Ernie Els tumbled down the leaderboard after failing to make one birdie at Royal Birkdale during round two of The Open Championship.
The 47-year-old South African recaptured the local public’s attention on Thursday after a steady two-under opening round, but failed to replicate any of that magic on Friday as he toiled to a three-over par 73.
The two-time Open champion, the last of his victories coming in 2012, opened with a par, but dropped one on the next hole. A dozen pars followed that, before his second drop of the day at the ninth saw him move to level for the championship. Els then limited the damage with three pars, before his third and final bogey on the round on the par 3 14th saw him slip to one over.
Els, who failed to birdie both the par 5s on Friday, will be bitterly disappointed not to take advantage of the conditions, which are expected to worsen throughout the day.
The difference between Els, who recorded four birdies on Thursday, came in his approaches to the greens. After finding 72% of greens in regulation on Thursday, that number dropped to 56% on Friday, which meant he was always up against it when it came to converting any chances with the flatstick. On both days he found less than 50% of the fairways in regulation.
With the afternoon’s weather set to worsen, Els is more than likely set to improve on his current T39 placing.
Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
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