Els' Masters hopes slipping out of sight


ORLANDO, Fla. – Oh Ernie. That about sums it up.

With seemingly most of the golf world pulling for Ernie Els to finish inside the top 3 of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, it was his putter that let him down for the second consecutive week.

A solo third-place finish or a two-way tie for second would’ve moved Els into the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking, earning the Big Easy a trip to the Masters. This coming a week after he missed two 4-footers in three holes last week that cost him a chance at winning the Transitions Championship.

The three-time major champion started the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational three shots behind, but twice missed par putts inside 3 feet and shot 75 to tie for fourth place with six others.

“I still hit the ball well,” Els said. “I didn’t have my putting touch today, that was the difference. I was a little tentative again and the wind didn’t help too much on the greens either. I’m pleased with my ball-striking but again, on the greens, I was awful.”

Now the only way to get into the Masters field is to win the Houston Open next week. The last time Els missed the Masters was in 1993.