In unlikely fashion Ernie Els came from behind on Sunday to win The 2012 Open Championship. Els made birdie on the 72nd hole to move to 7-under par, good enough for a one stroke victory. Els was one of only nine players to shoot under par during the final round and when Adam Scott made bogey on the final hole, the comeback was complete.
Ernie Els wins the 2012 Open Championship. Photo: PGA Tour
Much of the focus will be on the collapse of Scott, who looked like he would earn his first major championship victory with just a few holes to play. In a round filled with mostly pars, Scott had a four stroke lead with four holes to play. Scott went on to make four consecutive bogies on 15, 16, 17, and 18 to drop to 6-under, one stroke behind Els. The most shocking may have been on the 18th as Scott missed his 7-foot par putt to the disbelief of almost everyone watching.
As difficult as the final hole was for Scott, the opposite can be said for Els. After shooting 2-over on the front, Els made birdies on 10, 12, 14 and 18 to finish with a 2-under 68. He played the 18th perfectly after a great drive in the fairway, his approach left him a 15-foot birdie putt which he confidently knocked in for birdie and what was eventually the winning putt.
With the win Els becomes the 6th player in golf history to win the U.S. Open and British Open twice in his career. The other five players are Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Walter Hagen, Bobby Jones and Lee Trevino. The win also gives Els a ticket to The Masters for the next five years, a tournament he missed out on earlier this season.
The win was the first for Els since 2010 when he captured the WGC- CA Championship and the South African Open. It's his 19th career PGA Tour victory and comes just weeks after a top 10 finish at the U.S. Open.