Els wins Hoag Classic for his first Champions title


NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — Ernie Els won the Hoag Classic on Sunday for his first PGA Tour Champions title, birdieing the par-5 15th and 18th holes for a two-stroke victory at Newport Beach Country Club.

Making his third senior start, the 50-year-old Hall of Famer from South Africa closed with a 4-under 67 to finish at 16-under 197. He opened with a 66 and shot 64 on Saturday.

Els lost a playoff to Miguel Angel Jimenez in his debut in the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship in Hawaii, then tied for 34th last week in the Cologuard Classic in Arizona.

Fellow Hall of Famer Fred Couples, trying to win the event for the third time at age 60, finished with a 66 to tie for second with Glen Day and Robert Karlsson.

Couples, also part of the playoff in Hawaii, parred the final six holes, chunking a chip on 18 to squander a good birdie try.

Day birdied Nos. 14-17 to take the lead at 15 under, then bogeyed the 18th for a 64.

Karlsson bogeyed the 16th and parred the last two in a 66.

Defending Charles Schwab Cup champion Scott McCarron was fifth at 13 under after a 69.

Monday qualifier David Morland IV had a 71 to tie for seventh at 11 under. He opened with a 61.

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