South African golfer Ernie Els defied the weather to win the American Express Championship in County Kilkenny, Ireland. Els carded a final round 3-under-69 Sunday to finish the tournament with an 18-under-par total of 270. That was one shot ahead of his playing partner, Thomas Bjorn of Denmark. The victory moved the 34-year-old Els up to second place in the world rankings, dropping Tiger Woods back to third. Woods, playing with a sore back, finished ninth at the tournament with a total of 278.
England's David Howell, playing with Els and Bjorn, secured third place with a 13-under total of 275.
The final round was played in rainy, windy conditions, which forecasters warned was a forerunner of a severe gale that was heading towards the Mount Juliet course.