Els finishes 4th in year’s 1st senior major championship

Ernie Els fired the best closing round of the year’s first senior major championship on Sunday as his closing six-under-par 66 took him to a share of fourth in the Regions Tradition in Birmingham, Alabama.

He finished on 11-under-par for the week, seven strokes out of the play-off which decided the winner. In the play-off, Alex Cejka of Germany defeated American Steve Stricker on the first extra hole, making par to Stricker’s bogey. The pair was four strokes clear of third-place finisher Robert Karlsson of Sweden.

Els shared fourth with Jerry Kelly of the US, and they were two strokes ahead of Bernhard Langer of Germany and Australia’s David McKenzie.

Retief Goosen finished with a three-under 69 to take up eighth together with Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland, while David Frost finished down in a share of 66th after his closing three-over 75.

In regular PGA Tour action, Charl Schwartzel continued his recent run of solid form as he finished in a share of 14th behind the return win of Rory McIlroy in the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow in North Carolina.

Schwartzel finished the tournament at two-under, eight shots behind McIlroy who was one stroke ahead of Mexico’s Abraham Ancer. Viktor Hovland of Norway was a further shot back in third with American Keith Mitchell. Erik van Rooyen missed the cut.

On the Korn Ferry Tour, Tyrone van Aswegen finished in a share of 25th on five-under in the Simmons Bank Open in Nashville, Tennessee. The tournament was won by Austin Smotherman of the United States on 16-under. Dawie van der Walt missed the cut.

In Japan, Zimbabwe’s Scott Vincent closed with a 68 in the Japan Players Championship in Togichi. That took him to a share of 21st at 10-under for the tournament, five shots behind winner Naoyuki Kataoka of Japan. Shaun Norris was on nine-under in 28th after he carded a final-round one-under 71. Jbe’ Kruger was 58th on three-under for the tournament.

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