PGA Tour

Els under pressure to perform

Ernie Els (File)
Ernie Els (File)

Johannesburg - The quest of Ernie Els to make the top-70 of the FedExCup Playoffs is poised on a knife edge.

Els tees it up on Friday at the Deutsche Bank Championship at the TPC Boston in Norton, Massachusetts, needing a top-25 finish or better to make sure he finishes inside the top-70 to advance to the next playoff event - the BMW Championship.

The Big Easy fell to 91st in the standings after missing the cut at last week's Barclays Championship and now the pressure is on for a top performance.

"I'm not making it easy for myself, but at least I'm in," said Els.

"No more second chances, though.

"I need to perform this week."

Els said he would be hoping for a fast start in the first round to gain some momentum.

"The thing is, with one good result you can really turn things around very quickly, so that's obviously my goal this week.

"At the very least, the absolute bare minimum, I'm probably going to need a top-25 finish in order to progress to the BMW Championship."

Els was placed in a similar position in the 2011 standings, where he eventually made it to 67th but missed out on the final event of the playoffs where only the top-30 advanced.

"It could have been worse, though.

"When I finished my second round I was projected to fall to 102nd in the FedExCup points' list and with only the top-100 moving on to this week's Deutsche Bank, that would have been ‘season over' for me."

Els, 43, could not quite explain missing the cut last week to leave himself in this precarious position.

"I like the golf course at Liberty National and always enjoy staying in New York.

"More importantly, I was also feeling pretty good after a final round 65 in the Wyndham Championship, so it's hard to explain shooting five-over par and missing the cut in The Barclays.

"My game was a bit off, but still I should have scored better than I did. It was a frustrating couple of days, to be honest."

The four time Major-winner said he would hope to rekindle memories of a top finish in the event five years ago.

"In recent years I've not done much here, but in 2008 I started 66-65 and ended up finishing tied-third at 14-under par.

"I could really use that kind of form again this week. This playoff series creates a strange kind of pressure, very different to trying to win a golf tournament, and it certainly focuses the mind.

"You want to stay the distance and be one of the 70 players who tees it up in the BMW and then one of the 30 who plays in the Tour Championship."

Fellow South African Tim Clark is right on the bubble at 70th in the standings, and to ensure he progresses he will need a top-50 finish or better.

Rory Sabbatini is better placed at 56th and should make it through.

Charl Schwartzel is the top South African player at number 29, but would aim to move well inside the top 30 with a good tournament.

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