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Golf
Els lifts Jug after dramatic Open finale
Adam Scott lets victory slip through his fingers as South African Ernie Els claims his second Open Championship.
Last Modified: 22 Jul 2012 19:21
Ernie Els predicted 'something special' would happen at the Open and something did! [AFP]

It wasn't an easy victory for 'The Big Easy' at the Open Championship on Sunday.

But his day was a lot easier than Adam Scott's. 

Ten years after he first won the Open in 2002, South African Ernie Els lifted the Claret Jug on Sunday. 

Els won by one stroke from Adam Scott after the Australian suffered an extraordinary late collapse on an incident-packed final day.

World number 13 Scott, chasing his first major championship, started the last round with a four-shot lead and seemed to be cruising to victory as he maintained that cushion with six holes to play.

But a late attack of the jitters caused him to drop strokes at each of the last four holes, allowing Els to slip in through the back door and claim the Claret Jug with a two-under-par 68 and a seven-under total of 273.

"I feel for Adam, he's a good friend of mine. I was just hoping at best to get into a playoff when I was on 17, then I birdied the 18th and heard what happened to Adam"

Ernie Els

"I feel a little numb at the moment," the 42-year-old Els told the BBC after adding to his previous major victories in the 1994 and 1997 U.S. Opens.

"I feel for Adam, he's a good friend of mine. I was just hoping at best to get into a playoff when I was on 17, then I birdied the 18th and heard what happened to Adam," said Els whose victory extended to 16 the current streak of different major winners.

Scott's sad 75 meant he had to settle for second place on 274, three shots ahead of former world number one Tiger Woods (73), whose hopes were dashed by an ugly triple-bogey at the sixth, and his fellow American Brandt Snedeker (74).

"I am pretty disappointed," Scott said.

"I managed to hit a poor shot on each of the closing four holes and they cost me. As I played so beautifully all week I shouldn't let this get me too down.

"Surprisingly, I felt incredibly calm all the way round and I still feel calm now."

Els played the best golf of all the leading players on Sunday and missed a host of birdie chances until suddenly making a forward move by picking up strokes at the 12th, 14th and 18th.

The smooth-swinging South African, who said somewhat prophetically earlier in the week that he was playing well and
felt "something special" was just round the corner, rolled in a 15-foot putt at the last.

Els raised his arms in the air, high-fived his caddie and threw his ball into the grandstand before walking off the green
sporting a wide grin.

Scott, by contrast, was a picture of abject misery 20 minutes later and appeared close to tears.

A three-foot par-saving effort by the Australian had agonisingly lipped out at the 16th before he hooked his approach into thick rough at the 17th and failed to hole out from 25 feet.

Then, at the final hole, he found a deep bunker off the tee and could only move his ball a few yards forward. Bravely, he struck a sumptuous approach to eight feet but his putt rolled past the hole and victory belonged to Els.

An unexpected victory for a player many thought was past his prime. 

Much like Darren Clarke who had won the title the year before him. 

571

Source:
Agencies
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