Ernie Els made two short birdie putts to close out his victory yesterday at the Memorial in Dublin, Ohio, an appropriate end to a display that impressed the greatest clutch putter of them all.

"What was the key putt -- 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17?" tournament host Jack Nicklaus said mockingly to Els.

Turns out the Big Easy didn't need to make them all, even though he nearly did.

It started with a slippery five-footer on the seventh hole to turn back an early charge from Tiger Woods, and it continued throughout the back nine at Muirfield Village to hold off Fred Couples.

* A 10-footer to save par and keep the lead on No. 12.

* A 30-footer on the next hole to restore his cushion.

* A 15-footer to retain his two-shot lead with two holes to play.

When he was done, Els had a 6-under-par 66 for a four-shot victory that likely will be enough to move him to No. 2 in the world rankings.

"As Jack says, I made almost every putt that I had to make," Els said. "It's tough to call one a key putt."

Els took only 100 putts in the tournament, almost as impressive as his 66-66 on the weekend. He finished at 18-under 270 and earned $945,000 for his 14th career PGA Tour victory.

Couples finished four strokes back after a final-round 68 and Woods was two more off the pace after his 69.

"I hung in there," Couples said. "I was right there the whole time, which was a great feeling. I lost to the best player by far."

* LPGA: Karrie Webb played a bogey-free final round to win for the first time this year, a five-shot victory at the Kellogg-Keebler Classic in Aurora, Ill.

The Australian star had a two-stroke lead to open the last round and never faltered, making five birdies in a 67 to finish at 16-under 200 and hold off Annika Sorenstam and two others.

It was Webb's 30th victory on the LPGA Tour, but just her second in the last two years. The 29-year-old who once dominated the tour dropped to 11th on the money list last year -- the first time in her career she failed to finish in the top five.

"It doesn't get old, put it that way," Webb said. "When you're playing as well as I was in [1999-2000] you tend to think that it's just always going to happen, you're always going to win no matter what your game is like."

Webb charged to the lead with a second-round 66 and never let up in the 54-hole event, running away from second-place finishers Sorenstam, Siew Ai Lim and Jeong Jang.

Webb earned $180,000 with the victory, her first since the John Q. Hammons Hotels Classic last year.

* CHAMPIONS TOUR: Jim Thorpe won the Farmers Charity Classic by one shot in Ada, Mich., after second-round co-leader Andy Bean passed out in the caddie tent and could not tee off.

Bean, 51, was taken by ambulance from the course to a Grand Rapids hospital with an allergic reaction after eating sausage and a muffin for breakfast. Bean was treated and released and returned to the course two hours later.

"I certainly didn't want to withdraw, but I didn't have much choice," Bean said. "I could play now. I might be crawling in, but I could play."

Thorpe closed with a 6-under 66 after starting the third round three strokes off the lead. He survived a double-bogey 6 on No. 18 to finish at 13-under 203, earning $240,000 from the $1.6 million tournament.

Fred Gibson (66) finished second at 204.