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ELS TAKES THIRD MATCH PLAY CROWN

Ernie Els became the first player to win the World Match Play title three consecutive years Sunday when he defeated Vijay Singh, 3 and 2.

Els, a former U.S. Open winner, prevailed on a day when neither player was especially sharp. The latest victory brought the South African's cumulative earnings in the tournament to $780,000.

"The first thing I'd better do is buy a couple of rounds in the bar," Els said. "I didn't play all that great today but, hey, it was good enough."

A winner over Colin Montgomerie in 1994 and Steve Elkington last year, Els tapped in a 2-footer at the 16th to clinch a victory that brought him $265,200.

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