Valenciennes defender Carl Medjani.

After what was their ninth 1-0 win this season, Lille coach Rene Girard insisted catching big-spending Monaco is not in his thoughts.

“It is not our objective but if they slip up we will be there. The important thing is to worry about ourselves and to keep going,” said Girard, whose team have a difficult run of fixtures to finish the season, including a trip to Marseille and a home meeting with PSG.

“The end of the season will be tough, but it was good to win tonight to keep us in the running.”

Elsewhere, Ajaccio came from behind to draw 1-1 against Bordeaux, with Mehdi Mostefa’s late equaliser earning them a draw that postpones their inevitable relegation back to the second tier. However, they will be down if Guingamp claim a point at Nantes on Sunday.

Sochaux kept their survival hopes alive with a 2-0 win against Toulouse, but Evian stay well clear of the drop zone after a 2-1 win against Bastia, while Vincent Aboubakar scored in injury time to give Lorient a 2-1 win at Nice.

Dimitri Payet’s late goal handed Marseille a 3-2 win at Montpellier on Friday night under the watchful eye of Marcelo Bielsa, the former Argentina coach who is being tipped to take over from interim coach Jose Anigo at the Stade Velodrome.

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MGP world champ Marquez takes pole in US

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World champion Marc Marquez has set a new lap record on his way to securing pole position for the second race in succession at the Grand Prix of the Americas.

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The Spaniard, who took pole in the season-opener in Qatar and then went on to win the race under the desert floodlights, clocked a record 2min 02.886sec on the factory Honda at the circuit where he celebrated his maiden MotoGP win last season.

Marquez’s Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa was second-fastest while Stefan Bradl ensured a Honda lockout of the front row. German rider Bradl was 0.423sec off the top.

“I’m very happy with the pole position,” Marquez said. “All weekend it has been going so well, but Sunday is the most important. We will have to push very hard the whole race.

“It will be an important start to the race when the tyres are new, we can make a difference there before they start to slide.

“I’m happy with the base we have and we’ll try to fight for the victory. I’m sure we’ll be fighting with Pedrosa, he is our strongest rival.”

For Marquez, who broke his leg in February in a dirt-bike accident in his native Spain, it was an 11th premier class pole position and it was achieved with a 0.289sec advantage over Pedrosa.

“We made an improvement with the setting today and I am happy with how I’m riding,” Pedrosa said. “I’m looking forward to improving a little more.

“We’re focused on getting a good start and having a good race. I came second last year so I will look to take one step further tomorrow.”

It will be an all-Yamaha second row for Sunday’s race, with Aleix Espargaro edging the star factory pair of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi.

Heading the third row is Ducati’s Cal Crutchlow in front of Bradley Smith and Italian Andrea Iannone. Smith and Iannone were both also just over a second behind Marquez.

Row four consists of Italy’s Andrea Dovizioso, Pol Espargaro and Alvaro Baustista.

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Lethargic Barca slump to shock defeat at Granada

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After Atletico Madrid dumped them out of Europe’s elite club competition on Wednesday, Barca sought a morale-boosting domestic win that would have put them two points clear at the top ahead of Atletico, who play at Getafe on Sunday.

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However, the Spanish champions again looked lethargic and short on ideas against a club with a fraction of their resources and surrendered second place to arch rivals Real Madrid, who thumped struggling Almeria 4-0 at the Bernabeu to draw level on 79 points with Atletico.

Atletico can stretch their advantage at the top to three points with a win at Getafe. They play at Barca in their final match of the season and will already be assured of their first Spanish league title since 1996, when current coach Diego Simeone was in the side, if they win their next five matches.

“The league is not in our own hands anymore,” Barca coach Gerardo Martino told a news conference.

“There is no reason to criticise the team, they gave it everything they had,” added the Argentine, who is in his first season in charge at the Nou Camp and now needs to lift his players for Wednesday’s King’s Cup final against Real.

“The ball did not want to go in and that’s that. We just weren’t up to scratch in taking our chances.”

