Els back with a win
'Big Easy' returns to winning form in Florida
Last Updated: 03/03/08 9:46am
Els: Four early birdies
South African Ernie Els claimed his first victory on the PGA Tour in nearly four years in the Honda Classic in Palm Beach, Florida on Sunday.
The world number four fired a closing round of 67 to win by a single shot from England's Luke Donald on six under par.
Donald had been one of three players entering the final round with a slender lead but struggled in the windy conditions as all three posted over-par rounds.
In contrast, Els picked up four birdies in the first seven holes to take control of the tournament and he never relinquished it despite a bogey at the penultimate hole.
Donald, who offset four dropped shots with three birdies, needed another birdie at the 18th to earn a play-off but his approach missed the green and the resulting chip came up short.
"Chasing you need tough conditions because if the wind wasn't blowing the leader shoots 66 and you've got no chance," Els said.
"So I was happy that the wind blew and I knew that I'm not too bad of a wind player.
"I've played a lot of golf around the world, and obviously the British Open, so I felt quite comfortable with that.
"This has been a really wonderful week, never shooting over par on a very, very difficult golf course. So I'm very pleased."
Els' lead was briefly threatened by co-overnight leaders Mark Calcavecchia and rookie Matt Jones, who were level for the day on six under heading to the 15th.
But the veteran American had a momentum-stopping double-bogey while Jones also dropped a shot, and Calcavecchia went on to bogey the 18th with Aussie Jones also carding a double on the way home.
Their capitulation left Nathan Green in third place after a round of 67, while another Australian Robert Allenby earned a tie for fourth with Calcavecchia and Jones on three under par.