Patriots, Saints win playoffs
LeGarrette Blount had four touchdown runs as New England kept Andrew Luck from a second straight comeback win by beating the Indianapolis Colts 43-22 to book their third straight American Football Conference championship game. Also on Saturday, Marshawn Lynch ran for 140 yards and two touchdowns as the Seattle Seahawks won their National Football Conference playoff. Steven Hauschka kicked three field-goals as the top-seeded Seahawks beat the New Orleans Saints 23-15. The Patriots (13-4) are to face the winner of yesterday’s game between the Broncos and Chargers, while Seattle are to host San Francisco or Carolina next Sunday.
Parma rise, Livorno struggle
Parma climbed to seventh and added to AS Livorno’s woes with a 3-0 Serie A win on Saturday, while the day’s late game between Bologna and SS Lazio ended in a goalless draw. The loss at Stadio Armando Picchi kept Livorno second from bottom and was their seventh reverse in eight games. The hosts only had themselves to blame as, despite having striker Antonio Cassano starting on the bench and never having won at Livorno, Parma opened their account after two minutes. Jonathan Biabiany harried down the right flank to send over a cross that Raffaele Palladino first-timed past Livorno’s Francesco Bardi. Parma then put the match beyond reach in the space of seven minutes at the death when Amauri hit a brace. At the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara stadium, Lazio were looking to claim their second straight win under new coach Edoardo Reja. However, after an impressive build-up, Bologna striker Rolando Bianchi saw his attempted backheel flick kept out by Lazio goalkeeper Etrit Berisha. Bologna are two points above the relegation zone.
Fleetwood takes Durban lead
Tommy Fleetwood shot a third-round 69 to take a one-shot lead at the Volvo Golf Champions in Durban, South Africa, on Saturday. The Englishman produced four birdies and a lone bogey to move to a 10-under-par total of 206. Breathing down his neck with a share of second on 207 were France’s Victor Dubuisson and Dutchman Joost Luiten, with last year’s winner Louis Oosthuizen two off the pace despite a triple-bogey seven at the 16th. Dubuisson had his short game to thank for a solid third round. Local hope Oosthuizen was leading the pack with three holes to go before his triple bogey slip-up after striking his second into deep undergrowth and declaring it unplayable. Fellow South African Braden Grace was a shot further back on seven under, with Wales’ Jamie Donaldson another stroke away alongside France’s Raphael Jacquelin.
Kirk tops Hawaii leaderboard
Chris Kirk on Saturday sank a nine-foot birdie putt on the last hole to grab a one-stroke lead over fellow Americans Will Wilcox and Harris English in the third round of the US PGA Sony Open in Honolulu, Hawaii. Kirk’s clutch putt completed a round of five-under-par 65 to stand on 12-under 198 through 54 holes at the US$5.6 million event. Americans Jerry Kelly and Jimmy Walker shared fourth on 200, one stroke ahead of a pack that included South African Retief Goosen, Australian Robert Allenby, Japan’s Hideto Tanihara and Americans Zach Johnson, Jeff Overton, Brian Stuard and Pat Perez. Masters champion Adam Scott of Australia struggled to a 71, falling to a share of 27th on 204, while Jason Dufner fired a 67 to share 13th on 202 and John Daly shared 18th on 203.