Barca fell behind at Granada’s Nuevo Los Carmenes stadium when Alex Song lost possession in midfield in the 16th minute and Yacine Brahimi raced clear and fired past goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto.

They dominated the rest of the match but Granada, who are fighting to avoid relegation, held firm against waves of attacks and the Catalan giants’ second consecutive defeat will do little to dispel the impression of a club in crisis.

STUBBORN DEFENCE

They had almost 90 percent possession but not even four-times World Player of the Year Lionel Messi, who turned in another subdued performance, or Brazil forward Neymar could unlock a stubborn home defence.

Neymar had several clear chances, while Messi drew a fine save from Granada goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis with a free kick just after the hour.

Sergio Busquets almost scored when the ball fell to him at the resulting corner but his close-range effort was straight at the keeper.

“This is a step backwards,” Barca playmaker Andres Iniesta, who was captaining the side in place of the rested Xavi, said in an interview with Spanish television broadcaster Canal Plus.

“Sometimes it’s hard to find an explanation when you lose but we just couldn’t get the goal,” added the Spain international.

“Teams like Granada who are playing for their La Liga survival live and die on chances like the one they scored but that was too much punishment for us.

“We tried everything we could to score. It hurts having taken this step backwards with so few matches left.”

Angel Di Maria fired Real ahead in the 28th minute against strugglers Almeria when he cut into the penalty area from the right and curled a shot into the far corner.

Gareth Bale made it 2-0 eight minutes into the second half with a low strike that ricocheted into the net off Almeria keeper Esteban and Isco added a third three minutes later when he clipped a low shot into the corner.

Substitute Alvaro Morata ran onto Asier Illarramendi’s scooped pass to complete the rout five minutes from time.

RIGHT PATH

“We are just focusing on ourselves as always, we knew that the league would have its ups and downs,” Di Maria told Canal Plus.

“Wednesday’s game is a Cup final and they (Barca) will no doubt be back to their best,” he added.

“We just have to keep working in the knowledge that we are on the right path and we have to keep it going.”

Earlier, Jeremy Perbet headed a last-gasp goal for Villarreal to secure a 1-0 victory at home to regional rivals Levante that lifted them above Real Sociedad into sixth.

Sociedad twice surrendered the lead at Celta Vigo, who had defender Jon Aurtenetxe sent off two minutes after halftime, in a 2-2 draw at the Balaidos stadium.

Villarreal have 52 points, one ahead of Sociedad and one behind fifth-placed Sevilla, who visit city rivals Real Betis on Sunday.

Granada’s win lifted them six points clear of the relegation places into 13th on 37 points, while Almeria are 19th with 30 points.

(Editing by Ken Ferris/Rex Gowar)

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Westwood and Rose scrap way into Masters title mix

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The 40-year-old Westwood, one of the finest players never to have won a major championship, followed opening efforts of 73 and 71 by shooting a 70 to tuck in three strokes behind joint leaders Bubba Watson and Jordan Spieth on 214, two under.

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The Englishman would have fared even better but for a stroke of misfortune on the 15th green when a curling 50-foot eagle putt touched the cup but somehow stayed out.

“I don’t know how that missed and I’ll probably watch that again and again,” Westwood told reporters after another roasting hot day at Augusta National.

“It was one of those things. I won’t tell you what I said. I can’t…for the lip readers watching.

“I feel like I know how to get around here even if I’m maybe not on my game and I’ve hit the ball well this week.”

Asked if his 70 had thrown him right into the title mix, Westwood replied: “Oh, very much so, yeah, yeah.

“Anywhere within five, even six shots of the lead going into the final round of the Masters is giving you a good chance especially with the way the golf course is playing out here.”

The former world number one said the greens were getting faster and firmer and the key to victory was to stay patient on the putting surfaces.

KNIFE EDGE

“The greens are kind of on a knife edge,” he explained. “I thought I hit a great shot into the last and basically had to grind to make a par four.”

Westwood, who has slipped to 37th in the world rankings, saw playing partner Brandt Snedeker slump to an eight-over 80 on Saturday.

