AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Trevor Immelman's 4-under 68 in Thursday's first round of the Masters is his lowest round since winning at Augusta National in 2008.
In his four starts between 2009-12, Immelman's lowest round in that span was a 69. Last year, he shot 78-71-76-76 to finish 60th.
But on Thursday, Immelman looked like the player who went wire-to-wire here in 2008. He birdied the par-5 second hole and then added three more birdies on his back nine in a bogey-free round. He hit 15 of 18 greens in regulation; in his 2008 win, he ranked second in the field in greens in regulation.
"Any time in a major you can get out to a nice start and get a few under your belt, birdies are precious commodities at these types of tournaments," Immelmand said. "So you try and bank them for as long as you can."
Immelman hasn't won a PGA TOUR event since his Masters win.
"I think one of the kind of missing ingredients for me right now is I need to start to gain some of the confidence that I had five or six years ago when I had a nice run for a few years," he said. "So I wouldn't say I'm at that point yet to where I get to the middle of the round and say, 'Well, OK, this is it.' But I definitely found a nice rhythm on the back nine and started hitting some quality shots and then converted the putts.
"So that was a nice feeling."
The pairings have been unveiled for this week’s PGA TOUR Matchups Game on Facebook. You can check out the Matchups for the Wyndham Championship below, or on the PGA TOUR’s Facebook page.
Participants have until 6 a.m. ET Thursday to make their picks. Log on to the PGA TOUR Facebook page and click the Matchups link to make your picks for this week, or to sign up.
|Webb Simpson vs. Bill Haas||Wake Forest alums do battle in their home state|
|Carl Pettersson vs. Ryan Moore||Two past Wyndham champs ready for more at Sedgefield|
|Davis Love III vs. Jason Dufner||Ryder Cup Captain keeps close eye on Ryder Cup rookie|
|Sergio Garcia vs. Trevor Immelman||Two international stars are looking to kick-start their season|
|Jhonattan Vegas vs. Brendan Steele||Both need a big week to get into the FedExCup Playoffs|
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PALM HARBOR, Fla. -- Trevor Immelman withdrew before the start of his round at the Transitions Championship, citing a wrist injury.
“Aggravated my wrist practicing this weekend, been getting treatment but unfortunately won't be able to play this week, bummed!,” Immelman tweeted late Wednesday.
Brian Harman will replace Immelman in the field.
Immelman underwent wrist surgery at the end of 2009. This year, Immelan has missed three cuts in five starts with a tie for 12th in Phoenix his best finish.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- He hadn't planned on playing in the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
But when Trevor Immelman missed the cut at the Humana Challenge and tied for 33rd at Torrey Pines last week, he decided to make it three in a row. The work he had done on the range during the offseason just wasn't producing the kind of scores he had anticipated in competition.
"I was extremely rusty playing wise, so I was very disappointed with my start there," he explained. "I played a little better last week, and I just figured I'd be better off playing here in a tournament than standing on the range at home."
Immelman will now be away from his family for five straight weeks for the first time. But judging from his first-round 67, Immelman's decision looks to have been a good one.
The South African played his first 12 holes in 6 under on Thursday, including a 4-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole. He couldn't quite coax it home -- "I wasn't very tidy," Immelman said -- but the 2008 Masters champ still just two shots off the lead.
"My game has felt pretty decent for a while now," Immelman said. "It's just a matter of me getting some momentum and hitting the right shots at the right time. I definitely felt like it was going to be better for me to stay out here and just get more and more comfortable every week that goes by.
"It's scoring, it's the mental aspect of just being out here, being comfortable, sticking to our routines. When I go home I tend to get a little too caught up in the nuts and bolts of it rather than getting the ball in the hole."
A trio of major champions -- Charl Schwartzel, Trevor Immelman and Louis Oosthuizen -- received honorary life membership on the Sunshine Tour at its annual awards dinner on Tuesday night in Johannesburg.
