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Els Wins Heineken Classic in Australia - 2002-02-03


South African golfer Ernie Els routed the competition for a five-stroke victory at the Heineken Classic in Melbourne, Australia, leading the event from start to finish.

Els fired a 3-under-par 69 Sunday for a four-round total of 17-under (202), finishing well ahead of a threesome tied for second place, Australians Peter Fowler and Peter O'Malley, and David Howell of Britain.

Els started the final round with a 4-shot lead. Australian star Greg Norman made a move, pulling up to just 2 shots back, but then fell out of contention. Els used an eagle on the 10th hole at the Royal Melbourne course to rebuild a 5-shot lead, which he carried to the finish with a string of pars.

Meanwhile, Professional golf tour rookie Pat Perez of the United States birdied the final two holes of the third round to take a four-stroke lead into Sunday's finish of the prestigious National Pro-Am at Pebble Beach.

The 25-year-old Perez fired a two-under-par 70 Saturday on California's Pacific coast to finish well ahead of two other Americans, two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen and Matt Gogel.

Perez, who missed the cut at his last two events, is 15-under-par (201) for three rounds, 13 shots ahead of defending champion Tiger Woods.