Els waits, but wins again at Bay Hill
Orlando, FL (Sports Network) - Ernie Els had to wait an extra day, then two
hours more, but finally made his way to the winner's circle on Monday at the
Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.
Els had to wait out a Monday finish after rain drenched the course on Sunday.
There was still lingering rain in the morning so the original start time of
10:00 a.m. (et) was pushed back to noon.
Els only needed to finish four holes, but he did it in even-par and it was
enough for a two-shot win. Els shot a one-under 71 in the final round and won
the championship at 11-under 277.
This was the second consecutive win on tour for Els. Two weeks ago, he hoisted
the trophy at the WGC-CA Championship at Doral, and on Monday he became the
first player to win multiple times on tour in 2010.
That may make him the favorite for The Masters at Augusta National in less
than two weeks.
"This place tests your abilities and that gives me a lot of confidence
obviously," said Els. "If you win here, you can feel comfortable at majors I
This was Els' second win at Bay Hill, but the other came in 1998.
"I was a bit slimmer back then," joked Els.
Edoardo Molinari (69) and Kevin Na (69) shared second place at nine-under 279.
Retief Goosen (69) and Chris Couch (71) tied for fourth at minus-eight.
Els saw his five-shot lead trimmed to just two after a double-bogey at the
13th hole and a bogey at the 14th Sunday afternoon. He was 11-under par and
waiting to tee off at No. 15 when play was suspended on Sunday.
After a two-hour wait on Monday, the Big Easy came back with a two-stroke
"I've been thinking about these last four holes for 22 hours," said Els.
Els missed the green at the 15th, but chipped to five feet. He sank the clutch
par save and needed to because Na two-putted for birdie at the par-five 16th
to get within one.
Els hit a drive well right of the fairway at 16 and pitched back to the
fairway. His third stopped 35 feet from the hole and he two-putted for his
Na hit a beautiful tee ball to 17 feet at the 17th, but was unable to make
Els' tee shot at 17 plugged into a bunker short of the green. He blasted out
to six feet and made yet another tough par putt to stay one in front.
Na drove into the right rough at the demanding closing hole. He couldn't get
to the green and pitched out, but his third landed 14 feet from the stick,
giving him a chance at par.
Na's putt missed and he walked off with bogey. Els was two clear and missed
the putting surface at the last. He chipped to five feet and holed the par
putt for the victory.
"It was a tough finish for me today," said Els, who pocketed $1.08 million for
the win. "I kind of limped home today. I had the golf tournament basically in
the bag. It gives me a lot of confidence."
Former British Open champion Ben Curtis shot a two-over 74 and took sixth at
J.P. Hayes (70), D.J. Trahan (70), Ryuji Imada (70) and Kevin Streelman (71)
shared seventh place at six-under 282.
NOTES: With the victory, Els moves atop the FedEx Cup points race for the
first time since its inception over three years ago...This was the second
Monday finish on tour this year...Derek Lamely won in Puerto Rico in a Monday
finish earlier this month...The tour heads to the Houston Open on Thursday
with Paul Casey as the defending champion. Els is in the field as well for the
final test before The Masters.