Ernie Els came from behind to win his second British Open title by one shot after Adam Scott blew the lead by bogeying the final four holes.
The South African finished 7 under par after shooting 2- under 68 today at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in northwest England. The 42-year-old made four birdies over the final nine holes, including one at the 18th.
“Obviously we both wanted to win,” Els said in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corp. “I feel for him, but it’s the nature of the beast, and that’s why we go out there. It was my time, for some reason.”
Australia’s Scott got to 10-under with a birdie at the 14th hole that put him up by four shots. The 32-year-old then began his bogey run, culminating it by missing a par putt on the 18th which would have forced a playoff. He finished with 5-over-par 75 today.
“I’m very disappointed,” Scott said in a BBC interview. “I played so beautifully the rest of the week. That’s golf isn’t it?”
It’s the fourth major title for Els, who won the British Open in 2002 and the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997. It’s the second-longest gap between victories at the British Open behind Henry Cotton, who went 11 years after his 1937 win.
“A lot of people never thought I would win,” Els said. “I started believing this year. I have an amazing group of people around me.”
Americans Tiger Woods and Brandt Snedeker finished tied for third at 3 under, with England’s Luke Donald and Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell at 2 under.
Els began the day six shots behind Scott and bogeyed the second and ninth holes to fall to 3 under. He started his run with a birdie at the 10th and followed with two more at the 12th and 14th to got him into second place at 6-under. After three straight pars, he rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt on 18 that pushed him to 7 under.
Scott began the day at 11 under and dropped two shots over his first six holes. He then ran off seven consecutive pars before a birdie at the 14th gave him the 4-stroke edge.
He bogeyed No. 15 and missed a short par putt on the 16th. After another bogey at the 17th that dropped him into a tie with Els, he found a bunker with his tee shot on the final hole. After chipping out of the bunker, he hit his third shot to within 10 feet, but pushed the putt that would have forced a playoff past the right edge of the hole.
Els is the 16th different player to win in the past 16 majors. His win ends run of nine straight first-time victories in major championships.
He’s the second 42 year old to win after last year’s champion Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland.
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