Schwartzel, the most recent of the three to win a major, also won the Commissioners Award for his contributions to South African golf in 2011. Schwartzel birdied the last four holes at Augusta National last April to follow Immelman as a Masters champion.
Immelman, who will get his PGA TOUR season under way at next week's Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation, took to Twitter to express his appreciation. @TrevorImmelman Very humbled by the Honorary Lifetime Membership awarded to me by the Sunshine Tour today. :) #fb
Oosthuizen got a head start on 2012 when he successfully defended his title at last week's Africa Open. Schwartzel will try to do the same this week at the Joburg Open.
Garth Mulroy, the 33-year-old from Durban who graduated from N.C. State, picked up the Sid Brews award as the Order of Merit champ. He is a member of the PGA TOUR in 2012.
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
Ben Crane is never going to be included in a discussion about long bombers on the PGA TOUR.
For the season, Crane is 145th in driving distance at 284.9 yards a pop. But he’s found a little more lately
thanks to a new shaft from Titleist, with winning results.
Crane won last week at The McGladrey Classic with his always-solid putter leading the way (his Strokes-Gained Putting figure was 2.023, second-best in the field), but he also was 21st in driving (288.0-yard average), a ranking not often associated with the Oregonian.
Crane’s history of back injuries hasn’t helped his distance, but work with the Titleist Performance Institute has helped him to regain some ball speed. And during a recent fitting session with Larry Bobka, Titleist’s VP of Club Promotion, Ben put a new, lighter Bassara W 50 for Titleist shaft in his 910D2 driver.
Validation came instantly – his first top 10 since April, a T10 at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. In the firm-and-fast Las Vegas desert he averaged 313.1 off the tee, tied for 21st in the field. Then last week, with the eye-catching red shaft, he won at Sea Island.
Titleist said the Bassara W, developed by Mitsubishi Rayon and weighing in at 53 grams, is one of the lightest shafts to ever win on TOUR.
"We built this particular driver configuration based on a conversation with (TPI co-founder) Greg Rose and Ben's desire for more distance," Bobka said in the Titleist blog. "Being a straight hitter with a delicate back, Ben needed a driver that created what I call 'easy distance.' "
Crane took loft off his previous driver configuration, going to 7.5 degrees, which combined with the longer (46 inch) and lighter shaft created better launch conditions and more distance.
NEW OLD PUTTER: Trevor Immelman finished fifth at The McGladrey, leading the field in putts per round (27.5 average) and putts per GIR (1.667) with a belly version of the Odyssey White Hot 2-Ball. It was his third different Odyssey model in as many weeks, though he also won with the same model at the Deutsche Bank-SAP Open in Germany in 2004.
RUNNING AWAY: Fred Couples won the Champions Tour’s AT&T Championship by seven shots, the largest margin on Tour this year. He wore his familiar Ecco Golf Street Premier hybrid shoes – without socks.
RUNNING AWAY II: Last week’s Nationwide Tour event also featured a seven-shot rout, by Jason Kokrak at the Miccosukee Championship. He plays the Srixon Z-Star XV ball, and in moving up to fourth on the money list gives Srixon two top representatives of the Z-Star. Nationwide money leader J.J. Killeen also plays it.
NEW CLASSIC: Cleveland Golf has released an updated version of its popular 588 wedges, and David Toms was spotted with them in the bag at The McGladrey. Read more here.
WINNER’S BAG: Crane at The McGladrey
Driver: Titleist 910D2 (7.5°) with a Mitsubishi Rayon Bassara W 50 shaft
Fairway woods: TaylorMade V Steel (15°) Titleist 910F (17°) with Mitsubishi Diamana Blue Board 93 shafts
Hybrid: Titleist 910H (21°) with a UST Mamiya ProForce AXIVCore 100 shaft
Irons: Titleist AP2 (5-PW) with True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 shafts
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design (51°), Spin Milled C-C (55°, 59°) with True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 shafts
Putter: Odyssey White Hot #5
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x