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Page last updated at 20:32 GMT, Wednesday, 4 March 2009

McIlroy can win major - Immelman

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy has stormed to number 16 in the world

Trevor Immelman has said that Rory McIlroy has a chance to succeed him as Masters champion at Augusta next month.

When asked about the chances of the 19-year-old from Holywood, County Down winning his first major, Immelman said: "It's definitely not impossible".

"Obviously there's going to be a lot of pressure on him and he's going to have feelings that he has not had before mentally and emotionally.

"But he has all the physical talents at his disposal," said the South African.

"But there are a whole host of guys who do and there's a little bit of an x-factor in doing something great in sport.

"Players find that out when the moment arises and time will tell whether he has that little X-factor."

Northern Ireland sensation McIlroy, winner of the first European Tour title in Dubai last month, played his first professional event in America only last week and reached the quarter-finals of the WGC-Accenture Match Play before losing to eventual winner Geoff Ogilvy.


Now in Florida for the Honda Classic, he is already into the world's top 20 and stablemate Ernie Els has gone on record as saying he could be the next number one.

Meanwhile McIlroy has added the Shot of the Month title to the European Tour Golfer of the Month award he won for January.

The shot in question was his recovery from a greenside bunker on the final hole of the Dubai Desert Classic.

One ahead after three consecutive bogeys, the 19-year-old splashed out of the sand to three feet and achieved the par he needed for his maiden victory.

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