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Els makes it look easy at Memorial

Ernie Els always wanted to win Jack Nicklaus's tournament. He made sure no one else had a chance yesterday at the Memorial, taking only 11 putts over the final nine holes for a 6-under-par 66 and a four-shot victory.

Tied with Tiger Woods and Fred Couples midway through the final round, the Big Easy took the lead with a chip out of grass that covered his shoes to within 5 feet for a birdie.

Challenged by Couples along the back nine of Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio, Els responded with one clutch putt after another, including a 15-foot par save on the 16th hole to keep a two-shot lead.

Els birdied the last two holes from inside 5 feet and finished at 18-under 270. The victory, worth $945,000, also should be enough to move him past Vijay Singh at No. 2 in the world ranking today. Couples kept the pressure on to the very end, matching Els's birdie on the 17th. But he missed his drive on the final hole and took bogey, dropping him to a 68.Woods was flawless on the front nine to give himself a chance, but his best shots down the stretch were to save par. He failed to birdie the final 11 holes for a 69 (12-under 276.)

LPGA -- Karrie Webb won for the first time this year, playing a bogey-free final round for a five-shot victory at the Kellogg-Keebler Classic in Aurora, Ill. The Australian had a two-stroke lead to begin the last round and never faltered, making five birdies in a 67 to finish 16-under 200 and hold off Annika Sorenstam and two others.

It was Webb's 30th victory on the LPGA Tour, but just her second in the last two years.

Webb charged to the lead with a second-round 66 and never let up in the 54-hole event, running away from Sorenstam, Siew-Ai Lim, and Jeong Jang.

Champions -- In Ada, Mich., Jim Thorpe won the Farmers Charity Classic by one shot after second-round co-leader Andy Bean passed out in the caddie tent and could not tee off. The 51-year-old Bean was taken by ambulance from the course to a Grand Rapids hospital with an allergic reaction after eating sausage and a muffin for breakfast. Bean was treated and released.

Thorpe closed with a 6-under 66 after starting the third round three strokes off the lead. He survived a double-bogey 6 on No. 18 to finish at 13-under 203.

Fred Gibson (66) finished second at 204.

European -- Simon Khan made a 3-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole to beat countryman Paul Casey and win the Wales Open in Newport, Wales. Khan, who had a course-record 61 in the second round, rallied from four shots off the lead over the final seven holes, closing with a 5-under 67.

Casey, who held a three-stroke lead after three rounds, made a double bogey at No. 15 in a 2-under 70 and finished tied with Khan at 21-under 267.

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