BBC SPORT Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC Sport
 You are in: Golf: The Open  
Sport Front Page
-------------------
Football
Cricket
Rugby Union
Rugby League
Tennis
Golf
Statistics
US Masters
US Open
The Open
USPGA
Ryder Cup
Motorsport
Boxing
Athletics
Other Sports
-------------------
Special Events
-------------------
Sports Talk
-------------------
BBC Pundits
TV & Radio
Question of Sport
-------------------
Photo Galleries
Funny Old Game
-------------------
Around The UK: 
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales

BBC Sport Academy
BBC News
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS

  Sunday, 21 July, 2002, 18:51 GMT 19:51 UK
Els claims Open title
Ernie Els with the Championship Trophy on the 18th green
Els got his hands on the Claret Jug in the end

Ernie Els beat Thomas Levet in a sudden death play-off to claim a truly dramatic Open victory at Muirfield.

The pair were forced to play the 18th hole for the third time in the day after emerging all-square from 18 regulation holes and a four-hole play-off.

In keeping with the drama, both men struggled to find the green on the intimidating final hole - Levet trapped in a fairway bunker, Els finding sand by the green.

Levet's par putt, from a long distance, just stayed above the hole and he had to settle for a bogey five.

It definitely hasn't sunk in yet - I was shaking on that putt

Ernie Els

Els was left with a four foot uphill putt, which he made to complete a gripping finale.

The South African reacted by throwing his cap in the air and was immediately congratulated by Levet.

His win adds the Open title to two US Open victories and the world number three must believe that he can now mount a sustained challenge to Tiger Woods' domination of the sport.

Four men finished 72 holes tied at six under - Els and Levet along with Steve Elkington and Stuart Appleby of Australia.

The players returned to the course to play holes one, 16, 17 and 18.

Bogeys for Elkington and Appleby at the final play-off hole meant elimination.

France's Thomas Levet, who pushed Ernie Els all the way at The Open
Levet - so close to a surprise victory

Elkington will reflect on another missed opportunity at the 18th, when he missed a straightforward birdie opportunity which would have won the tournament for him.

But Els' downfall on the inward nine will also be remembered - he blew his chance of winning the title in regulation with a double bogey at the par three 16th.

He hit a poor tee shot, required two chips to find the green and then two-putted from 10 feet.

Only a birdie at the 17th kept him in play-off contention, an unbelievable turnaround after he had led the field by two shots at the 14th.

Ireland's Padraig Harrington blew his chances on the final hole after a terrible tee shot found the worst possible lie in a fairway bunker.

He was forced to play his recovery sideways into the gallery and eventually dropped a shot to finish on five under.

This Open will also be remembered for the magnificent efforts of unknown Englishman Gary Evans, whose round of 65 made him the clubhouse leader for some time.

The 33-year-old managed a thrilling par at the 17th despite losing his ball and carded eight birdies.

Tiger Woods put the woes of Saturday's third round behind him with an impressive round of 65.

The world number one played as well as he had all week, although once again a number of his putts fell just wide of the hole.

But it was a miserable day for Colin Montgomerie, whose final round 75 put him at 13 over for the tournament.

The Scot later suggested that he may take a break from the game because of negative coverage of his career by the media.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Alistair Bruce-Ball
"A thrilling victory"
Open Champion Ernie Els
"I thought my chance of victory had gone"
Open runner-up Thomas Levet
"Ernie is a great champion"
BBC Sport Online's Open Golf Championship news section

All the Muirfield action

More Open coverage

Your say on The Open

Clickable guides

Internet link
See also:

22 Jul 02 | Sports Talk
Links to more The Open stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more The Open stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

Sport Front Page | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League |
Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Other Sports |
Special Events | Sports Talk | BBC Pundits | TV & Radio | Question of Sport |
Photo Galleries | Funny Old Game | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales