Els Fast Out of the Gate in Australia

By Sports NetworkFebruary 13, 2003, 5:00 pm
PERTH, Australia -- Ernie Els fired an 8-under-par 64 on Thursday to grab the first-round lead of the Johnnie Walker Classic at Lake Karrinyup Country Club.
 
David Lynn is alone in second at 7-under-par 65, followed by Terry Price, who shot a 6-under 66 to take third place.
 
Els began on the back nine Thursday and flew out of the gate with four birdies in his first five holes. At the par-5 15th, Els needed only a 6-iron to reach the green in two and converted a six-foot eagle try before another birdie at 16 to get to 7-under through seven holes.
 
The reigning British Open champion parred the last two holes on his first nine but immediately returned to birdie form at No. 1. Els chipped to two feet at the short par-4 and magical numbers like 59 popped into the South African's head.
 
'When I chipped to two feet and holed for birdie at my 10th hole I must admit I began to think some silly stuff then,' said Els, whose drives averaged 315 yards on Thursday. 'It was just for a split second but then I came down to earth the hole later when I made bogey.'
 
Els dropped a shot at No. 2 - his 11th - but rebounded with a birdie at the third. He bogeyed the fourth to fall to 7-under but a birdie at the par-5 seventh returned Els to 8-under par and sole possession of first place.
 
'That is as good as I have played in my recent run of victories,' said Els. 'I made one long putt on the 12th for birdie but the rest of them weren't that long. I hit some really good shots and felt in the groove. Out of 10, my front nine was a nine, and my back nine was a seven, so I'll give myself eight out of 10 in total for the round.'
 
Els is unquestionably the hottest player in the world. He opened the PGA Tour season with a record-setting performance at the Mercedes Championships and followed a week later with a playoff win at the Sony Open in Hawaii. He finished one stroke out of first at the Caltex Masters three weeks ago but successfully defended his title at the Heineken Classic the following week.
 
Lynn was flawless on Thursday with seven birdies and no bogeys. Lynn, who tied for fourth at the Heineken Classic, just returned three weeks ago after taking 10 weeks off to buy a new house.
 
'Myself and my brother really got stuck into the house and totally redecorated the place,' said Lynn. 'It was nice to get away from the golf for a while and do something completely different although I found it was a bit of a grind near the end. It is good to be back playing.'
 
Ian Woosnam, Paul McGinley, Peter O'Malley, Chris Downes and Brett Rumford share fourth place at 5-under-par 67. Twelve players are tied for ninth at 4-under par, including Nick Faldo, Justin Rose and Thomas Bjorn.
 
Retief Goosen, who cruised to an eight-shot victory in 2002, only managed an even-par 72 on Thursday. Sergio Garcia, who injured his leg before the tournament but stayed in the event, struggled to a 2-over 74.
 
Related Links
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    Woods: Fan who yelled had 'tipped back a few'

    By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 6:37 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods stood on the 18th tee and thought he needed birdie to have a chance to win The Open. He pulled driver out of his bag, a sign he wanted to boot the ball as far down the fairway as possible.

    Woods took a mighty swat and - right in the middle of his downswing - someone yelled. Woods flinched.

    Luckily his ball still found a decent spot just off the right of the fairway.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “I’ve had things like that happen a lot in my career with people who just tried to time it,” Woods said Sunday at Carnoustie after shooting 71 to tie for sixth place. “They tipped back a few, and it’s late in the day.

    “Unfortunately, that’s part of what we have to deal with in today’s game. People are trying to yell out things to try to be on TV or be in social media or whatever it may be. That was too close to the game of play.”

    Woods hit his approach to 6 feet and missed the birdie putt. He tapped in for par to shoot even par and finish 5 under for the week, in a tie for sixth.

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    Pros melt down on Twitter as they watch Tiger

    By Grill Room TeamJuly 22, 2018, 6:30 pm

    Tiger Woods mounted a final-round charge and, for a little while, took the outright lead at Carnoustie on Sunday.

    His fellow pros were watching and tweeting like your average fans.

    We compiled some of their missives below:

    Woods would go on to finish in a tie for sixth at 5 under par for the week.

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    Woods shares emotional embrace with his kids

    By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 6:21 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods missed a birdie putt on the last hole that would’ve vaulted him into a tie for second place at The Open. It was a difficult way to end an otherwise successful week for the 14-time major champion, who is just happy to playing majors again.

    Then he walked off the 18th, saw his two children, daughter Sam and son Charlie, and they all took a moment for a long embrace. Turns out, that was the perfect way to end the week.

    “I told them I tried and I said, 'Hopefully you’re proud of your pops for trying as hard as I did,'” Woods said Sunday after putting the finishing touches on an even-par 71 to end at 5 under for the week.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “It’s pretty emotional because they gave me some pretty significant hugs there and squeezed. I know that they know how much this championship means to me and how much it feels good to be back playing again.”

    In 2008, when Woods won his last major, the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, Sam was a year old and Charlie was not yet born. They don’t know how much their father used to dominate this game, especially majors. The last time Woods won a PGA Tour event was five full years ago. Woods has joked in the past that they only know him as a YouTube sensation.

    “So, for them to understand what I was doing early in my career,” he said. “The only thing they’ve seen is my struggles and the pain I was going through. Now they just want to go play soccer with me. Man, it’s just such a great feeling.”

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    TT postscript: Not a win, but an amazing week

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 22, 2018, 6:04 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Here are a few things I think I think after Tiger Woods had a chance to win his 15th major Sunday at The Open at Carnousite:

    • Tiger shot 71-71-66-71 to finish at 5 under par and tie for sixth place.

    • When Jordan Spieth and Xander Schauffele both bogeyed the fifth hole Tiger was in the solo lead. Amazing to think that only last September he said he never knew if he’d ever play golf again. Here he was, nine months later with a chance to win a fourth claret jug. Amazing.

    • For 10 holes, Tiger was the calmest, coolest, most composed player on the golf course. Birdies at Nos. 4 and 6 looked easy, while most everyone else was struggling to make par.

    • To me, the biggest mistake of the week, and certainly of the final round, was Tiger’s decision to get cute and hit a flop shot up and over a bunker into the 11th hole. It checked up and rolled back down and off the green. He failed to get up and down and made double bogey. If he’d have pitched the ball 12-15 past the hole he’d had have a chance to save par and would’ve made no worse than bogey.

    • The double bogey felt worse when Tiger made bogey on the 12th hole. This two-hole stretch cost him three shots and he finished three shots off the lead.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    • Tiger moved to 50th in the Official World Golf Ranking, which qualifies him for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, which he has won eight times.

    • One of the best moments of the week came after Tiger’s round when he gave his kids, daughter Sam and son Charlie, long hugs. Tiger said it was especially emotional because both kids knew how much this week meant to their old man. They had only seen Tiger struggle; it was great for them to see his success.

    • Tiger: “Today I did everything the way I thought I needed to do it to win the championship. This entire week, I felt like I needed to keep building my way into this championship. It's one of those where, as I said earlier in the week, it's going to be 10, 12 guys with a chance to win it on Sunday because we're all driving the same areas. Kind of turned out that way. There are a bunch of guys packed, a bunch of guys with a chance to win, and I was one of them.”

    • Overall, an amazing week. Truly tremendous to watch.