Immelman discovers form

2011-08-15 13:15

Johannesburg - South African golfer Trevor Immelman maintained his record of top 25 finishes this year, sharing 12th place at the PGA championship in Atlanta on Sunday.

Immelman was tied with fellow South African Charl Schwartzel on one-under par, seven behind winners Keegan Bradley and Jason Dufner.

Both from the United States, Bradley and Dufner were forced into a play-off for the title with Bradley, playing in his first major, winning on the third playoff hole.

It was Immelman's fifth top 25 finish of the season and he jumped 30 spots in the world rankings to 124th place.

Since winning the Masters in 2008, the 31-year-old has battled with a wrist injury and only recently made a return to a full playing schedule.

Ranked 94th in the FedExCup USPGA standings, with the top 125 advancing to the playoffs at the end of the season, Immelman has earned in excess of $740 000 in 2011 with a scoring average of 71.29. He also ranks second on the PGA tour in putts under five feet.

Immelman shot rounds of 69 71 71 and 68 for a total of 279 on the testing par 70 layout. His final round was his best of the week and moved him up from 30th position at the start of the day to finish tied 12th.

He bogeyed the 512 yard par-four second hole to get his round off to shaky start, but came straight back with a birdie on the next hole.

He followed up with another birdie on the par-five fifth to go out in one under par. Immelman picked up two more shots at the tenth and 12th holes before finally dropping on the last hole.

Schwartzel, starting the fourth round in eighth place, had been expected to mount a strong challenge, as he did in the final round at the Masters earlier this year. However, after picking up a shot at the fifth hole, he bogeyed the next to halt his run.

After birdying the tenth he dropped on the 11th and 18th to go back down the leaderboard.

Rory Sabbatini, who has been the best performing South African player on the PGA tour this season outside of the majors, failed to mount any kind of challenge after making the cut. He eventually finished in last place with a final round 80.

Ernie Els missed his third cut in a row in a major this year, by two shots at six over par, and will face the prospect of narrowly missing out on a spot in the FedExCup playoffs.

At 126th in the standings, unless he improves his ranking at the final regular season event, the Wyndham Championship, Els will miss out on the playoffs for the first time since its inception in 2007.

Thomas Aiken, playing in his first PGA championship, was unable to make the weekend at nine over par for his two rounds. Also well outside the cut line was 2010 Open champion, Louis Oosthuizen who was ten over after the second round.

Retief Goosen withdrew after ten holes in his second round, citing illness as the reason. The 'Goose' also withdrew from the British Open. He is 105th in the FedExCup standings and will also be looking for an improved finish if he is fit to play in the Wyndham Championship starting on Thursday.