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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 July, 2003, 15:34 GMT 16:34 UK
Frustrated Els bows out
Ernie Els struggled on the opening day
Defending champion Ernie Els finished the championship on six over par after picking up a final round 72 at the Open.

The South African failed to match his pre-tournament form of last weekend, when he claimed the Scottish Open in style by five shots.

Els shot a seven-over-par 78 on a horrid opening day, before recovering well with rounds of 68 and 72 on Friday and Saturday.

But he could not improve on his overnight score of five over par as three bogeys on Sunday ultimately left him with little chance of troubling the leaders.

Els failed to find a par during his disastrous start on Thursday and finished the day 10 shots behind.

His 78 was his highest ever round at the Open and he later admitted the dreadful conditions had played a part.

"It was tough, I've played in conditions like that before but this golf course is really difficult," Els said.

"I had a lot of problems with my putts so I threw a lot of shots away on the greens early in the round."

Els came into the tournament in a rich vein of form, but an opening bogey on Sunday left him with ever more to do.

Three pars and a birdie gave him renewed confidence, but two further bogeys on the sixth and eighth put him out of contention, despite an impressive nine pars on the backward nine.



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