Els rallies to win British Open

Associated Press  |  Last updated July 21, 2012
Ernie Els capped an epic comeback to stun Adam Scott and win the British Open on Sunday. The South African star survived a tough final round and rallied past Scott, who missed a par putt on the 18th hole that could have forced a playoff. Scott, who teed off leading by four shots, struggled in the windy final round, as did everyone else. Few struggled more than Tiger Woods, who took a triple-bogey after hitting a bunker shot while sitting down. Scott made three bogeys Sunday on the front side at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, but his lead was the same as it was at the start of the day. At one point, the top five on the leaderboard were a cumulative 12 strokes over par. No one, it seemed, wanted to take charge on another sunny day when the breeze picked up significantly off the Irish Sea. Woods started the round five shots back and looking to come from behind for the first time ever to win a major title. But the debacle at No. 6 seemed likely to wipe out any chance he had of rallying for his 15th championship, and first since 2008. He ran into trouble by putting his approach into one of the treacherous bunkers alongside the green. With the ball right up against a towering sod wall, Woods made the ill-fated decision to try to chip the ball out, and didn't come close, the ball striking the side of the bunker not even halfway up. He had to jump out of the way just to make sure he didn't get hit in the shoulder, the ball plopping back into the stand a little farther back. With nowhere to place his feet, Woods had to sprawl out on the grass, his left leg tucked up under his right, and punch at the ball from a sitting position. He caught the lip of the bunker this time, but the ball skidded out to the front of the green. Woods' work wasn't done, though. His long bogey putt stopped about 4 feet short of the hole, and he missed that one for a devastating triple that knocked him back to 3 under. Graeme McDowell, playing in the final group with Scott, also was struggling. He bogeyed the second and took another bogey at the sixth after dumping his ball into the same bunker that doomed Woods. Wisely, G-Mac went backward in the sand, giving him a chance to stick his next bunker shot right up next to the flag. He tapped that one in to save 5, certainly a lot better than 7. Scott got off to a rough start at the par-3 opening hole when his drive rolled off the back of the green and he missed a 4-footer to save par. He bounced back with a birdie at the second, but two more bogeys at the third and sixth holes left him at 9 under overall as he made the turn with a 2-over 36. Fortunately for him, no one stepped up to seize the moment. Brandt Snedeker made par on the first six holes to get within two strokes of the lead, only to make back-to-back double-bogeys at the seventh and eighth holes. McDowell was 5 under at the turn. Woods was joined by Snedeker and Ernie Els at 3 under.
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