Ernie Els and fellow PGA Tour ‘old-timer' David Toms gave Europe's newest major champions Martin Kaymer and Graeme McDowell a lesson in the art of finishing at the Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda yesterday.
Big Easy Els, 41 last Sunday, pipped Toms (43), for the $600,000 first prize by one stroke after a second round 69 at Port Royal left him on five-under-par, while Ryder Cup comrades Kaymer and G-Mac pocketed $225,000 each in a tie for third on three-over.
Toms looked likely to hold on to his overnight lead as he chipped in for birdie at 12 and for par at 14. Yet Els conjured up a splendid hat-trick of birdies on the back nine to add a second ‘Pink Jacket' to the one he won in 1997.
Kaymer landed two birdies in the final four holes of his level par 71 to tie with McDowell, who signed for a 73 after running into serious bunker trouble for the second day in succession — this time making double-bogey seven out of a greenside bunker at the seventh.
Rory McIlroy fought the mother of all battles with his golf swing at the Egyptian Open in Cairo yesterday. Ireland's World No 9 finished with a hat-trick of birdies to sneak under par and spare his blushes. A first round 71 left him tied 22nd — six shy of leader Alessandro Tadini's sizzling 65.
McIlroy (21) was hot favourite to win at Mirage City Golf Club this week after being paid a reputed €200,000 to play in and promote this Challenge Tour event.
Yet he looked more likely to miss the cut as he carded four bogeys, two birdies and nine pars on his first 15 holes.
Having made subtle adjustments to his swing since the Ryder Cup, McIlroy admitted that his front nine of one-over-par 37 was “probably the worst nine I've played all year.”
“I hit two fairways and three greens which tells the story really — I think I'd 14 putts on the front nine for one over and got up and down from a flowerbed on the ninth, so you're probably getting the picture there,” he said.
“I spent two hours on the range in the morning working on the swing changes I've been trying to make, but I didn't quite trust it on the course,” he added.
Meanwhile Gareth Maybin is looking to improve his 59th position in The Race to Dubai rankings at the Castello Masters at Club de Campo del Mediterraneo starting today.
Maybin has fellow Irishman Darren Reynolds working as caddie for the remainder of the season, with former caddie Davy Jones going back to teaching at Royal Portrush.
“Darren and I are going to do the next few weeks and we'll see how it goes,” said Maybin. “I played Dubai last year and that's still the goal this year, to stay inside the top 60.
“I've got a handful of events left so all I need is a decent week, while that first win would really take care of everything.”