South African Takes Masters; Tiger Ends Up Second

Trevor Immelman, ranked 29th in the world entering this week, is No. 1 at The Masters.

Immelman shot a final-round 75, including a harrowing double bogey at the par-3 16th hole, but rallied with pars at 17 and 18 to clinch the green jacket. The 75 matched the highest closing-round score ever by a champion.

He is the second South African to win at Augusta National. Gary Player, with three titles, was the first.

Immelman took a five-shot lead into the final three holes before hitting his tee shot at the 16th into the water to the left of the green. He recovered to make double bogey, dropping his lead to three shots over Tiger Woods, who shot 72 to finish 5-under.

Woods finished second for the second straight year.

Immelman, who started the day with a two-shot lead, increased it to four shots through seven holes. Steve Flesch got back to within two as they made the turn for the last nine, but Immelman’s lead grew back to four shots as he played the 11th when Flesch made a double-bogey five at the par-3 12th hole.

Immelman, 11-under after a birdie at the fifth, bogeyed the par-5 eighth and the par-3 12th to move back to 9-under.

But after laying up with his second shot at the 13th, he hit a wedge to within 3 feet and made the birdie putt to get back to 10-under and a commanding lead.

Brandt Snedeker bogeyed the 13th after hitting his second shot into Rae’s Creek for the second straight day. He made birdie at 15, but bogey at 16 to slip back to 4-under.

Low to high

Trevor Immelman has the fourth-lowest world ranking of a Masters champion since 1990.
Year Name Ranking
2007 Zach Johnson 56th
1999 Jose Maria Olazabal 34th
1995 Ben Crenshaw 33rd
2008 Trevor Immelman 29th
1998 Mark O’Meara 14th
1997 Tiger Woods 13th

Immelman, looking to become the first man ever to card four rounds in the 60s to win The Masters, opened the day with a bogey at the first.

Flesch made six straight pars to open his round, but bogeyed the par-4 seventh after his second shot clipped a tree. He got the shot back with a birdie at the par-5 eighth, before his first double bogey of the tournament at the 12th.

The wheels then came off for Flesch. He three-putted the 14th hole, beginning a run of four straight bogeys to drop him to 2-under. He shot 78.

Snedeker, after a bogey at the first hole, made a long eagle putt at the second to climb into a tie for the lead with Immelman. However, he immediately gave it back with another bogey at the third hole after driving into a fairway bunker.

He made bogeys and the sixth, seventh, ninth and 11th to fall to 5-under.

Snedeker birdied the 12th hole to get back to 6-under before finding Rae’s Creek for the seconds straight day at 13.

He shot 77 to finish tied for third with Stewart Cink, who shot 72.

Woods, hoping to make a Sunday charge and come from behind to win a major for the first time, never got close enough to make Immelman worry. Woods made a 75-footer for birdie at the 11th hole to get to 5-under, but after a bogey at the par-4 14th he fell out of the chase.

Woods, who opened at 5-under, made bogey at No. 4, but rallied with a birdie at the sixth. He played the first nine in an even-par 36.

Woods opened the back nine with a bogey at the 10th after hitting his second shot into the greenside bunker before his lengthy birdie putt at the 11th. He parred the 12th, then hit his drive at 13 into the pine straw. After a remarkable recovery and approach, he missed a short birdie putt.

Cink, who has had three disastrous Sundays on the PGA Tour this year (including a 9 and 8 loss to Woods at the Accenture Match Play Championship), birdied the first two holes to mount a quick charge. He made bogeys at the fifth, ninth and 10th, however, to slip down the leaderboard.

Paul Casey, after making birdie at the third to climb near the leaders, made a double bogey at the fourth hole (he left a bunker shot in the sand). He followed that up with bogeys at the fifth and sixth (when he called a one-stroke penalty on himself when his ball moved as he prepared to putt). Shaken, he bogeyed the next two holes as well and shot 41 on the front side.

Miguel Angel Jimenez, who barely made the cut and was the first player to start on Saturday, shot 68 to finish at 1-under and is in the top 10.

Phil Mickelson shot 72 to finish at 2-under.

The top 16 players (and ties) qualify for next year’s Masters.

Credit: ESPN

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