Ernie in the hunt in Louisiana

Ernie Els kept pace with the leaders at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans on Friday, and he’ll head into the weekend on eight-under-par, four strokes shy of Lucas Glover’s lead.

The Big Easy clinched a share of 13th at The Masters with a final round 69, and he reached the weekend at TPC Louisiana with similar prowess, carding rounds of 67 and 69.

“Like everybody, we put so much work into a major, so your game should be sharp. I just need to feel like I’m giving myself chances and staying patient,” he said.

A very full trophy cabinet tells the story for the big man, who has four major championships to his name, who has a good history at the Zurich Classic. He worked his way to 19-under-par for the week, eventually losing to Jason Dufner in a playoff.

“I like the course. I obviously played well here last year, and I’m just trying to set that same game plan and really wait for the course to come to me,” he said.

The experience showed on Friday at TPC Louisiana, where Els made drops at the first, third and fifth, but fought back, making birdies at 17 and 18 to finish three below the card.

“I kind of fought hard all day,” he said. “I had a couple of really bad holes in the middle of my round. But I tried to stick in there, and obviously that one on my 18th will bring us back.”

The Open Champion has been a dark horse of late, but when he pops up on the leaderboard he looks commanding. With his current hold on fifth and he’ll be interested in a win.

And his cool demeanour doesn’t show how competitive he is: Els has won the World Match Play Championship a record seven times.

Trevor Immleman and Retief Goosen snuck through on the cut line, which was set at three-under. The Goose shot a Friday 70 to stay in the money, while Immelman’s Thursday 68 kept him afloat.

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