Monty gives up chase as Els hits top form - Golf - Sport - The Independent

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

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent