Off to a Fast StartTitleist Ambassador Ernie Els Completes Comeback from Knee Surgery
Fairhaven, MA (December 12, 2005) - As the 2006 PGA European Tour season gets underway, Titleist ambassador Ernie Els is off to a fast start, posting an impressive three-shot victory at the dunhill Championship in just his second event since returning to competitive golf following knee surgery. Els fired consecutive 4-under par 68s on the weekend to finish at 14-under 274, topping the defending champion, as well as fellow Pro V1x player Louis Oosthuizen.
It marked the third victory in this event for Els, who also captured it in 1995 and 1999. The win was also his 22nd on the PGA European Tour and the 57th of his illustrious professional career, reaffirming his status as one of the game's truly international players. The event was co-sanctioned by the PGA European and Southern Africa Tours.
Els' winning performance was achieved with a Pro V1x golf ball and full bag of new Titleist equipment, including a Pro Titanium 905R 460cc prototype driver and Forged 695MB prototype irons. He also relied upon a Pro Trajectory 904F fairway metal, 503.H utility iron, Vokey Design sand and lob wedges and a Scotty Cameron by Titleist prototype putter.
Titleist was the most played golf ball at the event with 129 players (83 percent) in the 156-man field, more than eight times the nearest competitor with 16.
ASIAN TOUR: Rookie Shev Kapur shot a final round 5-under par 67 to outduel defending champion and fellow Pro V1x player Jyoti Randhawa and win the season-ending Volvo Masters of Asia. Kapur earned his maiden Asian Tour title with a tournament record 20-under 268 total, two strokes clear of overnight co-leader Randhawa, who shot a final round 69. Pro V1 loyalist Marcus Both of Australia, who shared the lead with the Indian pair heading into the final round, fired a 71 for third place at 16-under 272. In fact, 8 of the top 10 finishers relied upon Titleist golf balls for their success. Another Pro V1x player, Thailand's Thaworn Wiratchant, celebrated his first Asian Tour Order of Merit crown and earned Player of the Year honors after claiming four titles and earning over $510,000, both Asian Tour records.
Titleist was the most played golf ball at the select-field event with 44 players (80 percent), more than eight times the nearest competitor with 5.
PGA TOUR QUALIFYING SCHOOL: John B. Holmes completed his sixth and final round in the 60s, a 3-under 69, to win medalist honors at the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament. He finished the event at 24-under par 408 to win by three shots relying upon the Pro V1x golf ball, Titleist Pro Trajectory 904F 3-wood, Forged 695CB prototype irons (3-9), Vokey Design approach (52) and sand (56) wedges and a Vokey Design Spin Milled lob wedge (60). Holmes also trusted a prototype Scotty Cameron by Titleist Circa 62 prototype putter for his success.
In all, 32 players (top 30 and ties) posted scores good enough to earn PGA Tour cards and full exempt status for the 2006 season, with 27 of them relying upon Titleist golf balls for one of the most pressure-packed events in golf. Everyone 11-under or better advanced, including full-line Titleist staff player Bill Haas, who finished birdie-birdie to earn his card on the number.
A total of 165 players participated the final stage, including 129 (78 percent) of whom relied upon Titleist golf balls, nearly 10 times the nearest competitor with 13. Titleist also was the field favorite in iron sets (45 players), utility irons (9), wedges (121) and putters (63). Titleist was a close second in the driver category with 48 players.
TARGET WORLD CHALLENGE: While it wasn't an official victory, Luke Donald beat 15 of the world's top players to capture the Target World Challenge. Donald rallied from six shots back en route to a final round 8-under 64, topping overnight leader and fellow Pro V1x player Darren Clarke by two strokes. Donald, who celebrated his 28th birthday on Wednesday, matched the record for best closing round by a winner in the seven-year history of the event. Donald finished at 16-under 272 to win $1.3 million from the richest event in the Challenge Season, and the largest paycheck of his career. The winner also relied upon a Titleist Pro Titanium 905T driver.
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Titleist, FootJoy and Cobra comprise the major golf brands of the Acushnet Company, an operating company of Fortune Brands, Inc. (NYSE - FO). Titleist, Cobra, FootJoy, Pro V1, Pro V1x, Titleist Pro Titanium 905, Titleist Pro Trajectory 904F, Forged 695.MB, Forged 695.CB, Vokey Design Spin Milled, Scotty Cameron by Titleist and Circa 62 are trademarks owned by Acushnet Company. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.
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