/ 9 June 2008

Masters champ Trevor eyes US Open

Trevor Immelman, who says winning the Masters in April has changed his life in ways he never imagined, warmed up for the US Open with a confidence-boosting play-off appearance on Sunday.

Immelman’s storming finish at the St Jude championship on Sunday saw him battle his way into a three-way play-off, losing at the second extra hole to Justin Leonard.

It was a welcome return to form for the 28-year-old, who had struggled since his surprise Masters triumph.

”I think once you win a big tournament your expectation level rises,” Immelman said.

After the Masters Immelman missed the cut in the Byron Nelson Championship and Wachovia Championship.

”You’ve got to do what feels right to you and make sure that at the end of the day, playing good golf is my priority.

”So I’ve got to make sure that the way I handle it still works with the amount of time that I need to put in to get ready for events,” added Immelman, whose Masters triumph followed a health scare in December, when doctors removed a benign tumour from his diaphragm.

Immelman captured the 2008 Masters by three shots over four-time champ Tiger Woods, becoming the first South African since Gary Player in 1978 to win at Augusta National.

He also ended any hope that Woods had of winning all four Majors in 2008. Shortly after the Masters, Woods had knee surgery, but the 13-time Major champion remains a favourite for the US Open starting on Thursday at Torrey Pines.

Immelman, known for his sweet swing, will need plenty of poise, perseverance and good course management to tame Torrey Pines South, which will be the longest US Open course by about 300 yards. — Sapa-AFP