“I watched arguably the best putter in the world today five- putt the fourth hole,” said the Englishman. “That’s the kind of thing we’re dealing with out here.”

Westwood’s compatriot Rose endured an up and down start to his third-round 69.

“I four-putted the second … and then the third hole was obviously a bonus,” said the U.S. Open champion after finishing on 215.

“I hit a driver off the tee and wedged it up. It’s a blind shot but I could tell by the crowd that it went in.”

Rose also made good strides up the leaderboard on the par-fives, eagling the 13th and birdying the 15th.

“On 13 I hit a great drive that drew around the corner,” he said. “I then hit an awesome four-iron at the pin and made a 25-footer.

“Being four back going into tomorrow is the biggest result that I could have looked for going into today,” said the 33-year-old Rose.

(Editing by Gene Cherry)

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Senden in round of his life at Augusta

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John Senden knows he needs the round of his life at Augusta National if he is to win a green jacket, but he’s ready to chase it.

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The 42-year-old is embracing Masters Sunday after his third-round 75 left him four shots off the lead in a tie for 10th.

Playing in the final group of a major for the first time, Senden struggled early, but put a bandage on the haemorrhaging and kept his dream of a major championship win alive.

He will need to reel in the likes of leaders Bubba Watson and Jordan Spieth plus long-time major bridesmaids Matt Kuchar and Lee Westwood among others.

But he remains confident this is a golden opportunity to improve on his previous best finish in majors, a tie for fourth at the 2007 PGA Championship.

“I still believe that I’ve got a chance tomorrow,” Senden said with assurance.

“Today was sort of a long day. You have a long time before you tee off but the thing is, this is why we practice, to get a late tee time in a major.

“I think that I have to learn from this experience today and take it for tomorrow.

“I’ll still be teeing off late tomorrow but it’s going to be a different feel again because Sunday is always the toughest day.

“I have to get out there and play my game as well as I can and hopefully I can play the round of my life.”

When asked what the round of his life would entail, Senden, the normally reserved Queenslander, cracked a smile as he allowed himself to dream.

“I can’t tell you the exact score of my round, but it would be putting on the green jacket,” he beamed.

“And four back, you’re in contention. I’ve got to take it because you are in the heat. And Sunday at the Masters is always interesting on the back nine. Anything can happen.

“The golf course is playing difficult, but I think you can really get the back nine in some certain spots.

“Look at the way 13 and 15 played today. If you drive the ball well on the back, you’ve got a good opportunity to shoot good scores.”

Senden is paired with big-hitting American Gary Woodland in the seventh-last group, just a couple of groups behind Adam Scott and Jason Day, who play together but are six and seven off the pace respectively.

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Experienced Phoenix duo moving on

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Leo Bertos and Stein Huysegems are leaving Wellington Phoenix, as the A-League club begins planning for next year.

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Wellington ended their season by being comprehensively beaten 4-1 by Melbourne Victory at Westpac Stadium on Saturday, finishing ninth on the league ladder in a see-saw season hit hard by injuries and suspensions.

Bertos, 32, joined the club in 2008 and has played 127 times but has had an injury-interrupted season this year.

Huysegems, a former Belgian international, has been with the club for the past two seasons and was its leading scorer this season with 10 goals.

Coach Ernie Merrick paid tribute to the pair, saying both had made important contributions to the club.

“Leo is a Wellington, Phoenix and New Zealand footballing legend,” Merrick said.

The year had been a tough one for him as he struggled with injury even before the season began.

“It meant he never got to the levels of fitness he is used to as he has always been an extremely fit player.

“It is a great regret that he is leaving, but if he continues playing I know he will do well because one of the most important parts of his make-up is that he never gives you less than 100 per cent.”

Merrick described 31-year-old Huysegems as the ultimate professional.

“Despite his experience he is always willing to learn, and he worked hard to fit into the style of football we wanted to play.

