Today’s sports news: What you need to know – RNZ

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Latest – Dustin Johnson had one arm in the Green Jacket after charging to a four-shot lead with a magnificent third round at the Masters.

American golfer Dustin Johnson.

Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Ten players were within one stroke starting the round, but Johnson was a class apart, in control of every facet of his game as he broke clear after almost holing his approach shot for a tap-in eagle at the par-five second.

He did not really miss a green until the final hole, where for the only time all day he was forced to call upon his deft short game to save par.

Johnson matched Jordan Spieth’s record low Masters total for the first 54 holes -16-under-par 200 – while South Korean Im Sung-jae (68), Mexican Abraham Ancer (69) and Australian Cameron Smith (69) were equal second on 12-under.

Defending champion Tiger Woods could only manage an even-par third round to be 11 shots adrift of Johnson at five-under.

– Reuters

England too good for Georgia

Hooker Jamie George scored a hat-trick of identical rolling maul tries as England swept aside a spirited but limited Georgia 40-0 in their opening Autumn Nations Cup match at a rain-lashed and eerily quiet fan-free Twickenham.

England's Jamie George scores against the Wallabies in 2016 series win

Jamie George.
Photo: Photosport

In a game they were always going to win comfortably, England looked somewhat mechanical in the first half but were still totally in command.

Flanker Jack Willis marked his debut with the opening try, George was driven over twice and Elliot Daly finished a nice backline move to put them 26-0 ahead at the break.

England, who host Ireland next week, took a long time to get going after the restart as Georgia enjoyed a spell of good possession, without ever threatening a try.

However, another five metre lineout enabled George to bundle over for his third and replacement scrumhalf Dan Robson also crossed for the sixth try after a neat breakdown dummy.

– Reuters

Scots fight back in Florence

Scotland dug deep to overcome Italy 28-17 at the Stadio Artemio Franchi in Florence, coming from behind through tries from Zander Fagerson, Scott Cummings and George Turner to record a fifth successive win for coach Gregor Townsend.

Scotland's head coach Gregor Townsend.

Photo: AFP

A visibly fired-up Italy led 11-7 at half time, through two penalties from the 20 year-old fly half Paolo Garbisi and a sparkling counter-attacking try finished off by Matteo Minozzi.

Scotland had scored the game’s first try as Duhan van der Merwe cut a sharp line in from his wing to cross untouched, but the visitors looked shaken at times in the first half by Italy’s combative defence.

Immediately after van der Merwe’s sharp score, centre Marco Zanon burst through for Italy and sparked a series off offloads down the left touchline that ended in the Wasps fullback Minozzi crossing the line in the game’s standout moment.

For all that thrilling attack and muscular defence, however, it was a depressingly familiar finish to the game for Italy as their fitness seemed to dwindle and Scotland began to wrest control through driving mauls and close carrying.

– Reuters

Shock pole for Stroll in Turkey

Canadian Lance Stroll seized an astonishing first Formula One pole position in a crazy weather-hit Turkish Grand Prix qualifying that snapped a 14-race streak for dominant Mercedes.

F1 driver Lance Stroll.

F1 driver Lance Stroll.
Photo: PHOTOSPORT

While the 22-year-old Racing Point driver celebrated wildly over the team radio, six-times world champion Lewis Hamilton qualified only sixth for a race likely to crown him world champion for a record-equalling seventh time.

Mercedes team mate and sole title rival Valtteri Bottas will line up ninth.

Mercedes, whose pole run extended back to the 2019 season-ender in Abu Dhabi, never looked in contention on a track returning for the first time since 2011 but made slippery by rain and newly-laid asphalt.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen joined Stroll on the front row, with Stroll’s team-mate Sergio Perez qualifying third.

– Reuters

Djokovic wraps up top spot for 2020

Novak Djokovic says sealing the year-end men’s world No 1 tennis ranking has eased some of the pressure on him as he heads into the ATP Finals looking to end his season on another high.

Joy of Novak Djokovic

Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The 33-year-old is bidding for a sixth crown in the traditional season-ending tournament to draw level with Roger Federer.

«Coming into the tournament knowing I already clinched the year-end No.1 releases some of the pressure, but at the same time it doesn’t change what I hope to achieve in this tournament and why I’m here,» Djokovic said.

Meanwhile Jannik Sinner has become the youngest first-time winner on the ATP Tour on Saturday after edging Canadian Vasek Pospisil 6-4 3-6 7-6(3) to claim the Sofia Open.

The 19-year-old Italian is the youngest winner on the men’s tour since Japan’s Kei Nishikori won the Delray Beach Open at the age of 18 in 2008.

– Reuters

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