MUNICH (AP) — Ernie Els of South Africa won the BMW International Open by one shot on Sunday for his 28th European Tour title.
After sharing a three-way lead overnight, Els shot a third straight 3-under 69 in the final round to finish 18-under 270 on the Eichenried Golf Club course. Thomas Bjorn of Denmark (69) was second at 17 under and Frenchman Alexander Levy (71) finished another stroke off the pace in third for his best finish.
Els, a two-time winner at both the U.S. Open and British Open, led after the first and second rounds. "To keep the lead all the way through is quite a lot of pressure so it's been a good week," said Els, the first South African and also the oldest player to win the BMW International Open in the competition's 25th edition.
"I'm a very young 43-year-old. There's not a younger 43-year-old, I promise," he joked. "When you get to my age, when you get a win, it's a wonderful feeling. Hopefully it gives me the confidence that I needed," said Els, who tied for fourth at the U.S. Open.
Els had started level with Levy and Sweden's Alex Noren, but the Swede had two bogeys and fell out of contention while Els, Levy and Bjorn each made three birdies from their nine holes out. Bjorn was tied for the lead with Els when a double bogey on the 14th hole, coming after a bogey on the 11th, effectively ended the Dane's chances despite six birdies and a strong finish.
"I fought all the way to the end," Bjorn said. "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." The 42-year-old Bjorn finished runner-up at the Lyoness Open in Austria two weeks ago.
"I'll keep carrying on and fighting hard until I win a golf tournament," Bjorn said Els had also stumbled with a bogey on the 11th. "I just tried to stay steady. I hit the ball on the greens and tried to 2-putt and that's kind of what I did," Els said.
The 22-year-old Levy's dreams of a first title disappeared with four bogeys in his last nine holes. Noren (72) finished tied for fourth with home favorite and 2008 winner Martin Kaymer (69) and Austria's Bernd Wiesberger (68).
Defending champion Danny Willett of England (72) ended with an eagle for a share of 18th.