Els ends barren run by ascent to seventh heaven

So Ernie Els's comfortable 6 and 4 victory over Angel Cabrera on the West Course yesterday left plenty of time for his jaunt to Paris last night for the second South Africa-Argentina clash of the day. Whatever the result in the Stade de France, it would have been a happier plane ride than the previous Sunday evening.

Do not let Els fool you. He might take advantage of little bonuses like a trip by private jet to a Rugby World Cup semi-final but nothing matters as much as taking care of business on the course. The previous weekend at St Andrews Els messed up the 16th hole, putting into a bunker for a triple bogey, and lost a chance to win the Dunhill Links.

At such moments the Big Easy is more like a big bear with a very sore head. "It seems like I'm a patient guy but I'm quite an impatient person when it comes to getting results," Els said. "Last Sunday it wasn't a happy plane ride. Any time you stuff up like that it certainly sits on your mind for a while. You try to downplay it and just get on with the week."

This was Els's seventh win in the HSBC World Match Play championship, a tournament the Wentworth resident has long made his own. But this was his first win of the year and his first on the big stage since his knee injury sailing in the Mediterranean in 2005. His last victory either in America or on European soil was in this same event in 2004.

"I wish I could take Wentworth with me everywhere around the world," Els added. "I would never have thought I would win a prestigious tournament like this seven times.

"It's a really important win for me and my career. I haven't had the results go my way in America or Europe so far this year so to get a win and to play the way I did this year is very satisfying."

Yet it has still been a very consistent season for the South African and although the £1m first prize was capped for the purposes of the European Tour Order of Merit, Els still went to the top of the table. However, Els is not playing at the Volvo Masters at Valderrama at the end of the month, having a contract to play in Singapore on the Asian Tour.

Open champion Padraig Harrington, who has one event left, and Justin Rose, who has two still to play, could overtake him but they will have to play well to do so. "They've got their work cut out," Els said. "Hopefully some outsiders will play well and keep Padraig and Justin honest."

Els is genuine in hoping to win a third Order of Merit and at some time returning to Valderrama, where he has not played for a number of years. But he was also frank enough to admit: "At the end of the year you've got the wheelbarrow out and want to cash in a bit."

He has certainly done that at the World Match Play, where his seven wins, from 12 appearances, have netted him £3.75m. He has lost only five of his 31 matches and even a back twinge yesterday morning could not stop him collecting eight birdies and a three-up lead.

Whatever Els did to correct his putting stance on Saturday lunchtime it was still doing the trick yesterday as he holed from 32 feet at the third and from off the green at the ninth. Els would have been further out in front had it not been for Cabrera twice matching his opponent's birdies on the back nine.

In keeping with most of the finals since the format was changed to ensure all the players played all four days, even these two giants of the southern hemisphere – Cabrera aged 38 and Els soon to be so – were beginning to feel the effects of playing eight rounds in quick succession. The third hole in the afternoon, one of glorious autumnal sunshine, proved to be crucial. Els, carving his drive to the right and hitting his tee with his second, should never have won it.

But he hit an eight-iron to 12 feet and holed the putt for an unlikely par, while Cabrera failed to get up and down. He was four down and the US Open champion could not respond. The end came when Els won three holes in a row from the 12th. At the short 14th, Els hit a lovely shot to 10 feet and was primed to make his 13th birdie of the day but after Cabrera overshot the green and chipped past the hole, the match was conceded.

"I played my best today but it wasn't enough," Cabrera said. "Ernie played very well, he knows the course so well and he is so comfortable here. He is the king of Wentworth."

HSBC World Match Play: Final E Els (SA) bt A Cabrera (Arg) by 6 and 4

News
The two faces revealed by the ultraviolet light
newsScholars left shaken after shining ultraviolet light on 500-year-old Welsh manuscript
News
Rosamund Pike played Bond girld Miranda Frost, who died in Die Another Day (PA)
news
Arts and Entertainment
books
News
newsHow do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? With people like this
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat