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Wednesday, 18 January 2012
Ernie Els  (Getty Images)
Ernie Els (Getty Images)

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Ernie Els hopes his local knowledge can help him return to winning ways in this week’s Volvo Golf Champions at Fancourt.

The 26-time European Tour winner has gone more than 12 months since his last victory, but insists he is more determined than ever to recapture his best form.

“My work ethic and my determination, especially this year, is more than ever because I had such a dismal season last year,” said Els.

“So I would like to really turn things around this year and see if I can win some tournaments again. 

“We have a house down on the beach down there and wish I was there right now, very warm. But it's a wonderful event. 

“I think all of the South Africans love obviously playing in South Africa, especially in a special event like this, an invitation only event, it gives it a bit more stature. 

“Yeah, for me and Retief and Louis, when we vacation, we come down here, so we really feel like we are playing at home, so really special for us.

“For us South Africans, it's great when The Tour starts here in our summer. We still have a bit of holiday fever down here, so it's nice for us to play golf in South Africa this time of the year.” 

The 42 year old is under no illusions as to which part of his game needs to improve in order to reenter the winner’s circle.

“I'm hitting the ball beautifully,” he added. “Really I'm very happy with my ball striking. I’m still working on the flat stick. Hopefully that behaves itself this week, and I think I can have a very good chance. 

“I've played this course all December and we were down here for three or four weeks and played a lot of golf around here. I have a good feel for the course and got to get that flat stick going.” 

Another player going through a lengthy barren spell is Colin Montgomerie.

The Scot has not won since 2007, but believes the reduced 35-man field of European Tour winners could play to his advantage.

“It's great that we have assembled a fabulous field together down here and this is a great place,” he said. 

“I've been to this part of the world but I've never been to Fancourt or George before, and it's fantastic, I think we are all saying the same thing. The more fields we have of 35 players, the better I think - provided I'm in it - I think it's a great idea. Saves having to beat another 120 others!”

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
-ELS, ErnieRSA-12
-GOOSEN, RetiefRSA-12
-GRACE, BrandenRSA-12
-COLSAERTS, NicolasBEL-11
-SCHWARTZEL, CharlRSA-10
-OLAZÁBAL, José MaríaESP-8
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