Ernie Els carded his third four-under-par 68 of the week to finish third on the PGA Tour Champions’ Regions Tradition on 14-under-par and seven shots behind eventual winner, Steve Stricker of the United States, on Sunday.
Stricker was in scintillating form this week, signing for scores of 65, 68, 66 and final-round 68 to claim a six-shot victory over Padraig Harrington.
Els, however, was enjoying a good form of his own as the man known as “The Big Easy” produced three rounds of 68 and a 70 for a top-five finish in Birmingham, Alabama.
Els was two-under after the first three holes thanks to back-to-back birdies on the first and second holes and a par on the third. That was followed by the only bogey he made on the front nine – on the fourth. Four straight pars followed before the legendary South African found another birdie on the front stretch, this time on nine.
Coming home, Els knew that any big numbers might hurt his chances and from the 10 through to the 12th, he was content with taking pars. Then, a birdie came along. This was on the 13th and again on the 15th, Els found joy as he birdied the par-five 15th. He made par on 16, and dropped on 17 but recovered swiftly to close off with a birdie on 18.
On a tournament total of five-under-par, Retief Goosen finished in a share of 26th after rounds of 69, 73, 74 and his closing 67. In the final round, Goosen made seven pars and two birdies on the front nine, on the first and seventh holes.
David Frost placed T53 on three-over-par in what was a tough week for the South African golfer.