Notes Surprise Whos the Low South African

By Associated PressApril 9, 2005, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Trevor Immelman hasn't enjoyed the success as a pro in the United States that he did as an amateur.
That could change this weekend.
The South African climbed onto the leaderboard at the Masters with five birdies in six holes Saturday afternoon, putting him in a tie for seventh at 3-under. He was at 5-under for the third round with three holes left when play was halted.
``It was, without a doubt, the best stretch I've had here,'' he said. ``It felt fantastic.''
Immelman looked as if he was going to follow in the footsteps of countrymen Gary Player and Ernie Els. He won the 1996 Junior PGA Championship, the 1998 U.S. Public Links, and finished second in the 1997 U.S. Junior Amateur. He also made the cut in the 1999 Masters, finishing 56th.
But almost six years after Immelman turned pro, he's still looking for his first win on the PGA Tour. His best finish is a tie for ninth in the 2003 NEC Invitational. He does have three wins on the European Tour.
``I'm young and inexperienced,'' the 25-year-old said. ``I think I've just got to pay my dues a little bit. I don't think it's anything other than that.''
Immelman looked pretty savvy Saturday.
``Even though it's the Masters and it's a huge tournament, if your shot is on, you've got to go for it,'' he said. ``I don't want to put too much pressure on myself. I'm just going out and doing what I can.''
The 18th hole got a bit dangerous Saturday morning, when a strong breeze blowing into the golfers' faces sent several shots flying way off line.
Stuart Appleby nearly struck patrons camped out along the left side with his approach to the green.
``Sorry about that,'' the Aussie quipped when he arrived at the spot.
``I was trying to hit it over there,'' he added, pointing to the flag at least 50 feet away. Appleby wound up making a nice pitch onto the green, salvaging par.
In the very next group, Lee Westwood hooked his second shot even farther left than Appleby. The ball flew into the seating section atop a 25-foot-high viewing tower and plunked a reporter in the side. It eventually dropped to the ground not far from where Appleby's ball landed. Westwood also managed to pitch onto the green and save par, but it didn't save him from missing the cut.
Ryan Moore wasn't the only amateur to make the cut.
Luke List, who lost to Moore in the U.S. Amateur last August, shot a 3-under 69 on Saturday, allowing him to stick around for the rest of the weekend. List shot a 2-over 146 for the first two rounds.
``I'm psyched, I really am,'' the Vanderbilt sophomore said. ``I'm really pumped. We'll see if I can get myself into red numbers.''
After his first round, List was just hoping to get below the cut line. He had a pair of double-bogeys on his way to a 5-over 77. But he rallied Saturday, making four birdies as he played the front nine at 3-under.
He also made a nice par save on the 17th hole. After hitting a tree with his second shot, he got up and down with a pitch from about 60 yards out.
``Previously I was worried about making the cut,'' List said. ``Today I was able to block it out. I just told myself, `I can't control it.'''
Just in case anyone missed Thomas Bjorn's first eagle, he did it again, two holes later.
Bjorn eagled Nos. 13 and 15 during his second round Saturday morning. He hit a utility wood to 3 feet on No. 13, then put a 4-iron within a foot on the 15th. He's the ninth player to eagle Nos. 13 and 15 in the same round.
Bjorn finished the second round at 5-under 67, and moved into third place at 8-under midway through the third.
``I think this ties my best score here,'' said Bjorn, who also had a 67 in the second round in 2002.
Augusta National is usually pristine, with perfectly manicured grass, picture-perfect flora and well-dressed galleries.
Before the sun came out Saturday afternoon, the grounds looked more like a carnival at the end of a hard week's run.
After getting nearly two inches of rain Thursday and Friday, the public areas of the course were a sloppy, soupy mess. Rivers of mud bubbled up, making footing treacherous and ruining all those perfectly-planned outfits.
Spectators sat on the grass at their own risk. People in flip-flops tried to pick their way around the mud, with little success. The carpet of needles under the pine trees looked more like sludge.
Players weren't immune from the mess, either. Shingo Katayama pulled up the legs of his white pants as he walked through one particularly bad patch, trying to avoid getting splattered even more.
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    After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

    Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

    Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

    Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

    It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard

    On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

    There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

    He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

    His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

    Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

    He picked up one more No. 2, too.

    The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

    In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

    Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

    “It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

    Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

    Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

    He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

    Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

    Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

    His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

    “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

    Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

    Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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    Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

    Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

    Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

    What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

    Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

    Best of the rest: A two-time winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

    Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

    Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

    Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

    Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry