Els wins his second Open

  • Last Updated: July 22 2012, 21:34 BST

Ten years on from his last major victory Ernie Els became Open champion again on Sunday - and could hardly believe it.

Els wins his second Open

The 42-year-old South African, same age as last year's winner Darren Clarke, triumphed after Adam Scott suffered a nightmare collapse over Royal Lytham's closing stretch.

Scott, chasing his first major, looked all set to become the first Australian to hold the Claret Jug aloft since Greg Norman in 1993 when he led by four shots with only four holes to play.

Ernie Els "It's the nature of the beast. That's why we are out here. You win, you lose and it was my time."
Ernie Els

But he bogeyed them all and Els, having made a 15-foot birdie putt on the final green 20 minutes earlier, suddenly found himself with a fourth major title without even having to go into a play-off.

As Nick Faldo said: "Well done Ernie Els, but Adam Scott is going to be scarred for life."

Els commented: "I'm just all numb at the moment. He's a great friend of mine. Obviously we both wanted to win very badly for different reasons and I really feel for him.

"It's the nature of the beast. That's why we are out here. You win, you lose and it was my time.

"I was hoping at best play-off. When I was on the 17th green he was on the 16th tee and, as we all know, it's not the hardest hole."

Scott, whose caddie Steve Williams won 13 majors with Tiger Woods, had allowed the gap to come down to two by failing to get up and down from a bunker on the 15th.

  • Profiles

He then three-putted the next and while playing the 17th would certainly have heard the roar - the loudest of the week - for Els's last green putt for a 68 and seven-under-par aggregate of 273.

The "Big Easy", second at Lytham in 1996 and third in 2001, almost resigned himself to another near-miss. But things were about to change far more than he anticipated.

  • Ernie Els won his second Open at Lytham on Sunday
  • The South African won by a shot from Adam Scott
  • Adam Scott was six shots clear of Ernie at the start of the day's play
  • But four bogeys in the last four holes proved his undoing
  • Ernie and Scott after the trophy presentation
  • Els sinks another putt on his way to a stunning win
  • On the charge: Ernie knocks in another birdie
  • Ernie goes wild after holing his birdie putt at 18
  • Carlos Tevez is on the bag for Andres Romero
  • Tevez and Romero share a joke
  • John Daly and Tom Watson during the last round at Lytham
  • Martin Laird gets the final day under way
  • Lee Westwood in action on the final day
  • Ian Poulter plans his strategy for the hole
  • Padraig Harrington sizes up a putt
  • It was not a great week for Rory McIlroy
  • Nicolas Colsaerts after his closing 65
  • Luke Donald started the final round on the fringe of things
  • Graeme McDowell fell short on the Sunday
  • Brandt Snedeker's effort petered out on Sunday
  • Bubba Watson in action on the final day
  • Adam Scott's caddie Steve Williams
  • Tiger Woods has some terrible trouble in one of the fearsome bunkers
  • A kiss for the Claret Jug
  • The Big Easy salutes his adoring fans

Scott pulled his approach into the rough, and when he drove into more sand down the last and had to hack out, Els had one hand on the trophy.

His Presidents Cup team-mate played a superb third to eight feet, but the par putt to force extra holes was pulled wide and that was that.

Having stood 11 under earlier in the day, he signed for a 75 and six under.

Woods, who also finished poorly in addition to taking a triple bogey, tied for third with fellow American Brandt Snedeker three shots further back, while Scott's playing partner Graeme McDowell ended up fifth with world number one Luke Donald.

In his winner's speech Els told the crowd: "I had a lot of support this week. But you guys have got to ask yourselves the question were you just being nice to me or did you actually believe I could win?".

Many thought his best days were long behind him and he did not even qualify for The Masters in April.

