Monty gives up chase as Els hits top form

South African Ernie Els takes a six-shot lead over Colin Montgomerie into tomorrow's final round of the Million Dollar challenge at Sun City to set up the biggest pay-day of his career.

South African Ernie Els takes a six-shot lead over Colin Montgomerie into tomorrow's final round of the Million Dollar challenge at Sun City to set up the biggest pay-day of his career.

Hitting eight birdies and an eagle, local favourite Els blazed his way to a course record-equalling 64 despite his first dropped shots in 42 holes.

Els, who led by two strokes going into today's third round, picked up where he left off and fired three birdies in the first four holes.

He stuttered at the par-three seventh, and again at the eighth, but responded with an eagle on the very next hole.

"The break came just at the right time. With an eagle the swing can go either way," said a relaxed Els after a scintillating round of golf at the Gary Player Country Club.

Montgomerie may not have dropped a shot as he moved to 13-under-par but had no answer to Els' putting and approach play, which put him under pressure on every green of their match.

"Ernie Els will win this tournament. There's no doubt in my mind about that. My job now is just to hold on to second," said the Scot.

But the South African, stalking his first Million Dollar win here in eight attempts, is taking nothing for granted.

"I don't quite believe that," he said of Montgomerie's prediction. "But six shots is nice to take into the final round."

A weather break forced by the threat of lightning halted play with Els and Montgomerie on the 10th fairway, but it failed to break Els' rhythm, with the eagle on the ninth under his belt.

"I was on such a high and sometimes when I get that high I mess it up a little bit, but we went for lunch at the weather interval and I really played a good back nine. I missed the fairway on 14 but other than that I was focused."

Els' brilliant round eclipsed Darren Clarke who also equalled the course record and lies third on 11-under having come from three-under par overnight.

"I don't know what pills Ernie's on, but I want some," said the 31-year-old Irishman, who built on a brilliant start when he birdied the first three holes of the round.

Clarke is a shot ahead of American Jim Furyk, on 10-under having shot a 65 for the round, a stroke outside his best here when he became the first man to equal Nick Faldo's course record, set in 1994, with a 64 in last year's final round.

"I would bet on Ernie right now maybe beating the course record," said Furyk.

Defending champion Nick Price of Zimbabwe, bidding for his third victory in a row at the annual invitational event, shot four birdies and two bogeys and lies 11 shots off the pace alongside Spain's Sergio Garcia and England's Lee Westwood on eight-under for the tournament.

The 19-year-old Spaniard, joint third overnight, slipped down the leaderboard with bogeys on the third and again on the 15th, just after shooting an eagle on the par-five 14th.

Paraguay's Carlos Franco, ranked 21 in the world, hit a 68 to go to six-under for the tournament, a shot ahead of American John Huston.

Open champion and early leader Paul Lawrie bogeyed the 11th and 12th to slip to four-under.

US Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal is level par after shooting a round of 73, while his compatriot Miguel Angel Jimenez is one-over par, despite hitting a 69 for his best round of the tournament.

Third-round scores in the Million Dollar Challenge, Sun City, South Africa

197 E Els (Rsa) 67 66 64203 C Mongomerie (Sco) 66 69 68205 D Clarke (NIrl) 72 69 64206 J Furyk (USA) 70 71 65208 N Price (Zim) 68 72 68, S Garcia (Spa) 71 67 70, L Westwood (Eng) 68 70 70210 C Franco (Par) 70 72 68211 J Huston (USA) 67 76 68212 P Lawrie (Sco) 65 76 71216 JM Olazabal (Spa) 69 74 73217 MA Jiminez (Spa) 76 72 69

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
voices
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam