British Open 2012 Results: Breaking Down Top Europeans' Final Round Performances

Mike Shiekman@TheRealShiekFeatured ColumnistJuly 23, 2012

British Open 2012 Results: Breaking Down Top Europeans' Final Round Performances

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    The 2012 British Open had Europeans galore fighting at the top of the leaderboard, including a few unexpected names from the Rory McIlroys and the Lee Westwoods.

    I made my predictions for the top European players in the Open, which can be accessed here. Only one player from that pre-tournament list made it onto this final round review, which should exemplify the difficulty of winning the tournament with so many strong golfers in the field.

    The Europeans were on their home turf this weekend, which usually bodes well for them in Open Championship history—they’ve claimed 35 out of the 79 champions.

    Let’s see how the European contenders fared on the final day at Royal Lythum & St. Annes.

Runner-Up: Adam Scott (-6)

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    The final round at Royal Lytham & St.Annes will be one that Adam Scott will want to forget. Unfortunately, the day was so nightmarish, that will be hard to do.

    Even the British Open commentators were calling for Scott’s coronation when he was up four strokes on Ernie Els with four to play. A few bunker predicaments and four bogeys later, and Scott had lost the Open lead and his first major championship.

    What’s so disturbing about Scott’s final round collapse was the he only had one bogey on the last four holes that weekend. That, of course, was before the final day—a day that will be at the forefront of Scott’s mind until he can summon a major championship.

T5: Luke Donald (-2)

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    Donald may not have played well enough to get the media monkey off his back, but a fifth place finish and a promising final round won’t hurt. The No.1 player in the world was one of seven golfers in the top 40 who finished under par on Sunday.

    He also avoided a slow start in this Open Championship—a recurring trend that had been plaguing him in this year’s other majors. He hovered around a par score all weekend—so while he wasn’t in contention with the Adam Scotts and Tiger Woods of the world, he did show the mettle and determination to survive the course.

Graeme McDowell (T-5) and Nicholas Cosaerts (T-7)

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    These two golfers are grouped together because it was the tale of two paths on championship Sunday.

    The thirty-year-old Colsaert has his best major weekend in 12 years of professional golf. His five-under score in the final round was the best final round of his career, and started a two-major streak of making the cut.

    Graeme McDowell, on the other hand, had it a bit worse. He had to watch Adam Scott choke his chance at the Clarett Jug while he played one of the most disappointing rounds of his career.

    McDowell started Sunday in the final group along with Scott as the best contender to take down the leader. Seven bogeys on the day, though, would do him in. McDowell simply looked like a different player during that final round, especially in his approach game.

Champion: Ernie Els (South Africa)

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    He may not be European, nor been part of my pre-tournament preview, but as a non-American major winner, he deserves his due in this column.

    Els turned in a tour veteran’s performance at Royal Lytham, hanging around high enough on the back nine to be in contention when Adam Scott choked his lead away on the 18th green.

    While Scott was busy working his way out of bunkers and trying to save par, Els showed calm and patience in his approach shots, having faith that his short game would be at its best. Surely, when he needed it on the 18th, he drained the putt to go seven under par.

    Little did he know that a half an hour later, that would be the difference.