Ernie in contention – only just

Ernie Els’ seven-under-par tally places him in a six-way tie for 19th at the Deutsche Bank Championship ahead of the final round at TPC Boston on Monday.

Els, four shots behind leader Bubba Watson, must retain his position of tied 19th in order to finish 70th in the FedExCup standings and progress to the BMW Championship in two weeks time.

The ‘Big Easy’ found his magic on Saturday when he shot six-under-par 65 after turning in 32. “I’ve really worked hard on all aspects of my game. I feel like things are really starting to fall into place now,” said Els on Saturday.

Els bogeyed his first hole of the Deutsche Bank Championship, but did not make another bogey until the fourth hole of the third round. That streak of 38 bogey-free holes is his longest since the 2003 Mercedes Championships.

The three-time major winner has his sights set on making the Tour Championship. “When you’ve made Atlanta you’ve had a good year, so I’m trying to get to that week,” said Els.

Countryman Charl Schwartzel carded consecutive 66s before Sunday’s one-over-par 71, and shares seventh ahead of the final round.

Schwartzel, two shots back from leader Bubba Watson, managed a second-round front nine of 30 and was tied for first after 36 holes, but struggled in his third round and carded one-over.

Schwartzel’s game is on song, and the Masters winner should contend for first place come Monday. “You get wiser. You learn you don’t win it on the first day. You’ve got to progress, and it takes time,” said the 27-year-old.

Despite his second round 75 Rory Sabbatini remained safe, due mainly to the points gained from his share of 18th at The Barclays and his victory in the Honda Classic at the beginning of the season.

Should Sabbatini finish in his current tournament position of 72nd he will hold 28th in the FedExCup standings and comfortably progress to the BMW Championship.

Trevor Immelman was forced to withdraw from the tournament due to personal reasons.

Els has reaped the rewards of hard work thus far and will use the pressure to remain in the top 70 to drive himself in the final round. “Yeah, there’s pressure, and this is maybe something that I needed,” he said.

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