South African golfer Ernie Els has captured the World Match Play Championship for the fourth time, holding off Spaniard Sergio Garcia two-and-one, at the Wentworth Club in England.
Els, who ran out to a five-up lead after 12 holes Sunday, survived a spell of poor putting late in the match that saw his lead cut to one hole with four remaining. The South African missed makeable putts on four successive holes. The 22-year-old Garcia was playing in his first final, but problems with his driving over the closing holes spoiled his chances for a comeback win. He was forced to concede the 34th hole after driving into trees. The Spaniard hooked his drive into trees again on the 35th and conceded on the green when he knew could not win the hole.
Els won his fourth title in the 39-year history of the event, after winning three straight between 1994 and 1996. Gary Player of South Africa and Seve Ballesteros of Spain have each won the tournament five times.