Ernie chokes

2007-12-10 00:00

Ernie Els suffered a final hole collapse to hand England’s John Bickerton a third European Tour title in the Alfred Dunhill Championship yesterday.

The world number five came to the par-five 18th hole at Leopard Creek Country Club with a two-shot lead over Bickerton, who had earlier fired a classy four-under-par 68 to finish on 13-under.

But the triple major champion twice found the water surrounding the green to leave with a triple-bogey eight, finishing one stroke behind Bickerton on 12-under-par.

England’s Lee Slattery was tied with Els in second place after a solid one-under-par 71.

The 37-year-old Bickerton did not watch the closing hole of the tournament and was in disbelief when he was told he had won.

“I’m in shock. I was just around the corner talking to a cameraman and I thought I might have a chance of finishing second,” he said.

“I had no idea what was happening behind me and it’s all a bit sudden.”

Bickerton, who began the day four strokes behind Els, made a fast start courtesy of an eagle three at the second hole.

He picked up another birdie at the par-four sixth hole, but his putter let him down on nine and 10 as he missed two short par putts.

The Dubai resident was solid thereafter and collected another three birdies, including a 20-foot putt for a three at 17, while not dropping another shot through to the close.

Slattery may have had a chance of winning, but missed a four-foot birdie putt at 13 to draw level with Els, pushed his second shot into the water on the 15th and then left a 10-foot birdie putt on 18 that would have forced a playoff with Bickerton on the edge of the hole.

“Ernie will be gutted, I shook his hand but what can you say? I feel bad for him, but he’s won a lot and he’ll win a lot more,” Bickerton said.

“I said I was coming here to just enjoy the week, but I felt comfortable throughout and I putted solidly, that’s how you make a score,” said Bickerton, who was the only golfer to be under par for all four rounds.

— Reuters.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Senior Web Developer

Cape Town
Mass Staffing Projects
R30 000.00 - R55 000.00 Per Month


Cape Town
Professional Career Services
R215 999.00 - R216 000.00 Per Year

Collections Team Leader

Western Cape
Ultimate Search
R18 000.00 - R20 000.00 Per Month

Property [change area]

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.