PGA Tour Champions: Ernie Els claims victory with final-round surge in North Carolina
Ernie Els saved his best for last. Surging eight spots up the leaderboard with a final-round 66 (his best score of the weekend), Els (...)
Ernie Els saved his best for last.
Surging eight spots up the leaderboard with a final-round 66 (his best score of the weekend), Els came from behind Sunday to win a tightly contested SAS Championship at Prestonwood Country Club. The South African now has a second PGA Tour Champions win to add to a resume that includes 19 PGA Tour victories and 47 international titles.
Els shot 70 and 68 respectively the first two rounds, and a bogey on No. 3 Sunday did not help his chances of making a comeback. But the 50-year old proceeded to rattle off three straight birdies on Nos. 6-8 and add four more on the back nine. He finished the weekend 12-under par, one shot clear of the field.
“I had 64 in mind,” said Els when asked if he had a particular target score for the day. “You know, especially on the final round, there were so many guys bunched. I was coming from 6 under, I reckoned 14 under was maybe a good score, but then the conditions helped out and it became really tough. So 66 was just, just squeaked in there.”
Second-place goes to Colin Montgomerie of Scotland, who was tied for pole position going into the final round. Although the 57-year old had won seven times before on the PGA Tour Champions (and 42 times abroad), he was unable to take advantage of the opportunity. Montgomerie fired a 2-under 70 (three birdies, one bogey) to finish 11 under.
After rising past 12 opponents during Saturday’s third round, Vijay Singh secured third place at 10 under with a 70 of his own (four birdies, two bogeys). The Fiji native added another top-5 finish to a decorated career that includes 34 PGA Tour wins, 22 international victories and a FedExCup title in 2008.
Although he just missed the podium, Gene Sauers of Georgia went on quite the Sunday run. The 58-year old’s seven-birdie, two-bogey performance vaulted him 18 spots up the leaderboard, where he T-4 along with Robert Karlsson, Kirk Triplett, David Toms and Woody Austin.
The PGA Tour Champions will return Oct. 16-18 in Richmond, Virginia for the Dominion Energy Charity Classic.