Els rolled in the 40-foot putt at the last hole for a birdie three and a final round six-under 66 to finish on 12-under – one stroke ahead of Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie.
JOHANNESBURG – South African Ernie Els holed a monster putt on the final hole of the tournament to win by one shot in the US Champions Tour’s SAS Championship, at Prestonwood Country Club, in North Carolina on Sunday.
‘The Big Easy’ rolled in the 40-foot putt at the last hole for a birdie three and a final round six-under 66 to finish on 12-under – one stroke ahead of Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie.
The four-time major champion Els was playing three groups ahead of Montgomerie, and thought a lower score would have been needed for the win.
“I had 64 in mind. Especially on the final round, the guys, there were so many guys bunched,” said Els.
“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 just squeaked in there.”
In fact, Els also birdied the par-five 17th, holing an eight-footer there as he closed his round with two gains in a row.
It was the second victory for Els on the Champions Tour, after winning the Hoag Classic in California in March.
Els, who turns 51 on Saturday said: “It’s a crazy game,” Els said. “A couple of weeks ago I missed a very short putt to get in a play-off and today I make a 40-footer. Figure that one out.”
Els credited fellow Champions Tour player Mark O’Meara of America for a putting tip which helped him to the victory.
“Just by chance I saw him on the putting green the other day and we just started chatting a little bit,” Els said.
“He uses the same putter that I use, so we started talking a little bit and I said, `Hey, have a look here.′ I didn’t have a great experience at Pebble obviously a couple of weeks ago. He looked at me, and he’s a great putter and knowing a man that long, he gave me a nice assist.
“He told me what he felt I should do and here I am. So, I owe Mark O’Meara.”
African News Agency (ANA)