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.
THE OTHER AMATEUR
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.
SLIPPIN' AND SLIDIN'
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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