South Africa’s Ernie Els held off Thomas Bjorn of Denmark to win the BMW International Open, at Golfclub München Eichenried in Germany, by a single shot.
Els fired a 63 in the first round of the tournament and two solid 69s saw him enter the final 18-holes tied for the lead with Sweden’s Alex Noren and French rookie Alexander Levy.
The lead changed several times during the last round with both Bjorn and Levy enjoying stints at the top of the leaderboard.
The Dane held the advantage after a run of three straight birdies from the third hole. But Els struck back with three birdies of his own in the space of four holes from the fifth.
When both veterans bogeyed the 11th, Qualifying school graduate Levy took the lead following a front nine of 33. But the Frenchman bogeyed the 10th and 12th to fall behind once more.
The decisive hole proved to be the 14th. Bjorn hooked his drive into thick rough and was lucky to find his ball. Els was also left from the tee, but he had a slim chance of making it to the green in regulation on the long par-4.
Bjorn hacked out to the fairway before Els played a superb running shot, from over 200 yards out, that hopped a bunker and skipped up the green. The Dane then played a poor third and was unable to get up and down from the right side of the green, resulting in a double bogey. Els made par and was two shots clear.
Although Levy threatened again after a birdie at the 13th, he fell away with two bogeys on the run in. Els secured the victory with two fine shots to the par-5 18th. He was able to calmly roll his eagle effort to the edge of the hole and tap in for a 28th European Tour title.
“I’ve had a great week in Germany. We’ve got to thank BMW obviously for their 25 years of support, I’ve tried a long time to win this golf tournament,” said Els. “It’s great to get my name on this wonderful trophy. Obviously it gives you a lot of confidence: Wire-to-wire you’ve got the pressure, every night you’ve got to sleep on it, guys are chasing you. So this is quite a week for me.”
Bjorn managed a birdie of his own at the last to grab second place and Levy enjoyed a similar finish to secure solo third spot.
BMW International Open
Golfclub München Eichenried, Munich, Germany
Jun 20-23, purse €2,000,000, par 72
1 Ernie Els (RSA) 63 69 69 69 270 €333,330
2 Thomas Bjorn (Den) 68 69 65 69 271 €222,220
3 Alexander Levy (Fra) 65 68 68 71 272 €125,200
T4 Martin Kaymer (Ger) 64 71 69 69 273 €84,933
T4 Alex Noren (Swe) 64 71 66 72 273 €84,933
T4 Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 66 68 71 68 273 €84,933
T7 Darren Fichardt (RSA) 70 66 69 69 274 €51,600
T7 Sergio Garcia (Esp) 71 69 65 69 274 €51,600
T7 Wen-yi Huang (Chn) 71 69 69 65 274 €51,600
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage
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