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Ernie Els over Masters disappointment already

Ernie Els, who has returned to his England home for a three-week break, says he has come to terms with the disappointment of being edged out for the U.S. Masters title.

South African Els finished a shot behind winner Phil Mickelson at Augusta National nine days ago and then decided to play in the PGA Tour's MCI Heritage last week.

"As it turned out, playing at Hilton Head was the best thing I could have done after the disappointment of the Masters," the world number three said on his official website.

"It was good to get straight back into tournament golf, and basically move on mentally, rather than take a week off and maybe dwell on what might have been. That doesn't achieve anything."

Els, who had been bidding for his fourth major title at Augusta, tied for third at the Heritage after closing with a two-under-par 69.

"It definitely helped that this (the venue) was Harbour Town, a beautiful spot on the east coast and one of my favourite golf courses on the PGA Tour," he said.

"I have to say I was satisfied with my overall performance. Mentally, it could have been difficult. But I dealt with it. I just got out there and played my game."

Seven days earlier at Augusta, Els appeared to have the first of the year's four majors within his grasp when leading by two strokes with five holes to play.

A six-under-par surge from the seventh hole to the 15th paved the way for a final-round 67 before he was trumped by Mickelson's superb back nine of five-under 31.

"If you saw the Masters on television, I'm sure you'll agree it was one hell of a tournament," Els said. "On Sunday it was pretty intense, but at the same time fun. It was a good heavyweight fight, wasn't it?

"I was proud of the way I came back after a couple of early bogeys to shoot 67. I thought it would be good enough, but it just wasn't to be, I guess."

Twice U.S. Open champion Els completed the second nine in three-under 33 as he and Mickelson treated fans to a brilliant display of shot-making down the stretch.

"All in all, I'd say it was the best back nine I've ever played in my 11 years at the Masters," he said. "I felt like I'd given it everything.

"It's almost an out-of-body experience, feeling you can do whatever it takes to succeed. I could see that Phil was in the exactly the same frame of mind."

Els will spend the next three weeks with his family at his Wentworth home outside London before returning to the PGA Tour for the Byron Nelson Classic, to be played from May 13-16.

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