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October 15 2012

9:47 PM

Els blog: Autism challenge on tap

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Ernie Els turns 43 on Wednesday and hosts the Els for Autism Golf Challenge this weekend.

Editor’s note: Ernie Els is writing a blog for PGATOUR.COM in 2012 and this is his most recent installment. For more information on the World Golf Hall of Famer, visit www.ernieels.com.

It was great to be back at CordeValle Golf Club for last week’s Frys.com Open. This was only the second time I’d played this tournament, but before then I’d done some corporate outings here for my sponsor SAP. It’s just a wonderful place to play golf and it’s great being able to stay on the property during tournament week. Obviously I wanted to play well to make it an even nicer experience and, for the most part, I did.

Actually, it was a similar performance to when I played here in 2011. The golf course was playing a little bit firmer than last time, but the pattern of my scoring was much the same. Seven out of my eight rounds in this event have been in the 60s and I’m 24-under par combined. Overall I hit a lot of quality shots out there and I could have easily been right in the mix. Both days over the weekend I started on the 10th tee and really got it going on the back nine, making a bunch of birdies, but both times I didn’t manage to carry that momentum through the front nine.

That was a bit disappointing, but as I say, I played well and it was an enjoyable week. It’s also my best finish since the Open. Right after that amazing week at Lytham it was such a hectic time for me, and although I was trying my best every week I teed it up, there were times when I felt like there wasn’t much fuel in the tank. Now, it’s like things are coming around again. My focus and my energy levels are better and all last week I definitely felt like my swing was in a nice groove. That gives me a lot to look forward to in my next couple of tournaments and obviously for next year as well.

There’s plenty to look forward to this week, too. It’s my birthday on Wednesday, so I’m guessing as a family we’ll all do something together. Then later in the week I’ll be hosting the 2012 Els for Autism Golf Challenge Grand Finale in Las Vegas. Last year’s inaugural event was a great success and Liezl and I had a really fantastic time with everyone. I’m sure it’s going to be more of the same this time around.

We’ve got a great format and there are some amazing prizes up for grabs.

Liezl and I kick things off with a welcome champagne reception and dinner at Caesars Palace on Friday night. Then on Saturday morning the golf action starts at three great courses – Rio Secco, Bear’s Best and TPC Las Vegas. Some of my fellow PGA TOUR pros are kindly hosting a coaching clinic at each venue and that’s followed by the Grand Finale tournament itself. Later, it’s back to Caesars Palace for an awards ceremony and a good old South Africa-style braai. Nice!

Anyway like I said, it should be a lot of fun. Once we’re done I’ll make sure we get some information and a gallery of images on the website. Hopefully it will inspire you to take part in the 2013 Els for Autism Golf Challenge.

Bye for now.

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