Day and Palmer share halfway lead at Deutsche Bank

They finished level at eight-under 134, one stroke ahead of Americans Matt Kuchar (66) and Billy Horschel (66) on a tightly-bunched leaderboard.

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World number one Rory McIlroy, slowed by a double-bogey at the par-four 14th where his approach shot bounded 30 yards over the green into a hazard, fired a 69 to trail the leaders by five shots.

Day, the world number seven whose quest this year to win a first major title was ruined by a thumb injury, maintained the red-hot form he displayed last week to tie for second in the first of the PGA Tour’s four FedExCup playoff events.

“To be in contention last week and (again) this week goes to show the hard work I’ve put in the last four or five weeks is definitely paying off,” Day told reporters.

Day’s round was a tale of two halves. He was five under on the front nine but two over coming home as the swirling wind made it difficult to judge club selection.

The Australian had visions of a birdie at the par-five 18th when he had an iron in his hands for his second shot, only to drop a stroke after firing his approach over the green and taking four more shots to hole out.

“I made the front nine look very easy today (and) made the back nine look very hard, but overall I’m very happy with how I’ve played the last couple of days,” Day said.

Palmer, meanwhile, says his goal over the final two rounds was to play well enough to “make it hard on Tom Watson”.

He was referring to U.S. Ryder Cup captain Watson, who on Tuesday will announce his three wildcard selections to complete the 12-man team to take on holders Europe at Gleneagles in Scotland next month.

“I’m proud of the way I hung in today. I had to grind it out,” said Palmer. “It could have got away pretty fast (but I) stayed patient, stayed calm and salvaged even par.”

Eighty players made the cut, which fell at three-over 145, and several Americans with hopes of earning a late Ryder Cup spot bowed out early, including Brendon Todd, Kevin Na and 2012 FedExCup champion Brandt Snedeker.

The top 70 players on the FedExCup points list after the Deutsche Bank Championship advance to next week’s BMW Championship in Englewood, Colorado where the leading 30 will qualify for the Sep. 11-14 Tour Championship finale in Atlanta.

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles and Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina.; Editing by Gene Cherry/Mark Lamport-Stokes)

Sharks to expect no mercy from NQ

For what it is worth, North Queensland co-captain Matt Scott looks forward to a tough grind against Cronulla in Townsville on Monday night.

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But fellow Cowboys prop Ashton Sims confirmed long-suffering Sharks fans’ worst fears when he admitted North Queensland would be out to show no mercy to the embattled NRL club.

Everything points to a rout on Monday night with the in-form Cowboys (7th; 12-10 record) needing a big win over dead-last Cronulla to not only seal a top-eight berth but a possible home final.

The Sharks are without 17 regular first graders due to ASADA bans, sackings, retirements and injuries and have been given a record 30.5 points start by one betting agency.

Scott said a repeat of the 64-6 thumping of Wests Tigers earlier this month would boost their percentage and maybe book a home final by finishing as high as either fifth or sixth.

However, the Test prop said the team would benefit most from an arm wrestle ahead of the finals.

“I think a grind is good for us as a team,” he said.

“The Wests Tigers game got us in unfamiliar territory and I think it can get you playing footy that we shouldn’t be playing coming into the end of the year.

“We are preparing for a grind. I hope it is – it is the type of footy we have to play.”

But Sims – who has again kept Test prop James Tamou out of the Cowboys starting side – admitted North Queensland hoped to be at their ruthless best.

“It’s that time of year where you want to finalise your game and sharpen the knife,” he said.

“I know they have had a lot of off field problems but we have a lot to play for.

“We are not going to try and feel our way into the game – we are going to come in all guns blazing.”

Still buzzing from their last round 22-10 away win over high flyers South Sydney, Sims hoped they would produce more of the same on Monday night.

“The blueprint was last week. That’s how we should be playing week in, week out,” he said.

“But as good as that win was we are not getting too ahead of ourselves.

“We are not assured a finals spot at all – that is the fire that is burning in us, especially for this week.

“We are prepared for the Sharkies to come up here, play well and bring a tough mentality.

“They have nothing to lose. They will come up and give us a good honest test.”

Scott agreed.

“We have to prepare like we are playing a top four side,” he said.

Roos ready for finals redemption: Scott

The first time is never the best, something Brad Scott feels his AFL side is well placed to show against Essendon.

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North Melbourne face the Bombers on Saturday in a sudden-death clash at the MCG, having finished the regular season with four solid wins.

Long-term injury concerns over the likes of Daniel Wells and Jamie Macmillan have been conquered, while their depth and capacity to rest key players in round 23 will provide Scott with some selection headaches.

Scott agreed the club was in a much better position compared to 2012, the only other year that North reached the finals in his five-year tenure.

Most of his charges’ finals experience starts and ends with that 96-point loss to West Coast.

