Ernie Els got his revenge on Tiger Woods, blowing him and Davis Love III away Sunday and leaving the rest of the field behind in a 36-hole final round to win the Bay Hill Invitational.
In a tantalizing pairing that featured the last three winners of major championships played on American soil, Els opened up a six-stroke lead with a 7-under-par 65 in the morning round.Els, who blew an eight-stroke lead to Woods in the final round and lost to him in a playoff at the Johnnie Walker Classic in January, closed with a 73 to finish at 14-under 274.
By the time he tapped in for par on the last hole, Woods and Love were nowhere to be found.
Jeff Maggert, who finished with rounds of 69-68, and Bob Estes finished four strokes back at 278. Bernhard Langer and Mark Calcavecchia, who won last week at the Honda Classic, tied for third at 279.
Woods and Love, who shared a two-stroke lead over Els when the marathon day began, wound up 10 strokes behind.
"I was kind of worked up this morning, playing with Tiger and Davis, probably two of the best players in the world," said Els, who earned $360,000 for winning. "I was keen to go, ready to roll and had my putter going. This was my day in the sun."
Woods, who had led the PGA Tour with a final-round average of 67.75, had a Sunday to forget.
He struggled off the tee and with his approach shots, leaving several of them out to the right, and he was bedeviled once again by his putter.
Woods closed with rounds of 73 and 76, and tied for 13th. It was the first time in five tournaments this year that he failed to finish in the top 10.
It also extended his winless streak on the PGA Tour to 12 starts, dating to the Western Open in July, although the Johnnie Walker Classic in Thailand had a strong international field.
That tournament was still burning in Els' mind when he began play on a cold, breezy morning at the Bay Hill Club.
Els, who won his second U.S. Open in June and is ranked No. 2 in the world, bit his lip when Woods finished off his incredible comeback in Thailand, cementing his status as No. 1 in the world.
"Maybe the tides will turn," Els said earlier this week.
He started the final day two strokes behind Woods and PGA champion Love, but showed right away that he would be a factor by firing his approach into 10 inches on the first hole for birdie.
Els' smooth swing and easy gait can make it look as though every round is just a walk in the park, although his intensity was clear early on. He swung his putter in frustration after missing one of three birdie tries inside 15 feet, and pumped his fist when his birdie on his ninth hole caught Woods at 10-under.
Love fell out of the hunt quickly. He dumped his approach from a fairway bunker into the water on No. 13, then got rattled when a spectator yelled, "C'mon Davis, this isn't the Ryder Cup."
He took double bogey on that hole, then followed with a three-putt from 40 feet for another bogey.
Woods wasn't much better off.
His chances of winning began to fade on the second nine of the morning round. He failed to birdie both par 5s, and made bogey on two of the last three holes.
Els, meanwhile, was simply unstoppable. With irons covering just about everyflagstick - his 3-iron into the 218-yard second hole stopped 4 feet away - he finally got his putter to cooperate.
Els one-putted the first four holes on the second nine and birdied three of the last four holes to open a huge advantage.
He stumbled in the afternoon, but by then it was too late.
Woods' shoulders slumped with every errant approach until he, too, sensed there was no way to catch Els this time. He often walked the fairways joking with Love, as Els marched on ahead of them alone.
Douglass-Coody win Senior Legends
AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. - Dale Douglass' 25-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole gave him and partner Charles Coody the win Sunday at the best-ball Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf tournament.
The Coody-Douglass team edged out Hugh Baiocchi and David Graham after the two teams finished the 54-hole senior event at 24-under par 194.
The win enabled Coody and Douglass to become the first golfers to capture both the Legendary Division (ages 60-69) and the overall Legends title since the tournament went to three divisions in 1987.
Coody and Douglass each received first place checks of $150,000 for their efforts, after splitting a check for $40,000 yesterday when they finished atop the 36-hole Legendary division.