Bay Hill big boost for Els confidence

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Ernie Els believes his victory at a testing Bay Hill on Sunday has given his confidence a boost ahead of The Masters.

Ernie Els believes his victory at a testing Bay Hill on Sunday has given his confidence a boost ahead of The Masters.
The 40-year-old South African completed a second successive victory by surviving a tense finish to beat Italian Edoardo Molinari and American Kevin Na by two after the storm-hit Arnold Palmer Invitational had spilled into a fifth day.
Els, who resumed two ahead with four to play, lifted the WGC-CA Championship in Miami by a much more comfortable four-shot margin two weeks ago and this was a far nervier affair.
“It feels an eternity because the last time I won here was ’98,” the South African said on www.skysports.com.
“It was a tough finish for me – I’ve been thinking about these last four holes for the last 22 hours, so it was nice to finally get on the golf course.
“The changes (to the course) are unbelievable, it really tests your ability coming in. If you win here you can feel comfortable in majors.
“I kind of limped home today but the work I’ve been putting in is starting to pay off and obviously my short game is good, I got it up and down on the last two holes.
“But this place tests your ability so obviously it gives me confidence.”
Els, among 21 players unable to complete his final round on Sunday, saw his overnight lead cut to one when Na birdied the long 16th.
In the trees off the tee at the same hole, Els had to settle for par there, but as he saved another par from a greenside bunker on the short 17th Na found trouble down the last.
Driving into the right-hand rough led to a bogey five, dropped the Korean-born player alongside former US Amateur champion Molinari on nine under par. Both closed with three under 69s.
Els, who sank testing six-footers at the 15th and 17th, knew a bogey would be good enough at the final hole, but parred it for a 71, an 11 under aggregate and his 64th professional victory.
Molinari, meanwhile, once more overtakes his brother Francesco – fourth in the Andalucian Open yesterday – on the world rankings and has given his Ryder Cup chances another big boost.
The two World Cup winners are both in the running for debuts in September and will link up at Augusta next week for the opening major of the year.

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