Els Triumphs as Scott Falters

Mon 23 Jul 2012

Els Triumphs as Scott Falters

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Lytham St Annes, England, July 22: South African Ernie Els clinched his second Open title after Australia’s Adam Scott suffered a heart-breaking meltdown at Royal Lytham & St Annes on Sunday.



The 42-year-old Els birdied the 18th for a two-under-par 68 and seven-under-par 273 total and watched Scott, chasing his first Major title, bogey the last four holes to blow an overnight four-shot lead.


 


The “Big Easy”, as Els is known, started the final round six shots back of Scott but produced some spell-binding golf in tough conditions to claim his fourth Major title but first since the 2002 Open at Muirfield.



“I really feel for him,’’ Els said. “It’s my time, for some reason.”



“Amazing. I'm still numb. It still hasn't set in. It will probably take quite a few days because I haven't been in this position for 10 years, obviously, so it's just crazy, crazy, crazy getting here. I felt good after yesterday.



“I didn't play myself out of it yesterday. But still, you know, to make up all those shots, I just felt good. I don't know. It's hard to explain. For some reason I felt something good was going to come out of this. Even if I didn't win I was going to feel good about it because of all the work we've put in. My game is back to where I feel I can compete. If it wasn't this year, I feel I can compete in it next year.”



Els said he spoke to Scott immediately after the final round. “I really feel for my buddy, Scottie, I really do. I've been there before. I've blown majors before and golf tournaments before, and I just hope he doesn't take it as hard as I did.”



Scott was coasting towards a victory a victory before suffering a collapse, which was reminiscent of his hero Greg Norman at the 1996 Masters Tournament.


 


“I'm very disappointed but I played so beautifully for most of the week - I really shouldn't let this bring me down,” he said.



“I hit a poor shot on each of the last four holes. Well, it was a very sloppy finish by me, just talking about the golf. And disappointing to finish that way. I played so well all week. I wasn't even really out of position, and I managed to get myself in some trouble and couldn't make the putts to get out of it the last four holes.



“But that's what was to be expected coming in here. It's a championship golf course, it's very difficult. And you've got to play some good shots to win those golf tournaments, and I wasn't able to do that the last few holes. Sure, I am very disappointed. But I felt like I played well this week, and it was probably a great chance.”



Els, the 1994 and 1997 US Open winner, closed with a 68 to finish one shot clear of Scott, who had led since the sixth hole on Saturday.



The Australian blew away the four-stroke lead he held on the 15th tee and finished second with a closing 75 after missing a putt on the last to force a play-off.