Ernie Els came from five shots behind Bernhard Langer to win the Hoag Classic, his first win since the 2020 SAS Championship.
Els shot a five-under 65 to pip Steve Stricker by one on thirteen-under-par in what was the perfect time to find your Sunday best, going bogey-free for the round.
The Big Easy started quickly with three birdies in a row early on before adding another on the 8th. After a run of eight straight pars, the four-time major winner birdied two of his last three holes to get over the line.
“I saw the weather report this morning and it looked like it was going to get gusty and maybe a little rainy, and that’s exactly what happened,” said Els, who also won the Hoag in 2020. “So I felt if I could get off to a decent start and get myself established and take it from there, and that’s exactly what happened. I almost played a perfect round. If I didn’t miss that little short little putt on 15, it would have been fantastic.
“But it’s still fantastic obviously winning. Yeah, this is hard scoring. You know, the last five, six holes were tougher than we normally get it. Just excited to win again. I haven’t won too many times out here. You’ve got to start somewhere.”
A two-over 73 saw Langer fade out to seventh place on ten-under and he will have to wait another week at least to break the Champions Tour win record.
“Basically came down to the putter, I didn’t putt well,” Langer said. “I missed two very short ones and had whatever, a couple of three-putts. Didn’t play too bad, I played good enough to shoot whatever, 1 or 2 under or something, that would have done it, but the putter was not good enough.”
Also in seventh were Pádraig Harrington and Darren Clarke. Harrington shot a blemish free 66 while Clarke threw in a mixed bag with a 69.
Leave a comment