“It’s sad to see him go but that is the nature of football. He has been a pleasure to work with and I’m sure he will continue to score goals wherever he goes, just hopefully not against us…”

It is unclear at this stage where, if anywhere, Bartos and Huysegems will be going.

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Roma within five points of Juve

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Roma kept the suspense bubbling in Italian football on Saturday as they breezed to a 3-1 win over Atalanta and to within just five points of leaders Juventus.

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First half goals from versatile Brazilian Rodrigo Taddei and Serbia’s Adem Ljajic put Rudi Garcia’s side in charge at the Olympic Stadium before former Arsenal striker Gervinho sealed the victory with 27 minutes left.

The Ivory Coast international picked up his eighth league goal of the season before Giulio Migliaccio pulled back a consolation goal for the away side with 12 minutes left.

Roma also strengthened their grip on second place and the final automatic Champions League spot by extending their lead over Napoli to 15 points.

One more victory for Frenchman Garcia’s high flying side will guarantee them a place in the continent’s showpiece tournament next season as they hold a better head-to-head record against Napoli in the unlikely case of the teams finishing level.

Juventus can restore their eight-point lead over Roma on Monday when they travel to lower table Udinese.

In the only other game on Saturday, second-from-bottom Sassuolo blew a chance to pick up a much needed victory as they were pegged back 1-1 by Cagliari.

Simone Zaza put them in a winning position with the opening goal nine minutes before half-time before the home side conceded a penalty shortly after the break.

Macedonian international Agim Ibraimi made no mistake from the spot just two minutes after the restart as the visitors earned a point to keep them seven points above the relegation zone.

On Sunday, Napoli can edge closer towards a qualifying place for next season’s Champions League as Rafa Benitez’s side host Lazio.

Their closest rivals Fiorentina are nine points back in fourth and on the road at Verona.

Inter Milan and Parma are tied for fifth and the final Europa League spot as they travel to Sampdoria and Bologna respectively.

In a key game at the bottom, Livorno go into their home tie against Chievo, knowing a win will lift them out of the relegation zone at the expense of their guests.

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Watson believes Spieth won’t wilt

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Bubba Watson insists that despite his young age, Jordan Spieth will not be overawed when the two of them tee off together in the anchor pairing of Sunday’s final round of the Masters.

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The two ended Saturday’s third round tied for the lead at five-under 211, but that is where the similarities end.

Watson is a 35-year-old who has been 14 years on the PGA Tour and won the Masters, his first major, at Augusta National two years ago. He has now played in six Masters tournaments.

Spieth is a 20-year-old who turned pro just two years ago and who is playing in the Masters for the first time.

Makes no difference, Watson believes.

“He’s young, nerves are no big deal to him,” he said.

“I’ve won one, so I’ve got that going for me, you know, but if I play bad tomorrow, I still have a green jacket, so that’s the positive I have to go for.

“We’re all trying to win the same trophy. We are all trying to do the same thing. We are all going to be nervous and we all know what it means to our career, for our status to move forward in the game.

“So it’s going to be tough for everybody, not just guys that have never won one.”

Watson looked the more nervous of the two on Saturday as he battled with his putting, which had been a strength of his previously on the treacherous greens of Augusta National.

Spieth, who would be the youngest winner of the Masters and the first rookie to do so since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979 should he triumph on Sunday, in contrast looked a model of consistency as he added a 70 to go with his first two rounds of 71 and 70.

Watson, however, said he knows what he has to do to get his mindset right for Sunday’s showdown – get as much sleep as he can.

“First of all, I love sleeping, and so I went to bed last night at 11 o’clock. My alarm went off at 10:05, so I was fine.

“Then I just played with my son a little bit, my wife cooked some breakfast. Played with my son in the backyard and then I just came to the course.

“I mean, I just stayed in the bed, tried to save as much energy as I can, try to stay in bed and sleep as much as possible because I know it’s going to be draining.

“So that was the key, just staying in bed, and I can do that pretty easily. I’m good at sleeping.”

