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Els wins Memorial by Four Shots


Winner, Ernie Els.
Photo - Getty images

Ernie Els secured a four stroke victory over Fred Couples at the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio on Sunday, by sinking a pair of birdies on the last two holes. They completed his second consecutive round of 66 and gave him an 18 under par total of 270. This was his second PGA Tour win of 2004, his third worldwide. Els' short game was incredible as illustrated by the fact that he needed just 100 putts over the four days and especially on Sunday, when everything just seemed to drop.
Playing partner and runner-up, Fred Couples, shot a round of 68 which included just one dropped shot on the final hole. He took the lead briefly on the fourth hole and stayed within a couple of shots right to the end. "I hung in there," Couples said. "I was right there the whole time, which was a great feeling. I lost to the best player by far." This runner-up finish, following on from his tied sixth place in the Masters, moves Couples back up into the World top twenty and shows that he can still turn it on when it matters.


Fred Couples.
(Getty Images)


Tiger Woods.
(Getty Images)

Tiger Woods started an early challenge with birdies on 4, 5 and 7  but couldn't make up any more ground on the back nine. Having said that, he didn't drop any shots either, finishing with 11 straight pars despite a few wayward shots. He is certainly the "King of Recovery" and a prime example was the par 4, 14th hole on Sunday. He found the water from the tee, dropped out, played his approach through the back of the green into the crowd and then, while everyone is wondering whether he'll drop one shot or two, he lofts the ball onto the green and it rolls ten feet into the cup for par. Great stuff, just like watching Seve in his heyday.
It was good to see England's Justin Rose hold it together for the full four days this week, after letting early leads disappear, then finishing outside the top ten at the Masters (T22) and again at the Volvo PGA Championship (T11). A solid weekend of 69-71 earned him fourth place, one shot behind Tiger Woods, with an eleven under par total of 277.

K.J. Choi was a shot further back in fifth, while sixth place was shared by defending champion Kenny Perry and Stephen Ames who extends his run of straight top-tens to five.


 Justin Rose.
(Getty Images)

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by Roy Doty

 

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