Golf: Zach Johnson started the new year the same way he ended the last one.
Johnson pulled away with three straight birdies on the back nine at Kapalua and closed with a 7-under 66 to win the Tournament of Champions on Monday in Kapalua, Hawaii.
He didn’t need any heroics, like holing out from a drop zone when he beat Tiger Woods in the World Challenge last month. This was mainly about chipping and putting, and Johnson is among the best.
He won by one shot over Jordan Spieth, who birdied the last two holes for a 69.
It was Johnson’s third win in his last six starts. This was his 11th career win on the PGA Tour. Since his rookie year in 2004, only Woods, Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh have won more.
Tavares’ hat, assists key Islanders victory
NHL: New York Islanders captain John Tavares scored a hat trick and added two assists to help propel his team to a 7-3 victory over the Dallas Stars in Uniondale, N.Y. In addition to a strong performance from their captain, highly touted rookie center Ryan Strome scored the first goal of his NHL career.
Jackets stop Rangers: Sergei Bobrovsky made 40 saves through overtime and two more in the shootout in his first action in over a month, and Brandon Dubinsky had a goal and assist against his former team in the Columbus Blue Jackets’ 4-3 victory over the host New York Rangers.
Gionta boosts Montreal: Brian Gionta scored the winner in the second period and Carey Price stopped 26 shots to lead the host Montreal Canadiens to a 2-1 victory over the Florida Panthers.
Nets claim third straight victory
NBA: Joe Johnson snapped out of a slump with 23 points against his former team, and the Brooklyn Nets matched a season high with their third straight victory by beating the visiting Atlanta Hawks 91-86.
Bynum, Deng traded: The Cleveland Cavaliers acquired Luol Deng from the Chicago Bulls late Monday night for Andrew Bynum and three future draft picks. Deng is averaging 19 points per game this season. The Cavs had been looking to move Bynum in order to avoid paying his full $12.5 million salary.
Fighter stops cooperating
MMA: Joseph Torrez, a professional mixed martial artist who deputies said killed a man suspected of breaking into his home, is no longer cooperating with authorities in the case, his attorney said.
According to sheriff’s officials, Sal Garces, 25, died Jan. 1 from stab wounds after he and three other men broke into Torrez’s mobile home north of Las Cruces, N.M. One man attacked Torrez with a handmade shank and another grabbed a kitchen knife.
Torrez gave statements to deputies and has since moved from the area for his family’s safety. Leonard Calvillo, 22, and Raymond Garces, 19, are facing aggravated burglary and aggravated battery charges, court records show. Nathan Avalos, 20, was taken to an El Paso hospital and authorities say they plan on charging him when he is released.
Another record for Grinnell College
Men’s basketball: The small Iowa school that produced 138-point scorer Jack Taylor has set another NCAA record. Division III Grinnell College player Patrick Maher broke the NCAA record with 37 assists Monday night in a 164-144 victory over College of Faith.
Maher snapped the record of 34 set by Grinnell assistant head coach David N. Arseneault back in 2007.
Peterhansel takes lead in Dakar Rally
Racing: Eleven-time winner Stephane Peterhansel of France took the overall lead in the car division of the Dakar Rally in San Rafael, Argentina, winning the second stage of the grueling race.
Peterhansel finished 46 seconds ahead of Spain’s Carlos Sainz and 5:34 in front of Giniel De Villiers of South Africa. Peterhansel leads the overall car standings by 28 seconds ahead of Sainz and has a 4:10 advantage over Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar.
World Cup prep behind schedule
Soccer: FIFA president Sepp Blatter criticized Brazil’s slow preparations for the World Cup, calling the country further behind than any other hosting the international event during his tenure. Brazil has completed only six of the 12 World Cup stadiums despite a FIFA deadline to finish by the end of 2013.
Neureuther takes World Cup slalom
Skiing: Germany’s Felix Neureuther used a blistering second run to edge first-leg leader Marcel Hirscher and win a World Cup slalom in Bormio, Italy. Neureuther recorded a two-leg combined time of 1 minute, 59.75 seconds.