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It's a PGA First for Immelman

July 10, 2006|From the Associated Press

LEMONT, Ill. — Trevor Immelman stared at the hole and savored the moment. Then, he seized the opportunity.

Immelman birdied the 18th hole and held off Tiger Woods and Matthew Goggin to win the Western Open on Sunday for his first PGA Tour victory.

Immelman needed to par the 18th to win. Instead, he knocked in a 32-foot putt for a birdie, putting him at 13-under-par 271 for the tournament -- two strokes ahead of Woods (68) and Goggin (69).

"It's an incredible feeling," Immelman said. "Obviously, it hasn't quite sunk in yet."

Vijay Singh, the leader through three rounds, was two over for the round to fall out of contention. Singh and defending champion Jim Furyk finished at nine under, along with Tim Clark, Stephen Leaney, Stewart Cink and Carl Pettersson.

Phil Mickelson shot 71 and finished three over in his first tournament since the U.S. Open, where a double bogey on the final hole cost him the championship.

Called the Western Open since 1899, the second-oldest tournament in the U.S. will get a new name -- the BMW Championship -- and become part of the PGA Tour's season-ending series next year.

The tournament will be played at Cog Hill again in 2007, then rotate out of the Chicago area on alternate years.

Immelman birdied the 15th and 16th holes to go to 13 under. He grinned after hitting a 10-foot putt on No. 16.

The South African, who has four European tour victories, bogeyed No. 17 but made up for it on the 18th and finished at four-under 67 for the round.

Immelman said the bogey on No. 17 was "quite unfortunate." Woods had just finished his round when Immelman reached No. 18.

"At that moment, you've got to turn around and say to yourself, 'OK, I made the choice to be a professional golfer and I wanted to put all this time in. So if I'm not going to enjoy this moment when I've got a chance to win a tournament, then maybe I need to take stock of my life and go back to school or something like that,' " Immelman said.

Woods bogeyed the first hole and shot one over through nine, but he got it going after the turn. He sank a 23-foot birdie putt on No. 16 to get to 11 under. The crowd roared and Woods pumped his right arm, but it wasn't enough to catch Immelman.

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