Els Completes Hawaii Sweep

By Golf Channel NewsroomJanuary 19, 2003, 5:00 pm
Ernie Els is off to the best start in 14 years on the PGA Tour.
 
The 33-year-old South African became the first player since Steve Jones in 1989 to win the first two tournaments of the season by capturing the Sony Open Sunday in Honolulu, Hawaii.
 
Els shot 3-under 67 at the Waialae Country Club to match Aaron Baddeley, who had a 69, at 16-under-par 264.
 
He then made an improbable 43-foot birdie from the fringe on the second extra hole. Baddeley had a 20-footer to continue the playoff, but left it inches short.
 
'It was a fun day,' said Els, who earned his 12th tour win. 'I thought the kid was gonna go away, but he kept at me. Unlucky for Aaron, but he's going to win a lot of titles.'
 
Els added another $810,000 to his bank account. He collected $1 million in his record-breaking performance a week ago in Maui. He won the Mercedes Championships - by eight shots - in 31-under par, a tour record in relation to par.
 
This win was a bit harder to come by.
 
Baddeley, making his first start as a card-carrying member of the PGA Tour, had his worst ball-striking round of the week ' he hit four of 14 fairways and nine of 18 greens in regulation, but still managed to hang with the second-ranked player in the world.
 
Both men made four-foot birdie putts on the first extra hole, the par-5 18th. They then went back to the 353-yard, par-4 10th.
 
Els had driven the hole earlier in the day, but hooked his tee shot into the rough the second time around. Baddeleys tee shot finished in the front left greenside bunker.
 
With little green to work with, and a tree limb impeding a flop shot, Els ran his pitch shot through the green, 43 feet from the hole.
 
Baddeley had a straight-forward - albeit lengthy - bunker shot, but blasted out well short of the hole. After Els ran his birdie bomb home, and then Baddeleys putt to tie died on the lip.
 
'I didn't strike it the best today but I was there and had a chance to win in the end,' said Baddeley. 'Ernie didn't make many mistakes. He was putting the pressure on me to drive it in the fairway as well or hit it on the green. That and he was very composed.'
 
The victory was a bit of redemption for Els. He lost to Tiger Woods in a playoff in the 2000 Mercedes Championships, when Woods made a 40-foot birdie on the second extra hole to prevail.
 
'Tiger made that putt on me and I had a chance to tie him and I left it on the edge,' said Els. 'The world keeps on turning. Sometimes it works out for you.'
 
Els started this Sunday two back of Baddeley, but took a one-shot lead into the last after a bizarre 17th hole.
 
Els' 25-foot birdie putt was tracking toward the cup when it hit Baddeley's marker to keep it from going in.
 
Baddeley was ready to strike his three-foot par putt when he backed off after hearing a portable toliet door close. He re-started his routine, but lipped out the putt.
 
Last year, John Cook was distracted by a ringing cell phone at 17 and hit his tee shot in a greenside bunker. He bogeyed the hole and ended up one stroke behind eventual winner Jerry Kelly.
 
Baddeley was given a reprieve, however, when Els left his 15-foot birdie putt for victory at 18 short of the hole. Baddeley then converted one from nearly the same length to force the extra session.
 
Chris DiMarco shot 4-under 66 to finish third, two back of Els and Baddeley. Defending champion Kelly (65) eagled the last to tie Robert Allenby (66) for fourth place, at 12-under.
 
Related Links
  • Full-field scores from the Sony Open
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  • Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

    By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

    The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

    Leaderboard: Cameron Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Jason Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

    What it means: Jordan Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.

    Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Web.com Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

    Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

    Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

    Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday. 

    Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

    Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

    Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

    By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

    SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

    Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

    ''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

    But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

    In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

    ''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

    Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

    The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his Web.com card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

    ''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

    NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

    Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

    Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

    Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

    "He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

    The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

    Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

    "I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

    Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

    "From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

    "And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

    "There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."