Re­turn of the king

Trevor Im­mel­man wants a third SA Open

CityPress - - Sport - PULE MOKHINE pmokhine@city­

Two-time SA Open Cham­pi­onship win­ner Trevor Im­mel­man has re­turned to South Africa to take part in the event af­ter an ab­sence of 12 years. The co-sanc­tioned Sun­shine and Euro­pean Tour event, the coun­try’s flag­ship golf show­piece, tees off at the Glen­dower Golf Club in Eden­vale, Ekurhu­leni, from Thurs­day.

The Cape Town-born Im­mel­man, who is cur­rently based in the US, where he com­petes on the US PGA Tour, won Open ti­tles back-to­back in 2003 and 2004.

His feat made him the first lo­cal golfer af­ter Gary Player to suc­cess­fully de­fend the crown when he snatched it at his home course in Som­er­set West in the Western Cape. The SA Open is the coun­try’s old­est golf­ing prize.

Im­mel­man gained in­stant fame world­wide in golf­ing cir­cles af­ter up­stag­ing then world con­queror Tiger Woods by three shots to wear the fa­mous Mas­ters green jacket at the un­for­giv­ing Au­gusta Na­tional Golf Club in Ge­or­gia, US, in 2008.

Claim­ing that soli­tary ma­jor re­mains his great­est achieve­ment in the sport.

“It’s great to be back home where it all started. I’m ex­cited to be play­ing in the SA Open af­ter all th­ese years,” said Im­mel­man this week.

The player, renowned for his in­fec­tious smile when­ever he sinks a putt, teed up at Glen­dower in his first SA Open in 1997.

“I’ve stud­ied the course pretty well for the pe­riod that I’ve been here in South Africa for the fes­tive sea­son. I’m quite aware that com­pe­ti­tion will be ex­tremely stiff. I’m look­ing for­ward to win­ning.”

No South African player has won the open for the past five years. Hen­nie Otto was Mzansi’s last vic­tor when he posted a one-stroke vic­tory in the 2011 edi­tion at the Serengeti Golf Club, also in Ekurhu­leni.

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