Adam Scott denies that nerves were to blame

Adam Scott denied his late collapse that handed a second Open Championship to Ernie Els was down to nerves.

The Australian, who led by four strokes at the start of the final day, bogeyed the final four holes and eventually lost out by one shot to Els.

“I was surprisingly calm the whole way round,” said the world number 13 after his five-over-par round of 75.

“It came down to not making a couple of putts on the last four holes. If I make one on 15 or 16 it’s very different.”

Having dropped a shot on the 15th, a three-foot par putt agonisingly lipped out at the 16th before Scott hooked his approach into thick rough at the 17th and failed to hole out from 25 feet.

On the 18th, Scott found a deep bunker off the tee and could only move his ball a few yards forward. He struck a fine approach to eight feet but his putt, which would have secured a play-off, missed the hole to the left.

Scott, who is still searching for his first major title but has won the Players’ Championship, added: “I was a little nervous on the first tee but less so than yesterday. I probably spent up all my nerves over the 24 hours leading up to playing today.

“I definitely worked myself up a little bit at times, but once I was out there I felt completely in control and even the last few holes I didn’t really feel like it was a case of nerves or anything like that.

“It was a very sloppy finish and disappointing to finish that way. I played so well all week.

“I wasn’t even really out of position but I managed to get myself in some trouble and couldn’t make the putts to get out of it over the last four holes.

“But that’s what was to be expected coming in here. It’s a championship golf course, it’s very difficult.”

Scott, 32, said he and Els shared a few words before the South African was presented with the Claret Jug.

“Ernie said he felt for me and not to beat myself up,” said Scott. “He said I’m a great player and I can go on to win majors, which is nice.

“We have a close friendship. We’ve had some good battles in the past and it’s nice to hear that from him. I respect Ernie a lot, he’s a player who is a worthy champion for sure.”

Scott has won eight times on both the US and European tours and was bidding to become the first Australian to lift the Claret Jug since Greg Norman in 1993.

“I know I’ve let a really great chance slip through my fingers but somehow I’ll look back and take the positives from it,” he said.

“Maybe it hasn’t sunk in yet. Maybe there will be a bit more disappointment when I get home and wind down.”