Immelman the 2008 Master
Trevor Immelman shot a final round of 75 to win the 2008 Masters at Augusta National by three shots from Tiger Woods.
Last Updated: 06/04/09 2:24pm
A final round of 75 proved good enough for Trevor Immelman to clinch his first major crown, winning the Masters at Augusta National by three shots from Tiger Woods.
The 28-year-old became only the second South African behind Gary Player to claim the treasured Green Jacket and the first wire-to-wire winner since Raymond Floyd back in 1976.
Immelman had looked poised for a comfortable triumph, but endured a wobble as he closed in on the finish line.
Having found water at the short 16th he made double-bogey but, five clear of the field by that stage, had established a big enough lead for it to prove an inconvenience rather than an infamous choke.
Another minor scare followed as his approach at 17 found sand, but a solid up-and-down ensured he headed to the 18th tee with a three-shot cushion and one arm inside the Green Jacket.
He duly closed out victory with a par down the last to secure his status as Zach Johnson's successor and bring the earliest of ends to talk of a possible Woods Grand Slam in 2008.
Behind the world number one Stuart Cink and Brandt Snedeker finished in joint third on -4, while two shots further back Open champion Padraig Harrington ended as the leading European in a tie for fifth with Phil Mickelson and Steve Flesch.
On the whole it proved a hugely disappointing day for the British contenders with Paul Casey, just four off the pace at the start of play, returning a 79 to finish outside the top-ten on level-par and Ian Poulter carding a 78 to slide outside the top-20.
On a day of strong winds and precious few low scores Immelman had the answers when he needed them, making crucial putts on the back nine to ensure he always had his destiny in his own hands.
In truth, a serious threat to his position failed to materialise with his rivals unable sustain any kind of challenge.
The South African, playing in the final group with Snedeker, had started in shaky fashion as both men opened their rounds with bogeys.
Snedeker briefly pulled level with his partner after a sensational eagle at the second, but with the American having immediately dropped back with another bogey at three, Immelman was never again to be caught.
Follwing a birdie at five to calm his nerves, the foundations for his victory were laid around the turn and through Amen Corner.
Courageous putts to save par at nine and 11, and then just a bogey at the treacherous short 12th, were followed by a delightful pitch and decisive putt for birdie at the par-five 13th that swept him five clear of the field and out of sight.
Behind him players wilted as the climax approached with even the peerless Woods guilty of spurning excellent chances to pressurise the leader.
Tiger had seemed set for a trademark charge after sinking a monster putt for birdie at 11, but subsequently missed from inside four foot on 13 for birdie and then failed to save par from not much further on 14 as his challenge hit the buffers.
With a couple of other short putts having escaped him on the front nine, Woods will be left to rue what might have been, but he was not the only one.
For a long time Flesch looked like emerging as the man to take the fight to Immelman.
The American hit the turn in 36 shots on -8, just two behind the leader after a steady front nine that included seven pars.
However, he became another statistic of the 12th as his weak tee-shot died a watery death after coming up short, leading to a double-bogey from which he was never to recover.
With Snedeker surrendering shots every time he breathed life back into his challenge, the only real drama over the closing stages seemed to surround the minor places.
Miguel Angel Jimenez started the day as an unlikely of candidate for a top-ten finish, but having fired a best-of the-day 68, including a memorable eagle at seven, rocketed up the leaderboard to come home in a tie for eighth on -1 with Swede Robert Karlsson (73) and Argentine Andres Romero (73).
Lee Westwood (level-par) and Casey, who finished on the same score, were amongst others to book a return ticket for next year by finishing inside the top 16, but the day belonged to Immelman.
Perhaps not the near flawless displays of his first three rounds, the South African, when it mattered, drove and putted with aplomb and, as so many had predicted at the start of the day, did what was required to win by finishing ahead of Woods.