Els triumphs as Donald lets it slip
Monday 03 March 2008
Ernie Els shot a final-round 67 to win the Honda Classic yesterday, his first victory on US soil in nearly four years. The world No 4 finished on six under to pip Britain's Luke Donald by a shot and land his first U.S. PGA Tour title since the 2004 Memorial tournament.
Els, accompanied around the course by his sports psychologist, stormed into the lead with four birdies in the opening nine holes and he remained bogey free until the 17th.
"I am so excited, it has been a long time coming. It is a great feeling, I feel really relieved," he said. "It has been a tough ride, but ultimately you have to believe you can do it."
A gusty breeze on a tough course made for a tight contest where a few errors were always going to make the difference.
Joint overnight leader Donald, who won this event in 2006, bogeyed four holes but was in with a chance right until the end of the par-five 18th. From a decent fairway position, Donald drove his third shot far right of the hole on to the verge of the green, but his chip fell short to end his hopes of forcing a play-off.
Mark Calcavecchia had been neck and neck with Els through much of Sunday but his chance went with a bizarre double bogey on the 15th when a bunker shot from the back of the green rolled off the putting surface and lodged in the rocks. Calcavecchia finished on three under par along with Australians Nathan Green, Robert Allenby and Matt Jones.
l Mark Brown lifted his second title in as many weeks as the New Zealander claimed a three-stroke victory in the Johnnie Walker Classic with a brilliant display on the back nine in Delhi yesterday. Brown trailed four strokes behind leader Taichiro Kiyota with seven holes to play at DLF Golf and Country Club, but the 33-year-old fired four consecutive birdies to overtake the Japanese player, who bogeyed the 13th and 17th. Kiyota shot a closing 71 to finish in a tie for second with Australians Scott Strang and Greg Chalmers. Graeme Storm was the top British, finishing equal fifth on 14-under.
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