25th BMW International Open: “Nobody Els” – Virtuoso champion at anniversary tournament
Munich. First for Ernie Els: the South African won the 25th BMW International Open on Sunday to claim his first title in Germany. At the end of the silver anniversary tournament at Golfclub München Eichenried, Els topped the leaderboard with a score of -18. A birdie on the 18th was enough to secure victory and a winner’s cheque for 333,330 Euros. It also spared Els from playing the eighth tournament in the history of the tournament against an old acquaintance: runner-up Thomas Bjorn (Denmark, -17) narrowly missed out on his third BMW title, having previously won in 2000 and 2002.
For a long time, Alexander Levy (France, -16) – nickname “El Toro” (The Bull) – had his sight set on a maiden win on the European Tour. However, four bogies on the back nine saw the Frenchman drop back into third place. BMW Brand Ambassador Martin Kaymer (Germany, -15) and Marcel Siem (Germany, -13) had also started the final day with hopes of delivering a second home win, and took to the course together in an all-German flight. After a one-under round of 71, Siem had to settle for a share of tenth place. Kaymer’s three-under 69 was enough to put the Major winner in a tie for fourth place. He remains the only German winner of the BMW International Open, having won the 20th anniversary tournament in 2008. Bernd Wiesberger (Austria, -15), who has been supported by BMW Austria since earlier this year, shot a final round of 68 to join Kaymer and Alex Noren (Sweden, -15) in fourth place.
“The 25th BMW International Open was a special tournament in every way,” said Dr. Friedrich Eichiner, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Finance. “It was here at Golfclub München Eichenried that BMW’s success story as an internationally valued partner of the sport of golf began a quarter of a century ago. And the last four days have added another chapter to that story. Congratulations to Ernie Els. He showed his class against a high-quality field and deserved this success. The way the tournament was embraced by the golf fans here showed once again that we are dead right with our extensive support of this captivating sport.”
The victory was Els’ 28th on the European Tour and his first of the season. Having finished sixth at last month’s BMW PGA Championship and fourth at the US Open, the experienced South African emphatically underlined his impressive form. At 43, he became the oldest winner in the 25-year history of the BMW International Open. Els led from the first round, and defended his lead at the top of the leaderboard on all four days of the tournament.
“It has been a wonderful week here in Germany,” said Els after his triumph. “Thank you very much to BMW for this fantastic tournament and the support they have shown our support for the past 25 years. I have been trying to win here for a long time, and now I have finally done it. I am proud to see my name on this beautiful trophy. We have all had a great time here. I led from the first round, and they have been hunting me ever since. There was a lot of pressure, as I had some great players behind me. That makes me all the happier to have won.”
16,000 spectators flocked to Golfclub München Eichenried on Sunday to witness the dramatic conclusion to an eventful anniversary week, which began in style for Els with the journey from the airport at the wheel of a Rolls-Royce Ghost. At Tuesday’s “TEE Time” opening show event, Els and company showed off their skills with an entertaining demonstration that thrilled fans in the heart of Munich.
Roland Krüger, Senior Vice President BMW Group Germany and Tournament President, added: “We have enjoyed another fantastic tournament, which was a fitting way to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the BMW International Open. Ernie Els is a worthy champion. From the spectacular ‘TEE Time’ opening event in the English Garden and the Players’ Party in the centre of Munich to the dramatic climax on the immaculately prepared Championship Course: as the host of the only European Tour tournament in Germany, Munich has once again shown how passionate it is about golf. We would like to thank all those who have made this fantastic event possible, particularly Golfclub München Eichenried, the pros from all over the world, officials, media representatives, our partners, the 60,000 spectators, and the volunteers in the background.”
Kaymer added: “We had a super week. Today I had a few good chances again, but then made some mistakes. You cannot afford to do that here if you want to make up three shots on the leaders. Playing the final round with Marcel Siem was fun. Going head to head with another German player gives you an additional push. All in all, I see this week very positively. The BMW International Open is improving every year. The field was very good this year.”
The remaining two Germans in the field, Bernd Ritthammer (-11) and BMW Golfsport Ambassador Maximilian Kieffer (-8) ended the tournament tied in 22nd and 35th respectively. One of the lowest rounds on Sunday came from China’s Wen-yi Huang (-14), who negotiated the Championship Course in just 65 shots (-7) to climb into a tie for seventh place. The 31-year-olds dazzling display whet the appetite for the BMW Masters at Lake Malaren Golf Club in Shanghai (China), which will open the Final Series of the European Tour’s Race to Dubai from 24th to 27th October.
Unlike in 2012, when Andrew Marshall (England) won a BMW 6 Series Gran Coupé courtesy of his hole-in-one on the 17th at Gut Lärchenhof, the BMW Hole-in-One Award remained unclaimed this year. In total, over 70 birdies were played on the par-three, but no eagles. The reward for an ace on the 17th at the 25th anniversary of the BMW International Open would have been a BMW M6 Gran Coupé. In the history of the tournament, there has still only been four winners of the Hole-in-One Award: as well as Marshall, Jay Townsend (USA, 1991), Raphael Jacquelin (France, 2001) and Jean-François Lucquin (France, 2010) have also driven away in a majestic new BMW.
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