Ernie Els Edges Past Adam Scott to Win 2012 British Open in Epic Final Round

Nicholas GossCorrespondent IJuly 22, 2012

LYTHAM ST ANNES, ENGLAND - JULY 22:  Ernie Els of South Africa reacts to a birdie putt on the 18th green during the final round of the 141st Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club on July 22, 2012 in Lytham St Annes, England.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Adam Scott made four bogeys on the final four holes of the 2012 British Open in one of the most historic collapses in tournament history to allow Ernie Els to win the fourth major championship of his career, and his second British Open crown.

Scott's heartbreaking meltdown will dominate the discussion over the next few days, but we shouldn't forget that Els played absolutely spectacularly on Sunday.

The South African shot a two-under 68 in the final round to finish seven under par for the tournament. He was one of the few players in the top part of the leaderboard to shoot under par on Sunday. Els' experience was on display during the back nine, where he made four birdies and five pars.

His birdie putt on the final hole put him one stroke back of Scott while the Australian still had two holes to play. It was a tremendous clutch putt that gave him a chance to force a playoff or even win the tournament.

Els has now won a major championship in three different decades, which is an extraordinary accomplishment. He won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997, and the British Open in 2002 and now 2012.

Ernie Els becomes 6th player to win 2 U.S. Opens and 2 Open Championships (Woods, Nicklaus, Trevino, Jones, Hagen).

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 22, 2012

Scott will have to wait until the PGA Championship in August for another chance to win his first major championship. After shooting 64, 67 and 68 in the first three rounds of the tournament, Scott shot a 75 on Sunday, including seven bogeys, three more than he had in the previous three rounds combined.

Els never gave up on Sunday and his determination was rewarded with another opportunity to lift the famous Claret Jug as the winner of the British Open. It was a championship display by a great player and an even better man.