Scott hands Els Open crown with late collapse

Adam Scott stood on the 15th at Royal Lytham on the final day of The Open Championship with a four shot lead after a birdie on the 14th and looked to be in cruise control.

What transpired over the next four holes brought back painful memories of some of Greg Norman’s infamous collapses as Scott squandered the championship title while Ernie Els finished with string of pars and a closing birdie.

Adam Scott Adam Scott shows his disappointment as the Open crown slips from his grasp (Credit: Getty Images)

Els’ 2-under-par 68 gave him his second Open title finishing at 7-under-par.

Scott bogeyed the last four holes in succession, compounding each mistake with another unrelated one – a blown sand save at 15, a missed 3-footer at 16, a wayward approach at 17, and finally, an errant drive at the last to fall one shot short of Els.

Scott’s 5-over-par final round 75 dashing his hopes of claiming his first major after the 32-year-old opened the tournament with a course record-equalling 64 and then rounds of 67-68.

Tiger Woods finished three shots behind Scott in a tie for third place with Brandt Snedeker at 3-under-par.

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Scott had been bidding to join Peter Thomson (1954, 1955, 1956, 1958, 1965), Kel Nagle (1960), Norman (1986, 1993) and Ian Baker-Finch (1991) as the only Australians to hold the famous Claret Jug in The Open’s 152-year history.

The Australian had his chance to force a play-off but pulled his two metre putt on the 18th to complete one of the most painful collapses in golfing history.

“I had it in my hands with four to go,” Scott said afterward.

“I’m very disappointed. I played so beautifully for most of the week.”

For the Australian fan base, it was painful to watch – another major had slipped passed.

The major championship trophy that Scott seemed destined at long last to hold was firmly in Ernie Els’ grasp instead.

“It’s tough,” said Scott.

“I can’t justify anything that I’ve done out there. I didn’t finish the tournament well today. But next time, I’m sure there will be a next time.”

The way Scott carried himself throughout the toughest afternoon of his life is testament to the true gentleman he is.

Scott held his head high, a class act right until the end and gave no excuses for what had transpired.

“I’m a positive guy,” said Scott.

“I’m optimistic and I want to take all the good stuff that I did this week and use that for the next time I’m out on the course.”

He may not have won The Open championship title, but he had won the admiration and support of the golfing world.