South African golf icon Ernie Els’ 100th Major celebrations were dampened by an opening nine over par 80 at the PGA Championship, writes WADE PRETORIUS.
Much of the week has been spent lauding the South African’s longevity at the top of the game but golf had other ideas for the Big Easy’s special occasion during the first round of the 99th playing of the championship.
Ernie opened with a bogey on the par 5 10th hole and would make two before by the time he stood on the 15th tee box. He failed to take advantage of the second par 5 and was forced to settle with a par before he entered the Green Mile – the brutal closing stretch at Quail Hollow.
A double bogey saw him plummet to five over par before his lone birdie – a two at the 17th – saw him pull one back before consolidating with a par on the 18th.
He began his back nine with a double on 1 before a bogey on 3 and his third double at the seventh saw him slump to nine over par. Fortunately, he managed to somewhat limit the damage with two pars to close.
His tally matches his opening round from the 2016 Masters when he suffered a nine on the opening hole.
At the time of writing, just three players had worse opening rounds.
Photo: Warren Little/Getty Images
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