In an unbelievable turn of events, Ernie Els has won The Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes.
The inclement weather that was forecast for the final day never materialised and we were treated to fantastic golfing conditions for nearly the entire event – surely a first for an Open Championship? While everyone basked in the summer sunshine, there were mutterings of a fierce wind that was expected to influence proceedings and that too, never really happened.
Despite Snedeker’s appalling crash and burn during the penultimate round, he made an admirable comeback and was in contention for most of the last day’s play. Graeme McDowell was also in contention but both dropped too many shots and fell away. The Northern Irishman landed up in fifth with compatriot Luke Donald, while Snedeker landed up finishing tied with fellow American Tiger Woods.
Woods looked rather comfortable as he attempted to mount a challenge on Scott’s overnight lead but his hard work was undone by a particularly mean bunker on the sixth hole. He had to resort to some desperate measures just to get out the bunker and he ended the hole with a horrific triple bogey. It wasn’t a bad performance by the 14-time Major champion, as he ended four shots off the pace in a tie for third.
With Els finishing in style with a birdie and 68, Scott just needed to birdie the final hole to grab the win. His drive went straight into one of the many bunkers and he unfortunately had to play out sideways. His third shot got to within ten feet of the hole and he was faced with a daunting putt to force a playoff. One can only imagine what Scott was thinking as he lined it up. Sink it and you’re in the playoff but miss, and you’ve lost The Open…
Heartbreak for Scott
Scott sent his putt fractionally wide and as it skimmed millimetres past the hole, he fell to his knees in anguish. It must be terribly hard for Scott to fathom how he didn’t win this year’s Open, especially after his performance throughout the competition. At one stage he was four shots clear, and many people, myself included, were uttering that this was Scott’s Open to lose. Ernie was sympathetic to a visibly heartbroken Scott and he started his speech with a message of condolence.
Still, there’s no denying that Ernie played well despite some hair-raising moments on the putting green. He’s still being let down by his putting and he could have had The Open in the bag earlier had it not been for some careless strokes. Despite having a dig at Els not so long ago, I’m very pleased that he’s back to winning ways after a ten year drought.
|1||Ernie Els (SA)||273||67||70||68||68|
|T7||Thomas Aiken (SA)||279||68||68||71||72|