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  Saturday, 7 April, 2001, 23:01 GMT 00:01 UK
'Workmanlike' Els targets shock win
Darren Clarke
Darren Clarke squandered a good start
Ernie Els believes he is still in with a shout of winning his first US Masters title, after quietly moving up the leaderboard on day three.

But Britain's leading contender Darren Clarke knows his hopes are over after a terrible finish to his round.

Els has avoided the limelight at Augusta, as Tiger Woods and Chris DiMarco have dominated procedings.

Ernie Els
Ernie Els crept onto the leaders' shoulders
But a third-round 68 behind the leading pair means the South African is now just three shots off the lead, along with David Duval and Angel Cabrera.

And he puts his rise up the leaderboard to a sudden confidence boost.

"Going into the Players Championship, my confidence was really low," he said.

"It hasn't been going my way but it could all turn round this week.

"I played really solid golf on Saturday. Not spectacular stuff but consistent. It was a workmanlike 68."

Els finished second here last year behind Vijay Singh and is determined to go one better on Sunday.


There is no doubt experience does help - but everyone on this leaderboard has a fair chance
Ernie Els
"I have a legitimate chance now," he added.

"Ask any pro what championships he wants to win and it is always the Green Jacket."

But Els knows better than anyone the threat posed by Woods. Last year Els finished second behind the world number one at the US Open and British Open.

"Tiger's obviously the danger man out there," he admitted.

"Experience is going to count over the closing nine holes."

Clarke blows it

Clarke, though, knows his chance has gone after carding double-bogeys at the 16th and 18th holes on his way to a level-par 72.

The Northern Irish challenger had moved up from 12th to fourth by grabbing four birdies in a front nine 33.

He was alongside Woods and only two behind at that stage and with a nine-foot birdie putt at the 14th remained in the thick of things.

But then came the two holes which left him counting the cost of a terrible finish.

"I'm definitely too far back now," he said. "If I'd parred them I might still have a chance, but not now."

Defending champion Vijay Singh made no headway on the third day, posting four bogeys and three birdies in a rollercoaster 73 that left him at three-under 213.

"I'm a little disappointed," he said. "It was out there for the taking. I thought it would be harder."

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South African Ernie Els
"Tiger is the danger man."

Tiger's Grand Slam

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