Els Captures Comeback Win in South Africa

By Sports NetworkDecember 11, 2005, 5:00 pm
European TourNELSPRUIT, South Africa -- Ernie Els carded his second straight round of 4-under 68 on Sunday to win the dunhill championship for the fourth time. Els completed the event at 14-under-par 274 and took advantage of a back-nine collapse by third-round leader Ulrich Van den Berg.
 
Els collected his 22nd European Tour win in just his second event back from knee surgery. In his first event last week, he was never a factor at the Nedbank Challenge, where he finished ninth. Els injured his knee in late July while vacationing after the British Open.
 
'It might come across a bit cocky if you say you are going to win considering my circumstances,' said Els. 'But I was hitting the ball well enough to have a chance.'
 
Louis Oosthuizen and last year's winner, Charl Schwartzel, each posted rounds of 2-under 70 to share second place at 11-under-par 277.
 
Van den Berg, who was bidding to be the seventh straight first-time winner here, struggled to a 4-over 76. His back nine included three bogeys and two double bogeys as he shot seven-over 44 on the second nine.
 
The 76 dropped Van den Berg into a share of fourth place at 8-under-par 280. He was joined there by Bobby Lincoln (65), David Lynn (68) and Trevor Immelman (68).
 
Van den Berg posted a 65 in the third round to lead by two entering the final round at Leopard Creek Country Club. He was in control of the event throughout the front nine.
 
The South African ran off four birdies in a six-hole stretch from the second to jump to 16-under. At that point, Van den Berg had a three-stroke cushion over Els.
 
Van den Berg's troubles began at the ninth. He stumbled to a bogey there, his second on that hole this week, and it was all downhill from there.
 
Els meanwhile kept pace as he picked up birdies on one and two to move to minus-12. Els got within three with a birdie on the short par-4 sixth, but he tripped to a bogey at the next.
 
The two-time U.S. Open winner ran off five straight pars around the turn as Van den Berg began to stumble. Despite those five pars, Els walked to the 13th tee with the lead.
 
Van den Berg triple-bogeyed the 11th and bogeyed the 12th to fall to 11 under, one stroke behind Els. Van den Berg finally got one stroke back with a birdie on No. 15. However, he double bogeyed the 16th after his tee shot found water, then bogeyed 17 and 18 to end six shots back.
 
'I just melted down. I hit a bad tee shot on 11 and lost a lot of confidence after that,' stated a down-trodden Van den Berg.
 
Els birdied the par-5 13th to move to 13 under, two clear of Van den Berg. Els picked up his third birdie in the last three rounds on the par-5 15th. He then closed with three straight pars to collect the win.
 
'I think it was my experience that helped me pull this one off, but I really feel for Ulrich,' Els said. 'He was so relaxed and putting so well that after eight holes I turned to Simon (Masilo) said I didn't know how we were going to catch him.
 
'But then the wheels came off a little bit and that opened the door for me. But he is a great golfer and a true gentleman and I really admire the way he kept his composure. I'm not sure that I could have behaved that way under the circumstances.'
 
Joakim Haeggman shot a 4-under 68 in the final round to get to 7-under-par 281, where he finished alongside Alan Michell (72), Jaco Van Zyl (73) and Sean Farrell (71).
 
Related links:
  • TGC Airtimes

  • Full Coverage - dunhill championship
  • Getty Images

    After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

    Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

    Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

    Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

    It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


    On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

    There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

    He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

    His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

    Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

    Getty Images

    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

    He picked up one more No. 2, too.

    The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

    In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

    Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

    “It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

    Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

    Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

    He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

    Getty Images

    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

    Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

    Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

    His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

    “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

    Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

    Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

    Getty Images

    Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

    Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

    Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

    What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

    Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

    Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

    Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

    Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

    Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

    Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry