BMW Open: Ernie new champion, Brandon new prodigy

The BMW International Open proved to be a fairytale of a tournament. Ernie Els birdied the 18th and became the oldest player to win the event, pipping Thomas Bjorn by a stroke.

 

Professional debutant Brandon Stone defied the odds and broke par in every round for a 13-under-par total and tied 10th.

 

China’s Wen-Yi Huang shot a Sunday 65 and tied for seventh on the back of an invitation. The 31-year-old is a former caddie and received an invitation to Germany through the Chinese Golf Association.

 

But firstly the day belonged to Els. The ever-relaxed Open Champion and his good friend Thomas Bjorn gritted their teeth during the Sunday showdown, both carding 69 at the end of it all.

 

“I just felt good this week. I just felt my game was there and lucky enough it was one shot good enough,” said Els The highlights reel of the Big Easy’s tournament will certainly include birdie at the 18th on Sunday, but a large portion will be taken up by his first-round 63, which included an eagle at the sixth.

 

“To shoot 63 the first day and then to play nine-under for the next three rounds, just shows you how wonderful the first round was,” smiled the new champion.

 

He loved the back nine at GolfKlub Munchen Eichenried and for the first three rounds shot 31, 33, 33 from the 10th to the 18th, which helped him relax on the stretch on Sunday.

 

The Big Easy made his way through the final nine holes in level par and Bjorn made double bogey at the 14th and couldn’t recover.

 

Els credited the skill of the over-40s currently competing and added: “You know, you look at (Phil) Mickelson, myself, Thomas (Bjorn), there's quite a few of us, there's at least ten of us in our 40s that can still play, (Miguel) Jiménez and so forth.”

 

On the opposite end of the spectrum was Brandon Stone, playing his first tournament via sponsor’s invitation. The 20-year-old had an electric debut and scythed his way to tied 10th, in spite of a double bogey at the 14th on Sunday.

 

Darren Fichardt also put in a good showing this week, joining Sergio Garcia and Wen-Yi Huang in a share of seventh on 14-under-par. Likewise Justin Walters, who streaked round in 65 on Sunday to take up a share of 29th.

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