Els’ 3rd-round putter magic vanishes

Ernie Els of South Africa at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

Ernie Els of South Africa at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

Ernie Els looked like he was on to something with a 6-under 64 in Saturday’s third round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

The decision for the South African to change putters before the round paid off. He took only 25 putts Saturday to enter the final round two shots off the lead.

Els travels with two Odyssey putters. On Saturday, he turned to a smaller-head Odyssey with a White Hot insert.

“I felt like I hit a lot of good putts the first two rounds, but I felt my speed was a bit off, so I went with a little heavier putter,” Els said.

Els was off to a good start Sunday with an opening birdie. But he couldn’t keep the momentum. Els, who leads the FedExCup race, plummeted down the leaderboard after a triple bogey at the ninth and shot 76. He had 29 putts on Sunday.

Retief Goosen was the South African in form Sunday. Goosen, who led after the second round, made up for his third-round 73 by shooting 65, which included an eagle-3 on No. 2. Goosen was the clubhouse leader at 9-under 271 until eventual winner Hunter Mahan finished at 12-under 268.

Goosen’s T-3 finish with American Bo Van Pelt was his eighth top-10 of the year.

"I'm having one bad round out of the four rounds," Goosen said. "If I could put four rounds together I'd have a chance (to win more)."

First thing Monday morning, Goosen will be at Whistling Straits, preparing for the PGA Championship. He said it will be his first time playing the course. He was injured in 2004, the last time the major was held at the Kohler, Wisconsin course.

British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen joined his countryman in the top 10 after putting together weekend rounds of 68 and 65 to finish T-9.

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