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The Open: I’m ready to take crown, insists Els

A month after he self destructed in the US Open, Ernie Els is determined not to be the man who throws away the Open Championship at St Andrews.

Els looked on course for a third US Open title at Pebble Beach, joining eventual winner Graeme McDowell in the lead in the final round with three birdies in his first six holes, before dropping four shots in three holes around the turn.

The South African finished two strokes behind McDowell after playing the last 10 holes in five over par, and was so annoyed that he uncharacteristically left the course without speaking to waiting reporters.

Els, who yesterday apologised for doing so, missed the cut in last week's Scottish Open at Loch Lomond, but still believes he is in the sort of form to challenge for a second Open title, even if the likes of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson rediscover their form too.

“I feel like I've got a good chance this week,” said the 40-year-old, winner at Muirfield in 2002. “I've got a lot of experience and I think it'll help me.

“I guess I've just been looking forward to this week since the US Open and now that I'm here, I'm preparing well. Physically I feel really good, I'm hitting my driver good, so I feel my game is really there.

“It's just for me to really concentrate and be 100% focused on what I'm going to do this week. I feel I can do that.

“Even with Tiger playing well and Phil playing well, I think I still have a decent chance of playing well here this week and maybe having a chance.”

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