Ernie Els captured his second Open title on Sunday at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club in Lancashire, England, as Adam Scott faltered in the final four holes.
Els birdied the 18th for a 2-under 68, and a playoff seemed likely but Scott missed a 10-foot putt. Scott teed off leading by four shots, but struggled in the windy final round, and surrendered his lead by bogeying the last four holes.
Scott missed a three-footer for par on the 16th, which might have been the turning point. For the 32-year-old Aussie, who has never won a major and finished tied for second in the 2011 Masters, it was particularly distressing that he missed two putts that would have kept him in contention. He fought back tears after the loss.
''I had it in my hands with four to go,'' Scott said. ''I managed to hit a poor shot on each of the closing four holes. Look, I played so beautifully for most of the week. I shouldn't let this bring me down.''
Scott could perhaps take solace that the most renowned golfer in the world struggled on Sunday, as well. Tiger Woods had a triple-bogey after hitting a bunker shot while sitting down. Detractors who have questioned Woods's ability to win another major, yet the American finished tied for third with fellow countryman Brandt Snedeker.
Els, 42, has now won four majors, and the victory on Sunday marked the first British Open victory since 2002.
''I'm a little numb at the moment,'' said Els. ''First of all, I feel for Adam Scott. He's a great friend of mind. Obviously, we both wanted to win very badly. But you know, that's the nature of the beast. That's why we're out here. You win, you lose.
''It was my time for some reason.''