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Ernie Els Completes Royal Lytham St Annes Trifecta: A Fan's Take

Ernie Els Wins 2012 British Open at Royal Lytham St Annes

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In 1996, playing in the British Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, Ernie Els shot a 67 in the final round to finish in a tie for second place. Five years later, with the 2001 Open back at Lytham & St. Annes again, Els tied for third place with a final round score of 69.

The Open Championship came back to Royal Lytham & St. Annes once more in 2012. Adam Scott, in search of his first career major championship, started the final round with a four shot lead. On Sunday, July 22nd, a day when all the top challengers were losing strokes to par, Scott played the first nine holes in 36 strokes, two over par. His lead remained intact and the coveted Claret Jug seemed to be his. Golf is a fickle game, and the final four holes in the 141st Open Championship proved too much for Adam Scott.

Six shots behind when the day began, Ernie Els matched Adam Scott on the first nine, posting a 36. With birdies at holes #10, #12 and #14, Els had improved to six-under par for the tournament and alone in second place. At that moment, Adam Scott was nine-under par, safely ahead by three. With a birdie of his own at #14, Scott increased his lead to four shots with only four holes remaining.

When Els rolled home a birdie putt on the 18th green, to complete a four-under 32 over the final nine holes, Scott was standing in the fairway at the 17th. Having suffered bogeys at both the 15th and 16th, with Els' birdie at the 18th, Scott's margin had been reduced to a single shot.

Ernie Els had again played superb golf in the final round of an Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, posting a two-under par score of 68. All he could do now was wait and watch, to see how Adam Scott would finish. Scott completed his collapse with bogeys at the 17th and 18th, finishing with a 39 over the final nine holes and a three-over par score of 75 on Sunday. Not only did Ernie win the 2012 Open Championship, he also completed a rare trifecta having finished first, second, and third in three Opens played at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.

For Ernie Els, a 42 year-old South African known as "Big Easy", this is the fourth major championship of his career, having won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997, and the British Open in 2002 and now 2012. When the 142nd Open Championship is played, at Muirfield in July of 2013, Els will return as the defending champion twice over. He will be defending his current Open championship of 2012, and will also be defending his title from 2002, the last time the Open was played at Muirfield.

Harold Andrews has played golf (competitively and recreationally) for nearly 50 years. He considers Jack Ncklaus the greatest golfer of all time.


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