Ernie Els’s miserable week continued with a second-round collapse at the Singapore Open on Friday, the South African’s 76 leaving him six-over for the tournament and likely to miss the cut.
The world number four lost in a play-off to Australia’s Adam Scott here last year and came into the $4-million event as one of the favourites after winning his seventh World Match-Play title at Wentworth in October.
However, after suffering food poisoning earlier in the week and constantly fending off questions over critical comments he made about the European Tour, Els’s hopes of reversing his fortunes were dashed by the demanding Serapong Course.
Eight bogeys and a sloppy back-nine of 40 left him 14 strokes behind playing partner and tournament leader Angel Cabrera of Argentina, the man he beat by a thumping 6 and 4 in the Wentworth final almost three weeks ago.
A lightning warning delayed play for 70 minutes on Friday afternoon and with several players yet to finish their second round, Els will have to wait until early on Saturday before he knows his fate.
Battling with swing
”I was battling with my swing a bit and on the greens,” the burly South African told reporters.
”I was hoping for a lot better things this week but that’s golf. I just have to move on.
”It is not the way I wanted to play obviously. I felt good before the round started and actually birdied the first hole but after that, I just could not get it together.”
Els currently heads the European order of merit but a clash of dates between the season-ending Volvo Masters and the Singapore Open, an event he has a three-year commitment to, means the South African is not in Spain to protect his lead.
Leaving the door open for four other players to overtake him at Valderrama, Els slammed the European Tour earlier this week for not doing anything to change the date of the Volvo Masters but by Friday afternoon, he was keen to forget the whole affair.
”I have said enough on the matter but it seems no one wants to let it go,” he said.
”I have just missed the cut here so I want to let it go. I hope they are happy over there [in Europe]. A lot of things have been said but the truth is the truth. Let’s just leave it at that.”
Els also maintained that should the dates clash again next year, he would be back in Singapore rather than in Europe.
”No matter what tournament is played the same week as this one, even if it’s the US Masters, I’ll honour my commitment to play this event,” he added. — Reuters