Victory puts Els ahead of Singh in Tiger hunt

Ernie Els has replaced Vijay Singh as the world No 2 after winning the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio on Sunday.

Ernie Els has replaced Vijay Singh as the world No 2 after winning the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio on Sunday.

The South African, who sealed a four-shot victory with a closing six-under-par 66, moved up one spot in the global pecking order. Singh, who tied for 24th in Ohio, slipped to third, having replaced Els at No 2 with his victory at the Funai Classic last October.

Tiger Woods retains his monopoly at No 1 for a record 252nd consecutive week, and 322nd overall, after finishing in third place in Ohio. The 28-year-old is nine weeks short of Greg Norman's 331 weeks in top spot, the record since the official rankings were introduced.

Els boosted his confidence before the US Open in two weeks' time with his victory. In front after the third round, he briefly lost the lead after a bogey five on the fourth. But he was four-under over the next six holes and eventually finished with a six-under 66 for an 18-under tally of 270.

Fred Couples, the 1998 champion, finished in second place after hitting a 68 for a total of 274. Woods carded a three-under 69, giving him third place on 276, but once again pulled some magic out of his black hat in the final round when he made a miraculous par on the 14th hole - from almost the same spot as he did, famously, in 1999. Then he holed a sand wedge from ankle-deep rough behind the green to win the first of his three consecutive Memorial titles. He made an almost identical shot on Sunday to help seal third place.

Britain's Justin Rose was fourth on 277, one stroke ahead of the South Korean KJ Choi. The defending champion, Kenny Perry, and Stephen Ames, of Trinidad and Tobago, finished joint sixth on 279, while the tournament host, Jack Nicklaus, returned a closing round of 71 to finish in a tie for 63rd place on 295, seven over par.

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