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Viewer complaint nearly sinks Els

INVERNESS, Scotland – Ernie Els' embarrassment at taking four shots in a greenside bunker during the Scottish Open almost became a whole lot worse when the South African was reported by an eagle-eyed TV viewer for a possible rules breach during the incident.

The two-time U.S. Open champion was confronted by senior referee Andy McFee after his opening round of 70 on Thursday and told that a viewer thought Els grounded his club in the bunker. Footage was reviewed but Els wasn't handed a two-shot penalty.

Ernie Els' embarrassment at taking four shots in a greenside bunker during the Scottish Open almost became a whole lot worse when he was reported by an eagle-eyed TV viewer for a possible rules breach. Credit: Getty Images

Els said he was “digging a grave” when he attempted to escape the hazard on No. 6 at the Castle Stuart links course.

“I was doing some bunker practice for the (British) Open next week,” he said. “I was slightly embarrassed out there.”

Els also made a double-bogey six on the 15th - his sixth hole after starting at No. 10 - but seven birdies allowed him to sign for 2 under, eight shots off the lead held by Francesco Molinari of Italy. – Sapa-AP

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