Els needing a miracle to earn a trip to Augusta


Ernie Els has one last chance to qualify for a 19th consecutive Masters. He began the final round of the Shell Houston Open trailing leader and fellow countryman Louis Oosthuizen by nine shots at Redstone CC.

A comeback of major proportions is the only way the South African can get into the Masters next week.

Seemingly resigned to his fate earlier in the week, Els still held out hope Saturday night for a miracle.

'Pretty well I needed to get to maybe 10, 11 under (for the tournament) to really have a really good shot,' said Els, who was at 8 under through three rounds. '[I]f I get going tomorrow, get those putts going - I need a 62, 63, or something like that. It's tough to do on a Sunday, but you might as well give it a go.'

The low round of the week is 65, shot seven times this week.

Even if Els does not pull out a green rabbit from his hat, he is happy with the recent push forward in his game.

'I'm glad all the hard work I've done is starting to pay off a little bit,' he said. 'Obviously, I would love to get a win.'