Evoking painful memories of some of Greg Norman's infamous collapses, Australian golfer Adam Scott has squandered a four-shot back-nine lead to hand the British Open to South African Ernie Els.
Scott was cruising with a four-stroke advantage with four holes to play before racking up consecutive bogeys on the last four holes as Els stormed home with three birdies down the closing stretch.
Els' final-round two-under-par 68 gave him a second Open triumph with a 72-hole total of seven-under 273.
Scott's five-over 75 was his worst final round of the year and left him in second place at six-under 274.
The 32-year-old had opened the tournament with a course record-equalling 64 and further rounds of 67 and 68, his 54-hole total just one shy of the lowest in Open history.
Scott had been seeking his long overdue first major championship, but instead he will inevitably be compared to his childhood hero Norman, whose most notorious loss came at the 1996 US Masters when he blew a six-shot last-day lead.
After rolling in a 15-footer for birdie on the 14th, Scott completely unravelled.
He put his approach into a greenside pot and missed his attempt at par from 12 foot on the 15th and three-putted for the first time in the championship on the 16th.
His attempt for par from a metre was Shark-like as it spun around and out of the hole.
After a beautiful tee shot on the par-4 17th, Scott put his approach into the rough left and was unable to get up and down, his lead now gone.
His nerves fraying, Scott drove into a fairway bunker on the par-4 18th and had no choice but to chip out virtually sideways.
He gave himself a shot at a four-hole playoff when he hit his third shot to eight foot but missed to gasps and groans across Royal Lytham and St Annes' famous links course.
Although on this occasion, he threw away the lead, just like at last year's US Masters, it was a South African who mowed Scott down.
At Augusta, Charl Schwartzel produced an unprecedented birdie-birdie-birdie-birdie finish to snatch victory from Scott, who had led by two shots with two to play - like on Sunday at Lytham.
"I feel for Adam Scott. He's a great friend of mine," said Els, who himself now joins the legends of the game as a four-times major champion.
Scott presented a brave front, but must have been churning inside.
"I played so beautifully for most of the week. I certainly shouldn't let this bring me down," the 32-year-old said.
"The 16th hole hurt, missing that short putt. But, surprisingly, I was still feeling incredibly calm for most of the round and I still feel calm.
"I hit a great shot into the last and felt like I could have rolled that in and get a few extra holes, but it wasn't to be.
"That's golf, isn't it?"
Scott had been bidding to join Peter Thomson (1954, 1955, 1956, 1958, 1965), Kel Nagle (1960), Norman (1986, 1993) and Ian Baker-Finch (1991) as the only Australians in the Open's 152-year history to kiss the famous Claret Jug.
Cruelly now he will take a dubious place in Australian sporting history.
Of the other Australians who made the halfway cut, Ogilvy charged home with a three-under 67 to finish equal ninth at even par, with John Senden also closing in style with a 68 for a four-over total and a tie for 34th.Greg Chalmers (76) was joint 45th at six over, Aaron Baddeley (74) equal 69th at 10 over after making the Open cut for the first time in seven attempts and Brendan Jones (76) in a tie for 72nd at 11 over for the championship.
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