Monday, December 10, 2007

Taking One From Phil's Book

Ernie Els had a meltdown of Mickelson proportions on Sunday in the final round of the Dunhill Championship on the European/Sunshine Tours. Just in case you haven't heard about it, here's the rundown on Els' disastrous final hole.

A 60th victory looked to be virtually in the bag when he arrived at Leopard Creek's treacherous par-5 18th hole in the final round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship yesterday with a two-shot lead.

Fifteen minutes later, after twice hitting into the water that surrounds the island green, Els had a triple-bogey eight on his card and Bickerton was the unlikely champion, the Englishman closing with a 68 for a 13-under 275 aggregate, and Els slipping to a 73 for 276 to tie for second with Englishman Lee Slattery.

After finding the fairway with his drive at No 18, Els elected to go for the green in two. But he miss-hit the approach, landing in the drink short of the green. Now playing four, he reloaded only to watch in dismay as his pitch shot rolled over the green and down the slope, again into a watery grave.

Now in shock along with the fans and playing his sixth shot, he desperately needed to get down in two from 100 metres out just to squeeze into a playoff. He did hit a good shot, to about six feet, but missed the putt and victory in this 2008 European Tour event - and the R1,6-million that goes with it, was Bickerton's.
I am yet to see the highlights of the meltdown, but I'm sure they're on Youtube somewhere. I'll take a look and post them here.

Even still, John Bickerton was in shock to win the event. He seemed to genuinely feel bad for Ernie in the interviews I've read and seen. But, you can't exactly fault Bickerton for being unapologetic about securing his playing rights through 2010.

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