Date: April 12, 2008

Aussies struggle at Augusta

Joint first round leaders Trevor Immelman and Justin Rose went in opposite directions on their return to The Masters on the second day at Augusta National on Friday. But sadly for Rose and his followers, Europe&aposs number one last season was the one going in reverse. While Immelman repeated his opening 68 for an eight-under-par total and a one-stroke halfway lead over American Brandt Snedeker, Rose turned in 38, then slumped to a triple-bogey eight at the long 15th and dropped another shot on the next. The eight came when he pitched into the water fronting the green, went long with his next attempt and then almost chipped back into the lake. Rose finished with a 78 and fell into the pack on two over, but fellow Englishmen Ian Poulter and Paul Casey did pick up the gauntlet thrown down at the start of the day by Immelman. The South African, his life given a new perspective when he was operated on for a benign tumour in December, is making a spectacular return to the course where a year ago he was put out of action for over a month by a stomach parasite. It was a horror day for the Australians with only four Adam Scott, Robert Allenby, Geoff Ogilvy and Stuart Appleby making the cut. All four Aussies are equal at two-over par for the tournament, only just making the cut which fell at three-over. Peter Lonard had a day to forget after shooting a disastrous nine-over par round of 81 to plummet down the leaderboard. Aaron Baddeley will be disappointed with his tournament after his one-over par round 73 left him missing the cut by one stroke. Tiger Woods improved from level par to one under with an eventful 71, but slipped from four behind to seven adrift. He mixed four birdies with three bogeys, two of them the result of three-putting on the lightning-fast greens. The world number one stood one over with six to play, but two-putted the 510-yard 13th, hit close at the 17th and then salvaged a remarkable par on the last. Deep in the trees off the tee – far from his only wild drive of the week – he played his second down the adjoining 10th fairway and after his pitch over a bunker had hit the ball of playing partner Stuart Appleby when it looked as if it might roll to tap-in distance he made the eight-foot putt. “Until the wind died down it was quite a fight to figure what was going in,” he said. “Obviously I&aposve got to make a few more birdies and eliminate the mistakes. “I&aposve just got to be patient. Anything can happen.” It was just after Immelman had beaten Rose to the Nedbank Challenge in Sun City four months ago that he started feeling pains. “I went to the doctor and we eventually figured out that I had a tumour on my diaphragm,” he said. “They had to go in between the 10th and 11th rib and cut through the intracostal muscle. It was some pretty scary stuff and it took a couple days to get the results back, so that was pretty hair-raising. “But luckily enough it&aposs all benign and it&aposs all been removed.” A bogey at the short sixth today came between his first two birdies and on the back nine, just as the wind started to freshen, he picked up further shots on the difficult 11th – his second three there in a row – 17th and 18th. Other big names to miss the cut included Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia and Ernie Els, but 50-year-olds Ian Woosnam and Sandy Lyle made it and so did Open champion Padraig Harrington and debutant Nick Dougherty on one over. Second Round of the US Masters (Par 72): -8: Trevor Immelman 68 68 -7: Brandt Snedeker 69 68 -5: Steve Flesch 72 67, Phil Mickelson 71 68, Ian Poulter 70 69 -4: Stephen Ames 70 70, Paul Casey 71 69 -3: Stewart Cink 72 69, Arron Oberholser 71 70, Mike Weir 73 68 -2: Retief Goosen 71 71, Lee Westwood 69 73 -1: Sean O&aposHair 72 71, JB Holmes 73 70, Vijay Singh 72 71, Jim Furyk 70 73, Nick Dougherty 74 69, Robert Karlsson 70 73, Tiger Woods 72 71 Also: +2: Adam Scott (Australia) 75 71, Robert Allenby (Australia) 72 74, Geoff Ogilvy (Australia) 75 71, Stuart Appleby 76 70 +4: Aaron Baddeley (Australia) 75 73, Michael Campbell (New Zealand) 77 71 +5: Nick O&aposHern (Australia) 74 75 +7: John Senden (Australia) 80 71 +8: Richard Green (Australia) 77 75, Peter Lonard (Australia) 71 81