Ernie Els back to World No. 15; Tiger now No. 2 July 23, 2012
Ernie Els produced a stunning back nine 32 to pip Australian Adam Scott to The 141st Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes.Ten years on from his last Major victory the South African could hardly believe he had become Open Champion again. The 42 year old, the same age as last year's winner Darren Clarke, triumphed after Scott bogeyed the last four holes over the difficult closing stretch. Scott, chasing his first Major, looked all set to become the first Australian to hold The Claret Jug aloft since Greg Norman in 1993 when he led by four shots with only four holes to play. But he bogeyed them all and Els, having made a crucial 15 foot birdie putt on the final green 20 minutes earlier, suddenly found himself with a fourth Major title. The win takes Els to World Number 15 and Tiger Woods, tied for third with Brandt Snedeker, moves up to World Number 2.
Scott Stallings picked up PGA Tour title two at the True South Classic after a final round 68 saw him win by a couple from compatriot Jason Bohn. With a tight finish seemingly looming on Sunday, clutch birdies at 16 and 17 removed any suspense, giving Stallings a comfortable two shot cushion down the last. The foundation for the victory was not just fine play on the final day, but back-to-back rounds of 64 on days two and three, and after a raft of injuries in 2012 this was the perfect bounceback. Stalling’s world ranking peaked at 119 after his maiden title at last season’s Greenbrier Classic, and after this second victory he now finds himself back up at 121st spot.
Espen Kofstad picked up his maiden Challenge Tour title at the Doubletree by Hilton Acaya Open after a stunning eagle-birdie-par finish saw him edge out fellow Scandinavian Joachim Hansen of Denmark. Until Kofstad’s scintillating finish it had looked like Hansen’s title, but there was nothing he could do after a closing bogey saw him come up one short. As a result Kofstad is now well inside the world’s top 350 after a jump of some 250 places.