SOUTH AFRICA’S Ernie Els beat compatriot Retief Goosen by a single shot to win his home Open for the fifth time, but only after rain saw him play two rounds in one day.
It was a triumph of skill and endurance for the 41-year-old with storm delays forcing him into putting in some overtime.
Els’ closing 63 saw him finish on 25 under, with compatriots Goosen, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel second, third and fourth.
After a 64 in his first round of the day, three-time major winner Els carded five birdies, an eagle and a bogey in his second to end the tourna just out of reach of Goosen’s reach.
On clinching his third win of the season, Els said cramming two rounds into one day made for “an incredible feeling”.
“I’ve been playing the game for quite some time, 20 years now as a professional player and I’ve never had a day like that,” said the Els.
“I had a two shot lead at the start of the day and then after five holes I was three behind and then I was one up again after 18 holes. So it was just an incredible day.
“Retief’s beaten me coming down the stretch quite a few times, so I really wanted to play well.
“It was really important. I knew all along that he was going to be the guy I would need to beat.”