Reuters - Sun, 14 Mar 22:59:00 2010
South African Ernie Els ended his barren two year spell by winning the WGC-CA Championship by four strokes after a classy six-under-par final round of 66 held off compatriot Charl Schwartzel.
Els last won on the tour in March 2008 at the Honda Classic, and his victory comes just a week after he tied for 67th at the same event in Palm Beach Gardens.
"I'm 40 years old but I still had my hairs on end," said a beaming Els after Schwartzel, 15 years his junior, bogeyed three times on the back nine while Els held his nerve with two birdies down the stretch in his bogey-free round.
American Matt Kuchar, Germany's Martin Kaymer and Ireland's Padraig Harrington were tied in third, seven strokes behind Els.
Schwartzel had been in outstanding form, winning two European Tour events already this season, but was unable to match Els's steeliness after the turn and momentum swung to the twice US Open champion on 14 when he saved par with a magnificent 24-foot putt to maintain the one stroke lead he had from the front nine.
Schwartzel's challenge then evaporated on 15 when he chipped out of the front greenside bunker and rolled into another sand trap at the back and bogeyed.
The two stroke advantage with three holes remaining was always going to be tough for the 25-year-old to make up and it was all over on the par-four 17th when Schwartzel found rough and then missed a seven foot putt for par.
Els, who made just five bogeys all week, found the green in two and then sunk home a four foot birdie putt and ensured the final hole was just a formality.
"He played flawless golf today, if you make six birdies and no bogeys on a windy day like this you are almost bound to win," said Schwartzel.
"But I played really well and this shows me that I can play against the best in the world. My time will come, I suppose."