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Ernie Els hoping Dubai victory a good omen

Ernie Els, banking on history repeating itself, hopes his Dubai Desert Classic triumph on Sunday will pave the way for another major title.

The South African world number three went on to claim his first U.S. Open at Oakmont in 1994 after his debut victory in Dubai.

His second success at the Emirates Golf Club in 2002 was soon followed by his British Open playoff win at Muirfield.

"I like that thought," three-times major winner Els told reporters after clinching his 19th European Tour title with an eagle-three at the final hole.

"I really like that. It's probably very coincidental but hopefully it works in my favour again this year.

"I am superstitious, don't get me wrong. I'm a sportsman and we're all superstitious," Els added. "For example, I always play with white tees and I always get up out of the left side of my bed."

The 35-year-old Els, winner of two U.S. Opens and one British Open, is determined to make the most of his opportunities in 2005 after contending in all four majors last year without winning any of them.

"This was a big win for me today," he said, after a closing 68 left him a stroke ahead of Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain and Britain's Stephen Dodd.

"This is part of my run-up to April and to the U.S. Masters and I needed a win.

"I needed to play really well before the Masters and to do it from a three-week break makes me really happy."

The easy-swinging South African decided to take time off in his home country after producing top-six finishes in his first five starts of 2005.

"I know what I've got to work on next week and I'll really try to fine-tune my game even more.

"I think it's a very exciting year. Tiger (Woods) seems like he's really striking the ball well again and so does Vijay (Singh).

"Nobody wants to back off this year. I think a lot of guys are looking for big years and we'll get together in a couple of weeks and see where it goes."

Els was the only player in the top 10 not playing in this week's PGA Tour event, the Doral Open in Miami, Florida.

The South African is scheduled to return to the United States for the Bay Hill Invitational in Orlando, Florida from March 17 to 20.


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