Ernie Els is among the early challengers in the Honda Classic after the veteran South African shot a first-round 66 at Palm Beach Gardens. Els is on four-under par, two strokes shy of leader Jhonattan Vegas, following the opening round in Florida. Zach Johnson, Lucas Glover and Ben Silverman join Els in sharing second spot after a wind-free first day saw good scoring, with 47 players shooting sub-par rounds. Els has won more than 70 tournaments worldwide, 19 of them on the PGA Tour. The last of those arrived in 2012 at the British Open and the 49-year-old joked that he would like to get the landmark win on his CV. “Secretly on Tour among the players, you know when you win No. 20 you get some benefits,” Els said. “It’s late in my career, but I’ll take any win now.” Vegas made six birdies in his opening round and didn’t drop a single shot to take the early lead. He believes the layout at the Honda Classic is one that plays to his strengths, especially when the putter complies. “It’s kind of one of those courses that I think suits me. You have to hit the ball well and
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