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November 14, 2019

Ernie Els

Sun City, South Africa

Q. 50 years of age, rolling back the years, bogey-free 68. Tell us about that?
ERNIE ELS: Yeah, good memories came back to me today. I had a nice swing thought. Kind of just kept the ball in play. Didn't try and overpower it -- not like I can overpower anything anymore. Just kind of plotted around the course, and yeah, actually hit some good iron shots. Could have been a little better, but hey, I'm pretty happy with 68. I didn't expect it.

Q. When we watch you play now, we think back 20 odd years and looks exactly the same. How proud are you of the longevity and what do you put that down to?
ERNIE ELS: Thanks for that. I've been fortunate. My body, touch wood, hasn't broken down. My swing, it is what it is. It's kind of long, which helps when you get older. I do have the odd pain here and there in the hip and so forth.

Yeah, I just love the game. I haven't played that well the last two, three years, but still enjoy playing.

Q. A golf course you know how to get around, three times a champion here and two of those times for $2 million, which we had never heard anything of at the time. This year, we are here playing for a record prize money for first place, $2.5 million. How proud are you of the fact that it's coming here to an event like this in South Africa?
ERNIE ELS: It's brilliant. Really brilliant. Nedbank has to get so much credit here. They have stuck with this event ever since I started playing back in the day.

To come in with that kind of money in these days here in South Africa is phenomenal. Obviously The European Tour brings a quality field every time. That helps. And people want to see quality players around this golf course; it's got a great history.

I haven't played this tournament since the changes into a bigger field, but I really enjoy it, and I think the people of South Africa really enjoy seeing great talent play here.

Q. How pleased are with you today's performance?
ERNIE ELS: I really am. I didn't quite expect that. I haven't played too much golf recently. I really came here with a plan to try and get a swing going, which I kind of did. I had a nice swing thought today. Putted quite nice. I just went on memory, going around the golf course where I used to hit the ball. Today was a good day.

Q. Did you find you got more comfortable as the round went on?
ERNIE ELS: Definitely. I was kind of a little tight there on the first hole. You want to play well. Yeah, nobody gives me a chance to win, but you still want to play well.

As I said the other day, if I get something going, I know how to score around this place. I'd like to be able to have a chance. It was nice to get off to a decent start and then kind of ease into the round.

Q. As far as your performance is concerned, anything that particularly pleased you about your game today?
ERNIE ELS: I've been trying to get my swing going. I came here with a bit of a niggle in my hip, and it was from all the flying I've been doing, but that worked itself out through the day. So I was really pleased that I could swing freely. I was very worried about that.

Then I found a nice swing thought, as I said. I've got a swing thought that I'm in a good position at the back, and yeah, I can make good contact with the ball.

Q. Can you talk about the crowd and the support you received today? What was it like?
ERNIE ELS: It was brilliant. We were first out and there were already some people out there. Obviously supporters of mine through thick and thin, you know, and they grew a little bit as I made a couple of birdies. It was really nice of the people to come out. There's the odd funny comment here and there, you know, now that I'm 50, but I've had a good long run around this place, so it's nice to see some of the fans come out.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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