Following his second-round 68, Ernie Els talks about his play in the 2012 Zurich Classic of New Orleans with Bob Stevens from SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
AVONDALE, La. -- Ernie Els didn't hit the ball all that well on Tuesday as he played his first practice round at TPC Louisiana.
So he hit the range and hit upon something that has landed Els in contention through 36 holes on a course he hadn't seen prior to this week. The last time Els played in the Zurich Classic was a decade ago when the tournament was played at English Turn Golf and Country Club.
Els has made 12 birdies over the first two rounds while dropping just two shots to par, with one bogey coming in each round. Friday's 68 left Els at 10 under, which is two strokes off the pace being set by Jason Dufner, and with another shot at ending a two-year victory drought.
"I feel comfortable," Els said. "Really worked on my swing, got my position better. I was a little out of whack on Tuesday, my ball position was a bit off, my alignment was off. I got in and figured out. Starting to hit it better, hit it really solid and the putter feels quite nice and I'm hitting the greens. Nice and firm. I feel good about it. It all depends on how conditions are but so far so good."
Els likes Pete Dye courses like TPC Louisiana, which he says "fits my eye." He doesn't have to hit driver on every hole so he's been able to use 3-woods to set himself up in the fairway with a chance to get an iron close to the pin.
"I'm just lucky that my eye picked it up nicely," Els said. "I could feel my way around, putt easily from the first time I played. Figuring out the greens. ... Pete has been a favorite of mine. He tests you off the tees. This course is quite generous off the tees but the second shot is with the angles."
Els' round included a clutch 10-footer on the ninth hole, his last of the day, to save par. The man they call the Big Easy, who is hitting it so solidly tee to green, used 26 putts on Friday and 53 total as he worked his way toward the top of another leaderboard.
Els has four top-25 finishes in his last five starts, including a tie for fifth in Tampa and joint fourth at Bay Hill. The World Golf Hall of Famer, who is looking for his first victory since the 2010 Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard, said he likes his position entering the weekend.
"Really been working hard at that and starting to feel more natural, feeling like the old me, you know, and try to get yourself in that position more and more," Els said. "I've been in that position this year at least a couple times and I like to get in that position more."