Jbe Kruger wins Avantha
Jbe Kruger of South Africa clinched his maiden European Tour title when he held his nerve in a tight finish to win the Avantha Masters in India yesterday. On a dramatic final day when hot contender Peter Whiteford of Scotland was disqualified for a moved ball in the third round, Kruger carded four birdies and a bogey in a final-round three-under 69. The 25-year-old from Bloemfontein finished on 14-under 274, two strokes ahead of Spaniard Jorge Campillo and Marcel Siem of Germany, after just three shots had separated the top 15 at the start of the day. Whiteford, who led the first two rounds and was one stroke behind leader Kruger after the third, was penalized for the moved ball on the 18th fairway during his round on Saturday. The Scot was disqualified after the rules committee reviewed the incident yesterday morning, following television viewers alerting chief referee John Paramor about it. Whiteford signed his scorecard after consulting his caddy, a fellow competitor and a TV cameraman, who all said they did not believe he had moved the ball.
Mickelson tied for lead
Phil Mickelson stayed on track for a second consecutive USPGA Tour victory by ending Saturday’s third round of the Northern Trust Open in a tie for the lead. The American left-hander carded a one-under 70 in dazzling afternoon sunshine at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California, to finish level with compatriot Keegan Bradley (66). Mickelson, who began the day one ahead of the chasing pack, mixed two birdies with a lone bogey to post a seven-under total of 206 at an iconic venue where he triumphed in 2008 and 2009. He had chances to regain the outright lead over the closing stretch, but narrowly missed an eight-foot birdie putt at the 16th and failed to birdie the par-five 17th after driving into the left rough.
Hirscher takes slalom
Marcel Hirscher won his second race in two days on the Banderitsa course in Bulgaria, taking a World Cup slalom yesterday ahead of fellow Austrian Mario Matt. Hirscher led after the first run and clocked 58.06 seconds in the afternoon to win in a combined time of 1 minute, 52.64 seconds. Mario Matt was 0.16 seconds behind, while Andre Myhrer of Sweden was 0.57 seconds back in third. Hirscher is now just 18 points behind leader Ivica Kostelic in the overall standings, with the Croatian sidelined with a knee injury.
Heavy snowfall forced the cancellation of a women’s World Cup super-combined event yesterday in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia, ending the Alpine test events for the Sochi 2014 Olympics on a sour note. The race — the third and final super-combined event of the season — could be rescheduled for Are, Sweden, next month. If the race is not rescheduled, American Lindsey Vonn will have clinched her third consecutive super-combined title. Vonn currently leads Tina Maze of Slovenia by 55 points and Nicole Hosp of Austria by 60 points in the super-combined standings, with wins worth 100 points each. “I definitely think it was the right decision,” Vonn said. “All the girls talked in the finish after the second inspection and we all felt it wasn’t safe enough and we gave them some time to keep working on the course and they definitely made progress, but unfortunately the snow was just rotten, it was just like sand — an endless pit of nothing — there’s no surface.”