Two years ago, Watson was in fourth place when he started the final round, but got himself into a playoff with Louis Oosthuizen, which he won at the second extra hole with a memorable recovery shout out from out of the bushes at the 10th.

That led to emotional celebrations and eventually to a year in the golfing wilderness as he struggled to assimilate the extent of his achievement.

All that has changed though as Watson has gone back to basics and back to just enjoying what he is doing as he used to do.

“It’s all about not focusing on the bad stuff,” he said. “It’s about how lucky I am to be able to play golf for a living and just keep going from there.”

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Spieth ready for Masters pressure

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Jordan Spieth, a 20-year-old prodigy who could become the youngest Masters champion, is confident he can handle the last-pairing pressure during Sunday’s intense back-nine drama at Augusta National.

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Spieth, making his Masters debut, fired a third-round 70 on Saturday to finish 54 holes deadlocked atop the leaderboard with fellow American Bubba Watson at five-under par 211, putting him in the final duo on one of golf’s grandest stages with a major title at stake.

“Deep down, not very (nervous),” Spieth said. “I’m very pleased with the way I putted. That’s where I thought I might need time to get used to the greens, but I feel comfortable with the putter in my hands. Being in this position is very pleasing. I feel comfortable.”

Spieth is the first Masters rookie in Sunday’s final duo since 1995 and only the third since 1937.

“I’ve never had a round where I’ve been nervous on every single swing, shot, and putt. I’m sure that will happen tomorrow, but hopefully I can channel it positively and stay grounded, stay cool, and see what happens.”

“It’s a dream come true just to see what it’s like. I’m in a great position, a position I haven’t been in before but I’m excited about it. This is a place I’ve always dreamed about. It’s kind of Heaven on Earth for me.”

In what could be one of the epic triumphs in golf history, Spieth can become the youngest major winner since Tom Creavy took the 1931 PGA Championship at 20 years, seven months and 16 days – one month younger than Spieth.

Spieth also could become the first Masters rookie to take the green jacket since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979.

And he could replace Tiger Woods, the world No.1 absent after surgery to ease a pinched nerve, as the youngest Masters champion, Woods having been seven months older than Spieth when he captured the 1997 Masters for his first major crown.

“I try not to think about that. That would be a dream come true,” he said. “I think golf’s greatest (honour) is wearing a green jacket.

“That would be a very phenomenal thing. If tomorrow can go my way I will never forget any of the shots.”

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Maoists kill 14 in India poll violence

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Maoist rebels have killed 14 people in two poll-related blasts in an insurgency-hit region of central India, police say, highlighting the major security challenges faced in staging the nation’s marathon general elections.

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The violence, the deadliest since the elections began last Monday, came as Indians cast ballots in the southern resort state of Goa and in the far-flung northeast in another round of the multi-phase elections that wind up May 12 with results four days later.

Most of those killed on Saturday were charged with ensuring election voter safety or other polling-related tasks.

Seven polling officials died when Maoists blew up their bus in the state of Chhattisgarh, senior police officer Gurjinder Pal Singh said on Saturday. Five others were injured.

“The Maoists triggered the landmine blasts,” said Singh, a key official in ensuring election safety in the state.

Five security men who were carrying out an election safety sweep and who hitched a ride in an ambulance were killed in another landmine blast.

The ambulance driver and a paramedic were also killed in that blast, which created a huge crater. Four men were injured two “very seriously”, Singh said.

The Maoists have called for a boycott of the elections.

There was no voting in Chhattisgarh on Saturday – polling began there on April 10 with two more rounds scheduled in the state on April 17 and April 24.

The Maoists sometimes target ambulances, as security officials are reported to use such vehicles to attract less attention.

But in this case, Singh said the security men had taken a lift in the ambulance as it was travelling without a patient.

The blasts, less than an hour apart, came days after Maoist rebels killed three soldiers guarding polling officials in Chhattisgarh in a gunbattle.

The deaths underscored security difficulties facing election organisers in India. Separatist and Maoist insurgencies occupy large swathes of India’s northeast, northwest and central regions.

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