Bubba Watson got up and down from a green-side bunker to birdie the last and hold a share of the lead with fellow American Webb Simpson after Saturday’s third round of the New Orleans Classic. Left-hander Watson, who had been one stroke ahead overnight, splashed out to five feet at the par-five 18th and coolly sank the putt for a two-under 70 at the TPC Louisiana. That gave the long-hitting American a 12-under total of 204, putting him level with Simpson, who had reeled off five consecutive birdies from the par-three third on the way to a flawless 67. At one point, Simpson led the field by two shots on another hot and breezy day in Louisiana, but he failed to make any birdies on the back nine before being caught by Watson’s late surge. John Rollins of the US carded a 69 to finish alone in third at 11-under, a stroke better than six players, including his compatriot Steve Stricker (68), Australia’s Matt Jones (69) and South Korea’s K.J. Choi (67).
Teenage prodigy fires a 67
Alexis Thompson, a 16-year-old US prodigy trying to become the youngest winner in the LPGA’s 61-year history, fired a five-under 67 on Saturday to share the lead at the Avnet Classic. Thompson, who in 2007 became the youngest qualifier in US Women’s Open history at age 12, was on seven-under 209 after 54 holes to match South Korea’s Kim Song-hee at the top. The youngest LPGA winner to date is Marlene Hagge, an LPGA founding member and World Golf Hall of Famer, who was 18 when she won the 1952 Sarasota Open. When Thompson sank an 18-foot putt at the par-five 16th to birdie the hole for the third day in a row, she matched Germany’s Sandra Gal for the lead. Moments later, Gal took a bogey on a two-foot par miss at the 11th hole and Thompson was alone at the top. Kim, ranked 13th in the world, birdied the 15th and 16th for a two-under 70 that matched Thompson for the lead. Taiwan’s Candie Kung carded a 75 for a one-over three-round total.
QPR secure promotion
Queens Park Rangers secured their return to the Premier League for the first time in 15 years when they beat Watford 2-0 on Saturday to open up an unassailable lead in the English Championship. However, before their final game of the season they will hear the ruling of a Football Association regulatory commission on seven charges relating to the transfer and contract renewal of Argentine midfielder Alejandro Faurlin. If found guilty, they could have points deducted. Rangers needed only a draw to ensure enough points for promotion. They took all three points after late goals by Adel Taarabt, last week voted the Championship’s player of the season, and Tommy Smith.
Technical director suspended
The technical director of the French Football Federation (FFF) was suspended by the sports ministry on Saturday over a claim that the FFF was deliberately limiting black and Arab players in national training programs. Francois Blaquart was suspended immediately pending the conclusions of a probe into the allegations, the ministry and FFF said in a joint statement. Web site Mediapart reported on Thursday that senior federation staff approved proposals to limit to 30 percent the number of players of African and North-African descent once they reach age 13. Mediapart claimed Blaquart and national coach Laurent Blanc approved the proposal and called the move “a genuine segregation applied to football.” Blanc called the report a “lie” on Friday.