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With a little help, Els earns first PGA Tour win since '04

Associated Press
Ernie Els shoots 3-under 67 in the final round to win the Honda Classic, snapping an 0-for-47 streak in PGA Tour events.

Associated Press Ernie Els shoots 3-under 67 in the final round to win the Honda Classic, snapping an 0-for-47 streak in PGA Tour events.

PALM BEACH GARDENS — Ernie Els was part of another final-round blunder. Only this time, he was the beneficiary.

Ending nearly a four-year drought between PGA Tour victories, Els shot 3-under 67 Sunday to win the Honda Classic. He finished at 6-under 274, one shot better than Luke Donald (71) and two ahead of Nathan Green (67).

But this final round will probably be best remembered for Mark Calcavecchia's chip that wouldn't stop — because that was the break Els needed to hoist a winner's trophy again.

"It has to feel even sweeter, you know, losing so many tournaments and one now going my way," said Els, who snapped an 0-for-47 skid in PGA events, dating to the 2004 American Express Championship in Ireland.

Els and Calcavecchia were tied for the lead as the sun began setting on PGA National. Calcavecchia hit into a greenside bunker at the par-3 15th, and his shot from the sand looked fine when it hit the green.

Somehow, it never stopped rolling. The ball came to rest on a rock ledge across the green. Calcavecchia walked over, tossed the ball into the water and made double bogey to give Els the lead.

"It just didn't grab and just kept rolling and rolling and rolling," said Calcavecchia, a two-time Honda winner and former Gator standout. "And that was it."

Els made par on the par-5 finishing hole, then waited to see if anyone would match his score. Donald made a 35-foot birdie at the 16th to get within one but got no closer. "To win over here, it's been really my goal," Els said. "So it's a great feeling."

Els wasted a four-shot, final-round lead in a European Tour event in Dubai, when Tiger Woods roared past him to win.

Els earned his 16th career PGA victory, and he'll jump a spot to third in the world rankings, passing Steve Stricker.

Calcavecchia (73), Robert Allenby (70) and Matt Jones (73) tied for fourth, three shots back.

"Didn't go my way," Calcavecchia said. "Wasn't my time."

Nine of the top 11 players in the Honda Classic will compete this week in the PODS Championship at Innisbrook in Palm Harbor: Els, Green, Allenby, Jones, Calcavecchia (defending champion), Mathew Goggin, John Mallinger, Alex Cejka and Brian Davis.

LPGA: In her return, Ochoa dominates

SINGAPORE — Lorena Ochoa left Annika Sorenstam and everyone else behind in the HSBC Women's Champions. Then she was at a loss for words to explain the blowout victory.

"Sometimes there is just no explanation," Ochoa said after beating Sorenstam by 11 strokes in her first start of the season. "It just happens, and it was a great win for me. Everything came together at the right place."

Competing for the first time since winning the ADT Championship in November, Ochoa shot 4-under 68 to finish at 20-under 268 for her 18th career LPGA victory.

Ochoa entered the final round with an eight-shot lead and steadily built on it through three rain delays.

Sorenstam won the B-flight, shooting 71 for her third straight top-four finish. Slowed by neck and back injuries last year, she won the season-opening SBS Open in Hawaii for her 70th LPGA title and first since September 2006, then finished fourth last week in the Fields Open.

Seminole's Brittany Lincicome shot 1-under 71 but finished at 10-over 298 to tie for 53rd.

With a little help, Els earns first PGA Tour win since '04 03/02/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 9:24am]
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