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April 29 2013

9:32 AM

Els blog: Hard work paying off

Click here to learn more about Els's quest to promote Autism awareness.

Editor's note: Ernie Els is writing a blog for PGATOUR.COM in 2013 and this is his latest installment. For more information on the World Golf Hall of Famer, visit www.ernieels.com.

I really enjoyed being back in the Big Easy last week for the Zurich Classic. As with the previous year, the vibe here is good and the galleries are fantastic. It’s a great tournament and a wonderful golf course.

For Thursday’s first round we had beautiful conditions for golf and I played nicely to shoot a bogey-free round of 67, including five birdies. I felt very comfortable out there and it was just the kind of round I’ve been searching for these past few months. To start the tournament that way was really pleasing.

On Friday I had a couple of bad holes in the middle of my round, but I fought hard all day and I stuck in there and stayed patient. Holing an 18-footer for birdie on the last to shoot 69 made my lunch taste better, that’s for sure, and I was feeling very upbeat about the weekend. I like this golf course, it suits my eye, and obviously I played well here last year and almost won the tournament.

On reflection I feel like my game plan for the weekend was solid so I’m slightly disappointed that I wasn’t able to make more of my opportunities, because for the most part I hit the ball beautifully. I just hit a couple of loose shots at the wrong time. Without those, I’d have been right up there in the mix. Even so, 12-under par and tied-15th gives me plenty of encouragement going forward.

On a separate note this was the final tournament in Autism Awareness Month on the PGA TOUR and I want to thank all the players, the fans, tournament sponsors, officials and media who made the effort to jump on board and help us promote this worthy cause. Liezl and I really appreciate the support.

Anyway, moving on I didn’t have much time between packing my bags in New Orleans and jumping on a plane to Hong Kong from where it will then be onwards to Jakarta for this week’s CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters. It should be a very interesting week. I’ve played on the Asia Tour quite a bit in the last few years and I always enjoy my time in this part of the world.

This week’s tournament may have a few established names in the field, but golf is growing fast in Asia and there is some serious homegrown talent teeing it up here every week. These guys can play so it’s not necessary nailed-on that the winner will come out of the so-called star player groups. We’ll see.

For me, I’ve put a lot of work into my game recently and it’s definitely starting to pay off. Physically everything feels very good, I just need to get myself in a slightly better mindset and cut out the occasional bad hole and basically clean-up my card some days. To be honest, we’re really close.

Okay, that’s it for this week’s report. I’ll write again very soon.

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