In the second and final round of the 2011 Ernie Els Invitational played at Fancourt Hotel and Country Club Estate, it was host Ernie Els who led the field of Sunshine Tour stars (and a few legends) with 66 on the tougher Montagu course today.
This gave him a comfortable four-shot victory over second-placed Thomas Aiken who started a charge early in his round, but was unable to sustain the momentum.
“I started with two birdies and an eagle and was five-under after six. I really thought I was onto something, but a double bogey at my seventh hole put a stop to it and I never managed to get going again,” said Aiken after his round.
With a shotgun start at 08:30 this morning, Aiken had started his round on the 17th hole and, by the time he had completed his final hole, the 16th, he signed for a three-under 69 for a two-round total of 134.
Josh Cunliffe added another fine round of 68 to his opening 67 to finish in third, while George Coetzee was joined in fourth by young Rikus Nortje on 139. Nortje, who represented South Africa in the amateur ranks this year, recently finished in 13th spot in the Sunshine Tour Qualifying School and has sounded an early warning that he is one to look out for on next year’s Sunshine Tour schedule.
Evergreen John Bland faded a little today with a 74, while 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen added a 70 to his first-round 71 to finish in joint ninth.
In the fourball alliance competition Sunshine Tour chairman Johann Rupert and his team of Schalk Burger Snr, Rurik Gobel and Chris Potgieter stormed through the field with an incredible 98 points for a two round total of 187, beating Kevin Stone’s and Gavin Woodroffe’s teams by seven Stableford points.
The Ernie Els Invitational is played every two years at Fancourt and it has as its charitable beneficiary, the Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation. This year more than R2 million was raised for the Foundation which Ernie started in 1999 and which provides school and golf opportunities to talented young golfers from families of limited resources.