Future looks bright, says Els

Ernie Els came up just short of forcing a playoff with Phil Mickelson at the WGC-HSBC Champions on Sunday but was delighted to walk away from a week of golf where he felt he recaptured his putting touch.

The three-times major winner, who failed to add to his 60 victories as a professional this year, stormed to a nine-under-par 63 for second place and a new course record at Sheshan International.

“This week was a big week,” Els said afterwards. “I made a lot of putts. My short game is back.
So I’m feeling good about my future again.”

The South African said a new ball he had played with this week for the first time had a been a big factor in his display, which also included a hole-in-one on Friday.

“I’m looking forward to the future now and I think my equipment is now spot on,” added Els, who enjoyed previous success in Shanghai with a runaway 13-stroke victory at the 2005 Asian Open.

“Today, if you gave me 63 before I played, I obviously would have taken it. I was thinking 64, but still came up a bit short. But I can’t complain.” Els admitted he chose the wrong equipment on the 18th, selecting a wood rather than an iron to hit his second shot which splashed into the middle of the lake.

The mistake led to his only bogey of the day and possibly cost him a crack at a playoff with Mickelson.

“Basically I duffed it but I can’t think about that,” said the 40-year-old, who started the day seven shots behind Mickelson.

“For me to come back all of the way, to actually share the lead at that point, was quite nice.”

Els, who pocketed $675 000, now shares the Sheshan International course record with Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and Japan’s Daisuke Maruyama, who also bettered the old mark of 64 on Sunday.—Reuters

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