Ernie Els claims BMW International Open in Munich
Wins by a shot from Dane Thomas Bjorn
Will be defending his British Open crown next month
Ken Duke wins Travelers Championship after playoff
Ernie Els gained the perfect confidence boost ahead of his defense of the British Open title by completing a wire to wire victory in the BMW International Open in Munich Sunday.
The 43-year-old South African carded a final round three-under-par 69 to win by a shot from fellow veteran Thomas Bjorn of Denmark on 18-under 270.
Bjorn had looked set for his second victory in the event, but a double bogey on the 14th proved costly as he also shot a 69.
The ever-popular Els was winning for the first time since claiming his fifth major title at Royal Lytham last year and he will now go to Muirfield next month in fine fettle.
“Winning this championship will just give me so much confidence going into the Open Championship,” he told the official European Tour website.
Thomas was playing great, but he stumbled on 14,” he added.
“When you go up against Ernie, you’ve got to take it 18 holes to the end and I didn’t quite do it today,” former Ryder Cup star Bjorn admitted.
Els is the oldest winner of the 25-year-old tournament, beating the previous record of Zimbabwe’s Mark McNulty, who won the event in 1994 aged 38.
It was his 28th on the European Tour and while he has entered the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart, he has strongly hinted he may withdraw to concentrate his efforts on the British Open.
French rookie Alexander Levy claimed third place on 16-under while Swede Alexander Noren, home favorite Martin Kaymer and Austrian Bernd Wiesberger finished tied for fourth on 15 under par.
On the PGA Tour, 44-year-old Ken Duke secured his first win by beating Chris Stroud in a playoff at the Travelers Championship.
The pair had finished tied on 12-under on the TPC River Highlands course, with Stroud, also bidding for his first win, chipping in from long range on the final hole.
But Duke made a birdie from two feet on the second extra hole to triumph.
Bubba Watson finished two shots behind, blowing his chances by making a triple bogey six on the par-3 16th after finding the water.
U.S. Open champion Justin Rose failed to make a last day charge, finishing with a 71 to finish six-under. He has withdrawn from the AT&T National, joining tournament host Tiger Woods on the sidelines.
Rose cited exhaustion, “the last three weeks have been extremely demanding both mentally and physically,” he said.