Schwartzel wins the Joburg
Charl Schwartzel, the highest ranked player in the field, won the Joburg Open by four strokes on Sunday to defend the title he captured by a record six-shot margin last year. Schwartzel shot a four-under-par 67 to finish on 19-under 265 and hold off fellow South African Garth Mulroy (71) with compatriot Thomas Aiken (72) a further shot behind. Schwartzel is the first man to win back-to-back titles in the Joburg Open. Despite being better off the tee, neither Mulroy nor Aiken could make any headway as their putters remained cold. The three men had begun the day in a tie for the lead. Schwartzel reached the turn with a one-stroke advantage and, despite missing every fairway until the 17th hole and both greens on the par-threes, he had stretched his lead to three shots when he chipped in from a greenside bunker for a birdie on the par-four 13th. Schwartzel missed the fairway on the par-five 18th and had to punch his ball out from behind a tree. However, his superb third shot was on the flag before spinning back to leave him with a six-foot birdie putt which he rolled in for a memorable victory.
Lochte tops Phelps in 200 IM
Ryan Lochte beat Michael Phelps in the 200m individual medley on Sunday in the last of their head-to-head showdown in the Austin Grand Prix. Lochte finished in 1 minute, 59.26 seconds, well off his world record of 1 minute, 54.10 seconds. Eric Shanteau edged Phelps to finish second in 2 minutes, 01.13 seconds. Phelps was third. Brent Hayden won the 100m freestyle in 49.91 seconds. Ricky Berens finished second, while Lochte was third. Phelps won Heat B of that race in 50.9 seconds. Before this weekend, Phelps had never swam in a B final.
Van Liew first to show in NZ
American solo sailor Brad van Liew has increased his overall lead in the Velux Five Oceans race by winning the second leg from Cape Town, South Africa to Wellington, New Zealand. The 42-year-old sailed his 18.3m yacht Le Pingouin across the finish line in gale force winds off the south coast of New Zealand’s North Island early on Sunday morning to add the second leg to his win in the first from La Rochelle, France to Cape Town. He sailed the 7,682 nautical miles (14,227km) to New Zealand — the second of five legs that make up the race — in 30 days, 9 hours and 49 minutes at an average speed of 10.53 knots (19.5kph). Polish skipper Zbigniew Gutkowski was expected to have finished early yesterday, closely followed by Canadian Derek Hatfield. “It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” van Liew said. “It’s really good to be here. I’ve now done five southern ocean legs and this one was by far the hardest.” The second leg developed into an unusually close battle between the five sailors in the race with positions changing frequently as the fleet battled strong winds and mountainous seas.
Reds give Votto extension
National League MVP Joey Votto has agreed to a three-year contract extension with the Cincinnati Reds, Major League Baseball said on Sunday on its Web site, citing baseball sources. The new deal was reportedly worth US$38 million and helps the Reds avoid Votto going to arbitration. A physical was scheduled for yesterday to make the deal official. Votto made US$525,000 last season while helping the Reds win the NL Central Division. He hit .324 with 37 home runs and 113 RBIs and made his first All-Star game appearance.