Adam Scott wins again
World No. 2 and defending champion Adam Scott won the Australian Masters at Royal Melbourne yesterday for back-to-back tournament victories. The US Masters champion held off American Matt Kuchar by two shots to continue his red-hot form after claiming last week’s Australian PGA event on the Gold Coast. Australia’s Scott carded a closing round of even-par 71 to finish the tournament on 14-under 270. Kuchar was tied with Scott to the 17th hole, but a double-bogey at the last cost him his winning chance, with the Australian parring the final three holes to close out the win. Fiji’s former world No. 1 Vijay Singh finished third on 10-under after an even par 71.
Thompson seizes lead
US teenager Lexi Thompson fired a bogey-free five-under-par 67 to seize a one-stroke lead over South Korean I.K. Kim after Saturday’s third round of the LPGA Lorena Ochoa Invitational. The 18-year-old American, who won in Malaysia a month ago, stood on 13-under 203 after 54 holes, with Kim on 204 after a 67 and the US’ Stacy Lewis on 205 after firing 67 as well. South Korean Ryu So-yeon was fourth on 206, followed by fellow 36-hole co-leaders Anna Nordqvist of Sweden and Pornanong Phatlum of Thailand, who could each only manage par in the third round. World No. 1 Inbee Park, fighting to clinch LPGA Player of the Year honors after a season that included three major titles, was on 208 along with her rival for the prize, Norway’s Suzann Petersen, and the US’ Lizette Salas. Petersen must finish third or better this week to keep Park from clinching the award.
Brazil humble Honduras
Impressive World Cup hosts Brazil humbled Honduras 5-0 on Saturday in an international friendly, showing their Cup-qualified rivals the steep challenge they will face in June next year. Brazil used pinpoint passing to humiliate a physical, hard-fouling Central American side before 71,124 spectators at the home stadium of American football’s Miami Dolphins — Florida’s largest-ever soccer crowd. Bernard opened the scoring in the 22nd minute, while Dante headed home Brazil’s second goal in the 55th minute off a Neymar free-kick and Maicon netted his first goal since 2010 in the 66th minute to give Brazil a 3-0 edge. In the 70th minute, Hulk delivered a deadly set-up pass to Willian, who tapped the ball home from point-blank range for a 4-0 Brazil lead. Then Willian, Ramires and Robinho each executed back-heel passes around Honduras defenders near the outer edge of the penalty area that set the stage for Hulk to hammer a left-footed shot into the back of the net from the heart of the area.
Japan, Netherlands draw
Netherlands may be among the favorites to win the World Cup, but they suffered a scare on Saturday when they narrowly avoided defeat by Japan in their first match since completing qualification for next year’s finals. The two Brazil-bound countries drew 2-2 on neutral turf in Genk, Belgium, but it was Japan who emerged with the moral victory after coming back from two goals down to force a draw and they were even unlucky not to win. “In the end we got away with a fright,” said playmaker Rafael van der Vaart, whose early goal at the Cristal Arena suggested the Dutch would romp to victory. “On the basis of the second half maybe Japan deserved a win. I think it’s a team that is perhaps a little underestimated, but they have a few top players who really know how to play.”