Lytham St. Annes, England (Sports Network) - Ernie Els won the Open Championship on Sunday in a stunning final round at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that saw Adam Scott bogey the last four holes to lose by one.
Scott held a 4-shot lead with four to play and bogeyed them all. Els drained a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th, then watched Scott miss an 8-foot par save at the last to give Els his fourth major title.
"First of all, I feel for my buddy Adam Scott," Els said in the first words out of his mouth at his trophy presentation. "Scotty, you're a great player, great friend of mine. We've had some great battles. I feel very fortunate. You're going to win many of these. You have too much talent."
Scott's collapse began with a missed 8-foot par putt at the 15th hole, then a short lip-out for par at 16.
His lead was still two, but Els hit a beautiful approach 15 feet left of the flag at 18. Els poured in the birdie try to post 7-under par as Scott was walking down the fairway at 17.
From the short grass at 17, Scott went long and left into a thick lie off the green. He hacked his third to 25 feet and that putt stayed above ground.
The two were tied and Scott drove into one of the many treacherous bunkers at 18. He had to go out sideways, hit the lip, but was in play. Scott hit a magnificent third 8 feet short of the cup and he had a chance to force a playoff.
But Scott's putt slid by left, and the comeback and collapse were complete.
"I'm just all numb at the moment. He's a great friend of mine," said Els. "Obviously we both wanted to win very badly for different reasons and I really feel for him. I was hoping at best playoff."
Els picked up his second Claret Jug after he won at Muirfield 11 years ago. He won the U.S. Open in both 1994 and 1997 and has now captured major titles in three different decades.
"It means I've been around a long time, a bit of perseverance here and there, especially the last couple of months," Els said on TV.
He shot a 2-under 68 on Sunday to finish at 7-under 273.
Scott, looking for his first major victory, had a 5-over 75 and missed a playoff by one tantalizing stroke.
"Sure, I'm very disappointed, but I felt like I played well this week," Scott said. "I was surprisingly calm the whole round. It came down to not making a couple putts. If I make either on 15 or 16, it's a very different position."