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Els named European player of year

Ernie Els
Els: "It's a wonderful honor."

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LONDON, England -- South African Ernie Els has been named the European PGA Tour's golfer of the year for the second year running.

The 34-year-old won his first European Order of Merit title with earnings totaling $3.6 million despite competing in just 17 tournaments on the circuit. He also won five individual titles and back-to-back events on the U.S. PGA Tour.

"It is a wonderful honor," said Els, ranked third in the world. "It is a great thrill to be European Number One for the first time."

A panel of golf media representatives and European Tour officials meet annually to decide the recipient of the award.

Els also picked up the prize last year after winning the British Open for the first time.

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