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July 29 2011

11:51 PM

Immelman battles putter Friday

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. -- Trevor Immelman was headed straight to the putting green after he finished off a round of 70 Friday that left him one shot off the lead held by Brendon de Jonge and Webb Simpson.

The South African had played solidly tee to green, but the flat stick simply wasn't as cooperative as it was during the first round when it produced seven birdies. He needed 31 putts Friday and several short misses early -- two which were for birdie and another came in a three-putt bogey at the fifth -- set the wrong tone for the overnight leader.

"(I) had a funny switch there and kind of took some momentum away from me with the putter there," Immelman said. He thought he found something in his grip, though, that could turn things around on Saturday.

"I think my tendency is to get my grip a little too far down in the fingers on the left hand and then the putter blade doesn't swing back and come through really," he explained. "So I was really just trying to get my grip comfortable and a nice roll between the finish.”

The 2008 Masters champion said the breezes that swirled through the tree-lined course nestled in the scenic mountains of West Virginia made club selection difficult, as well. " The biggest swirling breeze I've ever played on a golf course, even more than Augusta," Immelman said. "The wind really moves around a lot here.  That's probably why you see some players coming up 30 feet long, 30 feet short."

Immelman didn't let frustration set in during the second round, though. After a bogey at the eighth hole dropped him two shots off the lead, he reeled off eight straight pars before making a 4-footer at No. 17 to get back to even par.
 
"It was great," Immelman said. "I was grinding it out and made a good up and down there on 17. Like I said, anything that's par or under around here in the afternoon is really good with the way the wind.

"I'm looking forward to (the weekend).  Probably the closest I've been to the lead in a little while. It's exciting for me. It's going to be great to have an opportunity."

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