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Els finding some early form
Last updated: 11th January 2013
South Africa's Ernie Els started his first round of the New Year in almost perfect fashion, reeling off three consecutive birdies at the Volvo Golf Champions European Tour event on Thursday.
However, Els was quickly brought back to earth again with a double-bogey five at the challenging par three fourth, and 'The Big Easy' admitted that his mind began to race when he pulled his tee-shot on the fourth on Thursday.
"The first tee shot, I was thinking, this is the first tee shot of my new year," Els said ahead of Friday's second round.
"Normally I'm very focused but I was actually, 'here we go, one of those moments, like let's have a good year'.
"To start the new year off with a birdie and make a long putt on the second hole, you're basically playing to the back of the cup, and I thought, here we go.
"The second you think that in this game... then you go double bogey."
Els seemed to be nearing his best again in 2012, winning his first major in a decade and ended Thursday's round in tough weather conditions with a good round of 68.
"I think I knuckled down nicely," he said.
"I had to get the ball up-and-down numerous times, so it was a very interesting round.
"It's a tough day, so I'm just pleased to be able to sit here and see what happens the next few days."
"The wind... it makes the golf course play the way it is," he said.
"That's why we call it 'the grand old lady.' It can be a tough golf course and if the weather conditions come, it's almost like a links course.
"When it's very calm, you can kill it and then the wind comes, but in any case, I'd like to see wind.
"I think it's going to turn. Hopefully this weather comes through. That makes the first five holes very difficult. I don't mind."
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the annual venue for the Nedbank Golf Challenge is ranked in the top 60 in the world and in the top two in South Africa.
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