Collated final round scores & totals in THE 141st OPEN GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP, Royal Lytham & St Annes GC, Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, England

(Gbr & Irl unless stated, par 70):

273 Ernie Els (Rsa) 67 70 68 68

274 Adam Scott (Aus) 64 67 68 75

277 Tiger Woods (USA) 67 67 70 73, Brandt Snedeker (USA) 66 64 73 74

278 Graeme McDowell 67 69 67 75, Luke Donald 70 68 71 69

279 Thomas Aiken (Rsa) 68 68 71 72, Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel) 65 77 72 65

280 Zach Johnson (USA) 65 74 66 75, Matt Kuchar (USA) 69 67 72 72, Geoff Ogilvy (Aus) 72 68 73 67, Dustin Johnson (USA) 73 68 68 71, Vijay Singh (Fij) 70 72 68 70, Alexander Noren (Swe) 71 71 69 69, Mark Calcavecchia (USA) 71 68 69 72, Thorbjorn Olesen (Den) 69 66 71 74, Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa) 71 69 73 67, Ian Poulter 71 69 73 67

281 Hunter Mahan (USA) 70 71 70 70, Steven Alker (Nzl) 69 69 72 71, Bill Haas (USA) 71 68 68 74, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 72 68 68 73

282 Nick Watney (USA) 71 70 69 72, Steve Stricker (USA) 67 71 73 71, Bubba Watson (USA) 67 73 68 74, Matthew Baldwin 69 73 69 71, Simon Dyson 72 67 73 70, James Morrison 68 70 72 72, Peter Hanson (Swe) 67 72 72 71, Carl Pettersson (Swe) 71 68 73 70

283 Jason Dufner (USA) 70 66 73 74, Rickie Fowler (USA) 71 72 70 70, Anirban Lahiri (Ind) 68 72 70 73

284 Keegan Bradley (USA) 71 72 68 73, Jim Furyk (USA) 72 70 71 71, Paul Lawrie 65 71 76 72, John Senden (Aus) 70 71 75 68, Gary Woodland (USA) 73 70 70 71

285 Francesco Molinari (Ita) 69 72 71 73, Kyle Stanley (USA) 70 69 70 76, K J Choi (Kor) 70 73 71 71, Troy Matteson (USA) 70 72 71 72, Padraig Harrington 70 72 70 73, Richard Sterne (Rsa) 69 73 73 70

286 Justin Hicks (USA) 68 74 69 75, Ross Fisher 72 71 74 69, Joost Luiten (Ned) 73 70 69 74, Greg Chalmers (Aus) 71 68 71 76, Rafael Echenique (Arg) 73 69 71 73, Simon Khan 70 69 71 76, Pablo Larrazabal (Spa) 73 70 71 72, Bob Estes (USA) 69 72 74 71, Lee Westwood 73 70 71 72

287 Fredrik Jacobson (Swe) 69 73 73 72, Thomas Bjorn (Den) 70 69 72 76, Greg Owen 71 71 71 74, Yoshinori Fujimoto (Jpn) 71 70 73 73, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spa) 71 71 72 73, Harris English (USA) 71 71 70 75

288 Rory McIlroy 67 75 73 73, Ted Potter, Jr. (USA) 69 71 74 74, Dale Whitnell 71 69 72 76, Jamie Donaldson 68 72 72 76

289 Garth Mulroy (Rsa) 71 69 72 77, Retief Goosen (Rsa) 70 70 75 74, Sang-moon Bae (Kor) 72 71 71 75, Lee Slattery 69 72 75 73, Charles Howell III (USA) 72 71 74 72

290 Aaron Baddeley (Aus) 71 71 74 74, Jeev Milkha Singh (Ind) 70 71 76 73, Adilson Da Silva (Bra) 69 74 71 76

291 Juvic Pagunsan (Phi) 71 72 73 75, Chad Campbell (USA) 73 70 74 74, Toshinori Muto (Jpn) 67 72 74 78, Martin Laird 70 69 82 70, Brendan Jones (Aus) 69 74 72 76

292 Tom Watson (USA) 71 72 76 73, Branden Grace (Rsa) 73 69 71 79, Warren Bennett 71 70 75 76, Thongchai Jaidee (Tha) 69 71 74 78

294 John Daly (USA) 72 71 77 74, Rafael Cabrera Bello (Spa) 70 71 76 77

298 Andres Romero (Arg) 70 69 77 82