Els snatches victory from Pappas

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The Independent Online

Ernie Els birdied the final three holes yesterday to equal Brenden Pappas's final round of 66 and beat his fellow South African by one shot in the South African Open in Cape Town.

Although in different groups, both men said they believed that two birdies from the final three holes would be good enough to win. Pappas managed it, but Els birdied all three.

Despite hooking his drive into heavy rough and dragging his approach to the 16th into rough ground 55 yards off the green, an immaculate chip left Els with a putt of 18 inches.

Earlier, Pappas had made birdie in more conventional style at the same hole. Both men holed tricky 10 footers at the 17th for birdies to remain tied.

But Els was on a roll and his approach to the 18th landed softly 12 feet from the hole. Almost inevitably the putt dropped for a round of 66. "The chip on to the 16th won it," Els said. "It was a pressure shot... too soft or too hard and I had no chance of making birdie."

Pappas responded: "I didn't lose it... I was beaten by a great player."

Leading scores, Sporting Digest, page 19