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It Is the `Els`s World` in the Green without Woods

Posted January. 20, 2003 22:42,   


The `Crown Prince` Ernie Els (South Africa) is dashing to his first money king title of his career by creating a dramatic come-from-behind win in extra holes at the 2003 US PGA Tour Sony Open (4,5 million dollars in total prize money).

It was the second extra hole of the Sony Open held at the 10th hole (par 4, 353 yards) in the Waialei Country Club (Par 70. 7,060 yards), Honolulu, Hawaii on the 20th.

Ells made a miraculous 18m birdie putting and grab the 810,000-dollar prize money by defeating the US PGA Tour rookie Aaron Badley (21. Australia). It was a sensational come-from-behind win after making a tie of 16 under par, 264 shots with Badley, who started the 4th round with 2 shots ahead.

With this, Els has won the two consecutive championships since the Mercedes Championship, which he recorded the US PGA Tour record of the least shots for the match (31 under par, 261 shots), and made a brilliant achievement of wining the season opener and the second match of the season since Steve Jones (America) of 1989 in 14 years.

For Els, it was a big achievement to get rid of the nightmare, `Hawaii Jinx.` He was hit by a 12m birdie from the `Emperor` Tiger Woods (America) at the second extra hole of the Mercedes Championship in 2000. And in 2001, he started the 4th round of the Mercedes Championship and lost to Jim Purik (America) in a come-from-behind loss, and he lost the sure-looking championship trophy and stopped at the third place in the Sony Open that year.

In the meantime, the `Tank` Choi, Kyong-Joo (Superior, Taylormade) showed a late effort of 2 under par, 68 shots that day but remained in the tie for the 56th place (2 under par, 278 shots).

Choi, Kyong-Joo is planning to participate on the Phoenix Open in Phoenix, Arizona on the 24th for the 3rd consecutive weeks.

Young-Sik Ahn ysahn@donga.com