After switching driver head and shaft, Ernie Els shoots 63 to open Charles Schwab Cup Championship

Ernie Els has been performing remarkably over the last few tournaments on the PGA Tour Champions, clinching T-4, T-3, T-7, and T-4 in the last four events. After hitting an impressive bogey-free, 8-under 63, he currently holds a two-shot lead after 18 holes at Phoenix Country Club for the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship.

Reflecting on his round, Els said, “Hopefully, I have this feeling again tomorrow and days to come. I’ve been playing half-decent the last three, four weeks so I know I’m coming in with a little bit of game. Hey, we’ve all got to tick away until Sunday and hopefully I’m in contention Sunday and hopefully we can have something good happen.”

Participating in this 72-hole, no-cut event, 35 golfers aim to secure a position as 2023’s best player, after Steve Stricker withdrew before the tournament began, already securing the season-long championship. Els expressed his hopes of capitalizing on the competition as everyone vies for second place.

Talking to Golf Channel’s Phil Blackmar, Els mentioned testing new equipment, stating, “I thought the last week of the year I’m going to try something new, so I put a little lighter shaft in my driver and I actually went with a different driver head from XXIO.”

Meanwhile, the other frontrunners for the tournament are trailing. Defending Schwab Cup champion Steven Alker is four back, Bernhard Langer is five back, and defending tournament champion Padraig Harrington is six back, after posting 67, 68, and 69 respectively.

“We’ve got a long way to go, I don’t think I’m going to think about it maybe until Sunday afternoon if I’m in contention, but just to play good this week and try to finish off a pretty steady year would be great,” Els noted.

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek


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