Adam Scott looked like he was cruising to the Claret Jug as Sunday progressed. Tiger Woods fell off with a triple bogey at the sixth hole, and never could mount a charge. Brandt Snedeker (74) and Graeme McDowell (75) had bad final rounds. Only Ernie Els, among those with a realistic chance entering the day, was staying within anywhere approaching striking distance.
Even then, though, it was a longshot. Through 10 holes, college basketball stats wizard Ken Pomeroy had Scott at 90% and Els at 4%. After 11, it was 90% and 3%. Through 13 (for Scott), it was 92% and 8%, with no one else given a chance.
After Scott’s birdie on fourteen, Pomeroy declared him the winner: “It’s over”. Els had two holes remaining, Scott had 4 left, with a 4 stroke lead.
A bogey by Scott left the door open, and then Els made a key putt on 18th to get to 7 under. Scott bogeyed again, and then disaster struck when Scott hit his second shot on #17 into the deep grass around the green. He could not get up and down, and went to #18 tied. The disaster continued on 18, with the tee shot finding a fairway bunker. He had to punch out sideways, and get up and down. His iron shot was true, but his putt just missed.
Ernie Els, British Open Champion. The run of first time winners ends in improbable and dramatic fashion.
[photo via US Presswire]