Sunday, April 13, 2008

Trevor Immelman wins Masters

AS IF the nerves and pressure of securing the first major title of his career were not enough to contend with, the addition of a gusting wind and quickening greens at Augusta yesterday made life devilishly complicated for Trevor Immelman as he became the first South African in 30 years to win the Masters.

The slippery conditions were so treacherous that the 2008 tournament resembled a giant game of snakes and ladders in which every advance seemed to be countered by a calamity of tumbles. Immelman, who had coped with the lead or a share of the top spot since Thursday, was steadier than any of his rivals on a day when par was glorious.

Signing for 75 and 280, eight under par, Immelman even had enough leeway near the end to survive a few wobbles and close out the competition. His nearest rival, Tiger Woods, finished three shots adrift. The measure of the South African's achievement was that he became the first player since Seve Ballesteros in 1980 to lead the Masters from first to last.

"It was so tough," recalled the new champion. "I was trying to be tough myself and hang in there. There was a disaster waiting to happen around every corner. I got a message from Gary Player who told me to believe in myself. That meant so much."...
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