Ernie Els shines at own invitational

It was the Big Easy of Old who blitzed round the Outeniqua course in 62 strokes in today’s first round of his own Ernie Els Invitational, which is being played at Fancourt Hotel and Country Club Estate.

Eight seemingly effortless birdies and an eagle on the par-five 17th saw Els finish three ahead of compatriot Retief Goosen, who shot 65, also on the Outeniqua course.

Best of the day on the slightly tougher Montagu course was James Kamte, who shot an excellent 68, having gone five-under for the first nine holes.

Joining Kamte in the group at four-under is Tim Clark, amazingly playing Fancourt’s well-known parkland courses, the Outeniqua and Montagu, for the first time.

“My 68 came about through four birdies, although with the tees forward as they were, it did not feel like a very good score. But I’m really enjoying being here playing in my first Ernie Els Invitational, it’s a fun way to finish the year.”

The Ernie Els Invitational presented by Absa is a two-round charity Pro-Am offering R300 000 in prize money for the 32 pros invited by Els to play.

Funds raised go to the Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation, which looks after about 25 talented young golfers from families of limited resources. They are based at a hostel at Fancourt, where they receive intensive golf coaching and attend local high schools in the George area.

Els was in a buoyant mood after his round, saying: “I am having a great time here at Fancourt.
Being among friends and raising money for a great cause is a fun way to end the year.” - Sapa