Golf: Els is all shook up

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The Independent Online
ERNIE ELS had never heard of the Australian Jarrod Moseley until this weekend. But he will never forget the name now. In a remarkable finish to the Heineken Classic at The Vines in Australia's richest tournament, Els, the world No 5, squandered a six-stroke lead while local golfer Moseley took the first prize.

The 26-year-old has been a professional for 18 months, and in that time his best performances were second in the Fijian and Samoan Opens. His career earnings were pounds 17,000. He did not even know he was playing in the event until 10 days before the start and the surprise of winning was evident as he spoke afterwards.

"This is just unbelievable," he said. "I came here today not really thinking I had a chance. I had basically given up and was just hoping to finish second."

Meanwhile, Els was in a state of bewilderment. "One bad hole really shook me up," the South African said.

He was referring to the 413-yard seventh, which he had comfortably negotiated par-birdie-par in the first three rounds. This time, however, his drive was pushed and his second, which he tried to fade under some branches, was instead hooked into a bush.

After taking a penalty drop Els, winner of the South African PGA title two weeks ago, chipped onto the green, only to three-putt for a triple bogey seven. He never recovered.

"It killed me," he added. "I had such a solid start and was in control of the tournament. I was hitting shot after shot the way I wanted to, but that hole left me kind of shell-shocked."

With Moseley having had birdies at the sixth, seventh and ninth, Els's six-shot advantage was gone and when he three-putted again for a bogey six on the long ninth the little-known Australian was ahead. By the 14th he was three clear and then it was a matter of holding his nerve.

A member of the Australian side which won the world amateur team title in 1996, he knew he could probably afford one mistake - and when it came on the 17th, where he pushed his second into sand and only just got out, he was relieved to discover he still had a one-stroke lead.

The 517-yard 18th played downwind all week and was the easiest hole on the course. A birdie would have put the issue beyond doubt, but Moseley found another bunker off the tee and had to lay up short.

From there, though, he struck an eight-iron to 10 feet, two-putted and then waited to see if Els could eagle the last. The double US Open champ- ion hit his second to 25 feet, but the putt to force a play-off was never on line.

In the end Els had to settle for a share of second place with Germany's Bernhard Langer and Australian Peter Lonard. Moseley shot 69 against the 75 of Els and finished with a 14-under-par total of 274. The leading British player was Scotland's Andrew Coltart, who tied for 13th place and is now eighth in the Ryder Cup points table.

In the separate Seniors Challenge, Lee Trevino had his second victory in three days, his two-under-par 70 off a slightly shortened course beating Gary Player by four and Graham Marsh by five.