Ernie Els clinched the Open Championship for the second time on Sunday, following a dramatic collapse by leader Adam Scott at Royal Lytham & St Annes.
South African Els, who began the day six shots adrift, birdied the 18th to end seven under. Scott was leading by four shots going into the last four holes of the final day but four consecutive bogeys, coupled with the Els' birdie, meant the Australian lost by one stroke, marking one of the biggest back nine collapses in major championship history. Tiger Woods was tied for third with fellow American Brandt Snedeker on three-under, while world number one Luke Donald ended the day a shot further back with Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell.
This is Els' fourth triumph at the Majors, following two victories at the US Open in 1994 and 1997 and a previous win at the Open at Muirfield in 2002.
"A lot of people didn't think I could win but I started believing this year. I was hoping for at best a play-off. I really feel for Scotty I've been there before and blown majors and golf tournaments. I hope he doesn't take it to heart like I did. I told him you've got to bounce back quickly. Don't let it linger. He's 32 now and he's got the next 10 years that he can win more majors than I have and I've won four now but it was my time for some reason," the Guardian quoted the 42 year old as saying.
Meanwhile, Scott expressed his disappointment after the shock meltdown that cost him the Open but remained confident of bouncing back ahead of the next tournament.
"I know I've let a really great chance slip through my fingers today. But somehow I'll look back and take the positives from it. I don't think I've ever played this well in a major championship, so that's a good thing for me moving forward. All the stuff I'm doing is going in the right direction. Today is one of those days, and that's why they call it golf," ESPN quoted the Aussie as saying.
Scott's previous best at the Open was a tie for eighth in 2006.
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