Ernie Els made a spirited charge at third-round leader Steven Alker and his four-shot lead entering the final round of the PGA Tour Champions Charles Schwab Cup Championship on Sunday, but his six-under-par 65 came up just short.
Els, together with Canadian Stephen Ames, finished on 17-under-par for the season-ending tournament, just one shot behind the New Zealander Alker. Alker, who took second place on the points standings behind the absent Steve Stricker, birdied nine to get to 18-under then parred all the holes from 10 to 18.
Els could have tied Alker with a birdie on the reachable par-five 18th, but his second shot peeled off by only a couple of yards and rinsed in the pond guarding the right side of the green.
“I had 208 to the front,” said Els, who finished third in the Charles Schwab Cup race behind Stricker and Alker. “I can hit a five-iron 205 in perfect conditions, so I had to get on it to get to the front. After you hit a cut swinging really hard, you’ve got to get out of the way quickly and I kind of got out of the way too quickly, kind of hung it out. I hit it solid, but too far right.”
The Big Easy had charged furiously with five birdie son the front nine, but he managed just one – on the 17th – on the way home.
Retief Goosen finished with his second successive three-under-par 68 to move to 12-under for the tournament and a share of 12th with YE Yang of Korea. That saw him finish 26th on the Charles Schwab Cup standings.