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HSBC World Matchplay Golf Championshiop
By STEVEN MCMENEMY, MOP Squad Sports Staff Writer
Oct 17, 2004 - 1:34:00 PM

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South African Ernie Els has won the richest prize money in golf for a record sixth time after defeating English Ryder Cup Hero Lee Westwood in the HSBC World Matchplay Championship at Wentworth, England.

Ernie Els on his way to a record sixth World Matchplay Championship.

Els pocketed a 1 million ($1.8 million) payday after a hard fought 2&1 victory over Westwood.

The score was level after the first 18 holes of the day, but the South African, who is based in Wentworth, moved ahead at the 21st hole and remained in front despite a spirited fightback from Westwood.

An eagle at the next hole left Els two-up and although the Englishman narrowed the gap with a birdie on the short fifth (23rd), Els went back to two ahead when Westwood had a bogey at the par three 10th hole (28th).

Westwood had another chance to get one back but missed a putt of 12 feet for birdie on the 13th (31st) after Els hit a careless drive.

Lee Westwood tried hard to stay in touch.

The Englishman remained determined though and a lovely approach shot to the 15th (33) set up a birdie as Els three-putted for a five.

However a bogey by Westwood at 16 (34) left Els two-up with two holes left to play and the South African sunk a 15-foot putt to half the 17th hole and secure the World Matchplay Championship for a record sixth time.

The win was sweet for the South African as it was the first time in three attempts that he had managed to beat the 2000 World Matchplay Champion Westwood in a matchplay situation.

The victory earned Els a 1 million ($1.8 million) prize with Westwood pocketing 400,000 ($720,000) as runner up.

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