Last Updated: 13/02/12 1:23pm
In 2007 Augusta National proved to be a brute of a course and it produced a surprise winner. Twelve months on there was a repeat performance
Once again a talented, but largely unheralded, golfer of slight stature conquered a course that had been lengthened and turned into a slog.
This time it was the South African Trevor Immelman who, just four months after having a tumour removed from his back, led the tournament from the first day to the last.
Unlike 2007 the event was slightly kinder to the players for three days and Immelman took advantage posting rounds of 68-68-69.
But, just as in 2007, Justin Rose again held the joint lead after 18 holes. This time he wilted quickly, shooting 78-73-76 over his final 54.
Immelman's closest contender all week was the American Brandt Snedeker who had rounds of 69, 68 and 70 to be one shot behind after 36 holes and two behind after 54.
Another American, Steve Flesch, hit rounds of 67 and 69 in rounds two and three to reduce his 54-hole deficit to three, but the rest of the field was four or more shots adrift by the end of Saturday.
That night Immelman found a message on voicemail from his mentor Gary Player. "I know you're going to win," said the three-time Masters champion.
Perhaps those words gave Immelman the strength to fight on the final day as he scrambled his way around the turn, holing vital par putts from distance: 10 feet on the ninth and 20 feet on the 11th.
Ahead of him Tiger Woods (72) was struggling to make an impression. He finished second but it was a result that flattered to deceive. He made only three birdies all day and offered a sarcastic wave to the final birdie on the 72nd hole.
Woods' troubles helped Immelman, as did the travails of his playing partner Snedeker who made just six pars in a round of 77.
All of which granted Immelman the breathing space to complete the highest final round of any Masters champion, his three-over-par 75 still enough to earn him a three-shot win.
Immelman seemed to do everything well when scoring a surprise win in 2008 and the stats bore that out. He was ranked first in Driving Accuracy, fourth in Driving Distance, tied second in Greens In Regulation, tied fourth in Putting Average, made fewer bogeys (five) than anyone in the field and played the par fours in 10-under - a massive seven shots superior to any of his rivals. No wonder he led from day one and was never caught.
|T8||Miguel Ángel Jiménez||287||-1|
|Par 3 Contest Winner||Score|
|U.S. Open||Tiger Woods|
|The Open||Padraig Harrington|