Els Back in the Fold in South Africa


European TourAfter spending the last three weeks in China, the European Tour heads across the equator and into South Africa for the dunhill championship.
It will mark the second event back for three-time major champion Ernie Els, who made his return from a serious knee injury at last week's Nedbank Golf Challenge.
Els, who finished ninth in the elite 12-man field, hopes to improve on his performance in Sun City and start returning to the form that led him to the previous two Order of Merit crowns.
'Looking on the bright side, those four rounds at the Nedbank should have blown away a few of the old cobwebs,' said Els on his website. 'Hopefully Ill be a bit sharper this week at the dunhill championship.'
Despite going winless on the PGA Tour in his abbreviated 2005 season, the Big Easy was able to quietly rack up three victories on the European Tour schedule, which included the Dubai Desert Classic, the Qatar Masters and the BMW Asian Open.
Joining Els at the Leopard Creek Country Club is fellow South African Trevor Immelman.
Immelman, who is coming off a somewhat disappointing season, may be able to use the familiar scenery to kick start his game. This week is a tune up for the 26-year-old, as next week he'll be going to the South African Airways Open as a two-time champion.
After winning twice in 2004, Immelman went winless last season although he did have a fifth-place showing at the Masters to go along with a tie for 15th and 17th at the British Open and PGA Championship, respectively.
Also back is defending champion Charl Schwartzel, who claimed his maiden European Tour victory in a playoff last year. In the process he became the youngest winner in the events short history.
Since the first tournament was played in 1996, there have been three playoffs and eight hole-in-ones, but no repeat champions and no wire-to-wire winners. Adam Scott currently holds the tournament scoring record of 21 under par, set back in 2001.
The total purse of the event is $1,176,000 with $195,000 going to the winner.
The Golf Channel will broadcast all four rounds live beginning Thursday at 9 a.m. (ET).
Related links:
  • TGC Airtimes

  • Full Coverage - dunhill championship