SUN CITY GOLF
Sun City: Local favourite Ernie Els compiled a flawless final round to claim his third Sun City Golf Challenge and $ 2 million in emphatic style at the Gary Player Country Club Sunday.
Els carded a course record 63, his 28th consecutive under par round in the event, to finish at 21 under par and win by eight shots from Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie (67).
He joins Nick Price of Zimbabwe and another South African, David Frost, as the only players to have won the lucrative invitational event three times, after wins in 1999 and 2000.
Three shots further back in third place was American Chris DiMarco (70), who himself was three strokes clear of compatriot Jim Furyk and another South African, Retief Goosen (71).
“Today was quite nice,” Els said with a chuckle after receiving the trophy and the biggest winner’s cheque in golf. “That was probably the round of my life. I don’t think I’ve ever gone into the final round of a tournament leading and shot a 63.
“I was quite worried about Monty because I knew he was playing really well. I was a little bit tense on the front nine because I knew I had to get off to a decent start. I didn’t hit a good tee shot at the second hole but got away with a birdie there which set me on my way, but I was still trying to not make big mistakes,” Els said.
Els went into the final round with a four shot cushion over the rest of the field and after a birdie at the ninth to turn in 33, his lead had already stretched to seven.
Although Montgomerie chipped in for eagle three at the 10th, Els responded with a solid birdie at the same hole and another at 12 turned the back nine.