South Africa’s Ernie Els held off final-round challenges from Thomas Bjorn and Alexander Levy to seal a one-shot start-to-finish victory at the BMW International Open in Munich, Germany, on Sunday.
The Open champion led the field from the opening round and started Sunday tied with France’s Levy and Sweden’s Alex Noren.
The 43-year-old’s lead slipped during the final round to both Denmark’s Bjorn and tour rookie Levy, but his third consecutive card of three-under 69 was enough for an 18-under total, following his stunning 63 on the opening day.
“I just felt good this week,” Els told the European Tour Web site. “I just felt my game was there and lucky enough it was one shot good enough. I really had it going and then I made it tough for myself again. Thomas was playing great, he stumbled on 14, I was watching the kid — I played with him yesterday and he looked like he had a great game — but he stumbled as well on the back nine.”
“It’s great to get my name on this wonderful trophy,” the South African said.
“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,” he said.
Bjorn finished one shot behind Els and was left to rue a double-bogey on the 14th, with 22-year-old Levy two shots behind the winner.
The victory was Els’ 28th on the European Tour, but his first title since winning his fourth major at The Open last year.
His defense of that title begins at Muirfield in Scotland on July 18.