Els wins Sony Open

Updated: 25 February 2007 08:48 IST

South Africa's Ernie Els outlasted 21-year-old Australian Aaron Baddeley in a playoff on Sunday to win the Sony Open.

Honolulu: In a thrilling battle that ended with an unlikely birdie, South Africa's Ernie Els outlasted 21-year-old Australian Aaron Baddeley in a playoff on Sunday to win the Sony Open. Els became the first player in 14 years to win the first two PGA Tour events of the season. Steve Jones in 1989 was the last player to win the opening two events on tour. "I was just trying to stay alive," Els said. "All of a sudden, I win the tournament". Els appeared to be a beaten man when he missed the 318-metre 10th green to the left and chipped through the green, some 16.5 metres from the hole. Instead, Els rammed home the putt - just like Tiger Woods did to him three years ago at Kapalua - and won on the second playoff hole when the Baddeley's 6-metre birdie putt hung on the lip. Els closed with a 3-under 67, while Baddeley had a 69 as both finished at 16-under 264. For Baddeley, it was a crushing end to his debut as a PGA Tour member. With steely nerves and a game that belies his 21 years, Baddeley holed a 3.6-metre birdie putt on the 18th hole to force a playoff, made another birdie from 1.6 metres to continue and was in much better shape than Els on No. 10, the second playoff hole. He never dreamed Els would make it. "It was a heck of a putt," Baddeley said. "I'm disappointed because I had a chance to win. But I'm happy because I made Ernie work for it, and I didn't have my A-game today". It was a stunning conclusion, and a great sendoff for Els. He earned $810,000, pushing him to $1.9 million on the money list. (AP)
Topics : Golf
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