“We’ll play a side full of really fit and fresh players who are more resilient, more hardened (than in 2012) and ready for what’s coming,” Scott said.

“We’re primed and ready to go.”

Lachie Hansen will have his persistent hip injury assessed this week, with Scott saying the key defender is in doubt for the elimination final.

Leigh Adams will also be under medical staff’s watch after being knocked out against Melbourne on Saturday night,

Michael Firrito, Lindsay Thomas, Levi Greenwood, Todd Goldstein and Luke McDonald were all rested from the 30-point win over the Demons.

All five players would seemingly command a spot in the side.

“We’re in better shape than we’ve been all year and we’ve been working towards that over the last month,” he said.

“The guys that we left out will be cherry ripe and the guys who came in, some of them are going to give us real selection headaches.”

Debutant forward Mason Wood impressed against Melbourne, as did recalled defender Macmillan.

“It sounds brutal, but I suspect that will be relatively easy,” Scott said of the selection committee’s task to pick their best 22.

“It should stand out pretty clearly, once we go through it.

“That’s not to say there aren’t gong to be some unlucky players.”

Smith takes blame for Storm defeat

A shattered Cameron Smith has claimed responsibility for costing his Melbourne side a vital win over the Sydney Roosters on Saturday night and potentially a place in the NRL finals.

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The Storm were in control of the game for more than an hour at Allianz Stadium and looked well placed to score an impressive victory over the defending premiers.

But with 15 minutes of the game remaining, and his side leading 12-8, the Queensland and Test skipper uncharacteristically threw a poor pass that eluded Sisa Waqa and Mitchell Pearce picked up the loose ball to score under the posts.

It proved to be the turning point as the Roosters ran in two more late four-pointers to complete an unlikely 24-12 win.

The defeat means the Storm now have to beat Brisbane at AAMI Park next Friday to guarantee their place in the finals.

Anthony Griffin’s Broncos face a similar scenario with a win ensuring they’ll finish in the top-eight in what’s shaping up as an enthralling final round of the regular season.

“We made errors at crucial times and I made one of them,” Smith said.

“It handed a try on a plate to the Roosters and you can’t do that to good teams. You give them an inch and they’ll take a mile off you.

“It’s a big game for us next week. The Broncos are playing for their season and the way we played tonight we might be as well.

“If results don’t go our way we might not even be in the finals.”

The Storm were impressive for long spells with Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater both showing their class as the Roosters fought hard to stay in the game with some desperate defending.

But coach Craig Bellamy said the team had been taught a valuable lesson from the defeat and had to learn from it fast or risk missing out on the finals for the first time since since 2010 – the year they were punished for serious salary-cap breaches.

“There was a lot of real positives, but we are disappointed,” Bellamy said.

“We need to pick ourselves up get on with preparation for next week.

“In the final minutes we made more mistakes than we did in the whole game.

“I think if we get in their (the top eight) we’ll fight hard.

“But there are a lot of good signs there and hopefully we can get there and perform well.”

Sunbeds increase skin cancer risk: study

Using sunbeds can significantly increase the risk of a potentially serious skin cancer that is more common than melanoma, a study suggests.

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Researchers said warnings about sunbeds often focus on melanoma, the least common type of skin cancer, which is linked to sunburn.

However, scientists at the University of Dundee and Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands have issued a warning about squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) – the second most common type of skin cancer.

They said it is caused by longer-term, cumulative ultraviolet exposure such as through repeated tanning, rather than isolated incidents of burning.

The team looked at UV intensity levels recorded in a previous study, the average length of sunbed sessions, the number of sessions each year, as well as a person’s cumulative UV exposure from the sun, and then applied an equation that links UV exposure and SCC incidence, to predict risk to people who use sunbeds.

The researchers found that by the age of 55, people who regularly used a sunbed were 90 per cent more likely to develop SCC than those who did not.

Sunbed use was defined as having a 12-minute session about every eight days or a six minute session every four days, over a 15-year period from age 20 to 35, using a sunbed with a median UV dose.

For high dose sunbeds the risk is increased by 180 per cent and even the sunbeds giving the lowest dose found in the 2013 study were linked to a 40 increased risk.

“There is considerable variation in the output of artificial tanning units which people should be aware of,” Professor Harry Moseley of the University of Dundee, one of the study’s authors, said.

“The results of our study indicate that the additional UV dose from sunbed use compared to normal day-to-day sun exposure potentially adds a significantly increased risk for development of SCC.”

Nina Goad of the British Association of Dermatologists said: “While other types of skin cancer, such as melanoma, are linked to sunburn, SCC is caused by more chronic, long-term, cumulative sun exposure.

“One defence of the sunbed industry is that sunbeds do not increase your risk of skin cancer if you do not burn. However this study weakens this argument. It is something that people should be warned about, so they are fully informed of the risks when making choices about sunbed use.”

The team are presenting their findings this week at the World Congress on Cancers of the Skin in Edinburgh.