Els captures second-straight tournament
Ernie Els had to wait for a Monday finish to capture the rain-delayed Arnold Palmer Invitational for his second-straight victory on the PGA Tour.
Els closed with a one-under 71 and won for the 18th time in his USPGA Tour career and made it consecutive wins for the first time since 2003. Els is coming off a four-shot win at the World Golf Championships at Doral two weeks ago.
He rolled in an eight-foot par putt on the 18th hole, giving him a two-shot win over American Kevin Na and Edoardo Molinari of Italy.
It was his second career win at the Bay Hill course and comes 11 years after another rain-delayed tournament win.
Rain drenched the course on Sunday, forcing organizers to switch to a Monday finish. More rain on Monday morning pushed the start time back another two hours.
“The last 20 hours I couldn’t stop thinking about trying to finish this thing,” said Els, who earned $1,08-million for the victory.
Els finished at 11-under 277 and the 40-year-old plans to play the Houston Open before going to the Masters.
Els tops the PGA Tour money list with more than $3-million dollars this year.
He also moves to number seven in the world.
South African compatriot Retief Goosen (69) and Chris Couch (71) tied for fourth. Ben Curtis closed with a 74 and finished alone in sixth.
Els had a five-shot lead on Sunday afternoon and looked to be headed to an easy win until he posted a double bogey on No. 13 and bogey from the sand on 14 before the siren sounded because of an approaching storm.
Na finished with a three-under 69 on Monday. He drove into the rough on the final hole, had to lay up and missed an eight-foot par putt. He tossed his ball into the water in frustration.
“There’s no chance,” Na said when asked if he could have gone for the 18th green. “Even Tiger Woods couldn’t have gotten over the water. With the lie as wet as it is, there’s absolutely no chance.”—AFP