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Champion Els shows his frustration after error-ridden show

Ernie Els of South Africa acknowledges the crowd after making a parr putt on the second green during the first round of the British Open gol
Ernie Els of South Africa acknowledges the crowd after making a parr putt on the second green during the first round of the British Open gol

By Tony Jimenez

GULLANE, Scotland (Reuters) - Defending champion Ernie Els was in a foul mood after struggling to an error-ridden 74 in the second round of the British Open at Muirfield on Friday.

The 43-year-old South African took out his frustration on a group of journalists after toiling on the bouncy, fast-running East Lothian links course.

Els initially described the lightning-quick greens at the par-four 14th and 15th holes as "getting out of hand" and "not very playable" before backtracking later.

"I never said that. Where did I say it was unplayable?," said the four-times major winner after closing on 148, six over par. "I said it's borderline. Please. I never used the word 'unplayable'."

Els's equilibrium was no doubt disturbed by his bogey-bogey finish at the 17th and 18th, when he dropped strokes at both holes despite being ideally placed on the cut turf.

"I'm getting nothing out of it, I'm very frustrated," he said. "I just made two bogeys from the middle of the bloody fairway.

"I'm hitting it nicely, I'm hitting it solidly. I'm trying to do the right thing (but) it's quite difficult out there.

"It's a links golf course, it's what you're going to get," said Els. "It's firm, it's brown. It's bouncing all over the place.

"It's tough to control your ball and it's a pretty tough battle out there."

Els, however, consoled himself with the knowledge that he had safely made the cut.

"I love links golf and I'm trying to be as positive as I can but for some reason I guess I got all my breaks last year," he said, referring to his victory at Royal Lytham.

"I'm not getting anything and it's just not going my way (although) you're never out of a major if you are playing at the weekend."

(Editing by Clare Fallon)

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