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Page last updated at 00:16 GMT, Sunday, 13 April 2008 01:16 UK

Immelman leads by two in Masters

By Rob Hodgetts

Trevor Immelman
Immelman is in sight of his maiden major title at Augusta

South African Trevor Immelman will resume his quest for a first major title with a two-shot lead going into Sunday's final round of the Masters.

The 28-year-old would become the first start-to-finish winner since Raymond Floyd in 1976 but has four-time champion Tiger Woods looming large.

Immelman shot 69 for 11 under ahead of Brandt Snedeker, with Steve Flesch eight under and Paul Casey one back.

Woods made the biggest move on a damp day with a 68 for five under.

It was the American's best score at Augusta since a 65 in the third round in 2005.

Woods, who was seven shots off the pace overnight, is chasing a 14th major title and the first leg of a possible Grand Slam of all four majors in one year.

The world number one has yet to win a major when coming from behind on the last day, but in his favour is the fact that none of the four players ahead of him have won a major.

Tiger Woods
Woods senses a fifth Green Jacket and a 14th major title

"I've put myself right back in the tournament. A 68 was about as high as I could go - I hit the ball really well and had so many putts that skirted the hole," said the 32-year-old.

"Conditions are supposed to be blustery tomorrow and it does not take much to make a high number out there. You've just got to hang in there."

Immelman, who had a cancer scare just four months ago, led after the opening two rounds but slipped back early on to hand Snedeker the advantage before firing a birdie on the 8th and then another at 13 to establish a two-shot cushion.

Another birdie at 14, as Snedeker and Casey fell away, gave Immelman a lead of three at 10 under.

He was fortunate to escape with a par when his ball narrowly missed the water on 15, but he signed off with a birdie to match Snedeker, who hit back with three birdies in his last five holes to set up Sunday's finale.

"All I can do is go out tomorrow and play as hard as I can and just believe in myself," said Cape Town's Immelman.

Snedeker, who last year followed Immelman as PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, said: "I knew I was hitting it great and I hoped to just give myself a chance, which I did when I came back with three birdies."

It's a place that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and the only other place that does that to me is St Andrews

Paul Casey

American journeyman Flesch, 40, enjoyed a brief spell in front on the way to carding a 69, while Casey dipped in and out of the lead after firing four birdies on the front nine to get to eight under.

After the turn the Englishman twice dropped back to seven under, but each time made amends before a final bogey on 17 took him to a 69.

"I'm happy with that but I need to go even lower tomorrow," said the 30-year-old.

"There is something about this occasion and no doubt the golf course suits me down to the ground.

"It's a place that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and the only other place that does that to me is St Andrews.

"It's going to be difficult but I can't worry about anyone else. Patience and not forcing it is going to be the key."

606: DEBATE

American Ryder Cup player Stewart Cink ended four under after a 71 for sixth place on his own.

Back on two under was a logjam of players including two-time Masters winner Phil Mickelson, the world number two, and England's Ian Poulter (75), who both started the day tied for third on five under but fell back with rounds of 75.

Also in the group on two under were defending champion Zach Johnson (68), Open champion Padraig Harrington (69) and double US Open champion Retief Goosen (72).

Interview: Paul Casey

Harrington revealed that he had not given up hope and was pleased that stronger winds and chilly conditions have been forecast for Sunday's final round.

"I think anybody who is chasing would like a windy day because it makes things awkward," he said.

"Yes, my eye is on the leaders. If I get the breaks, so be it."

But the final round is likely to come down to a shoot-out between the top five. And even then, Woods will have to make up a six-shot deficit.




see also
Round three as it happened
12 Apr 08 |  Golf
Masters leaderboard
10 Apr 08 |  Golf
Masters day three photos
12 Apr 08 |  Golf
Tom and Ben explore Augusta
06 Apr 08 |  Golf


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