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Trevor Immelman with the 2004 Deutsche Bank-SAP Open TPC of Europe trophy

Final Flourish Carries Immelman To Victory
Trevor Immelman of South Africa birdied the final hole at St Leon-Rot near Heidelberg to capture the Deutsche Bank-SAP Open TPC of Europe after an epic last day duel with Ireland’s Harrington.

Immelman’s curling eight footer for a three at the 72nd hole dropped for a round of 65 and left the South African facing an anxious 15 minute wait as Harrington, in the last match, drilled his approach to ten feet.

But Harrington was unable to emulate Immelman’s putt and with a round of 66 fell short by one stroke to the South African’s 65.

Between them, the leading pair traded a total of 14 birdies and were only separated by a matter of a few centimetres at the end of an enthralling day’s play.

Immelman claimed his third title on The European Tour International Schedule with a final total o f 271, 17 under par, with Harrington runner-up on 272 and Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland and Sweden’s Joakim Haeggman sharing third on 276.

The leading protagonists started out two strokes behind 54 hole leader, Gregory Havret, who dropped back with a closing 82, and from early in the last round if became clear that Immelman and Harrington were preparing to fight out their own private duel.

Both men turned in 33 to open a gap on the field and the drama took shape on the inward nine as the birdie putts flowed into the hole with unerring accuracy, the first big move coming from Immelman, who birdied the 11th and 12th while Harrington birdied the tenth and 12th.

Then Harrington edged in front by birdieing the 15th before Immelman retaliated with a birdie at the 15th. Neither was prepared to give an inch and Immelman hinted it might be his day with a superb 12 footer for a vital par at the 17th.

Then came the last hole excitement as Immelman holed and Harrington missed, the former enjoying the benefit of a perfect ‘read’ from the ball of Haeggman, whose own birdie attempt from long range was on a similar line.

Victory was worth €500,000 and carried Immelman into third place on the Volvo Order of Merit with €755,122, one place above Harrington, whose cheque for €333,330 moved him to €736,740. South African Ernie Els finished tied fifth after a closing 66 – one of four such scores in the top seven places – to stay Number One with €1,036,445.

Immelman, who now moves on to contest the 50th Volvo PGA Championship one year after losing out in a play-off to Ignacio Garrido, admitted he had gone to school on Haeggman's putt.

"He hit a great putt from the left side and went right over my marker and dribbled off to the right. I knew the putt was coming off the right and I played a hair outside the hole and fortunately enough it went in.

"I guess it was just my week. I've worked real hard on my putting but I had 13 other clubs in my bag as well. It's very exciting to get some momentum going."

Harrington, runner-up just 12 months after lifting the title, lost nothing in defeat, but said: "In six months time nobody will remember how close it was. It's going to be another second place. That's the way it is.

Ernie Els
"I thought I was doing well and was surprised to see that he was keeping pace with me and I obviously needed to make more birdies."

Els shared fifth with David Howell of England and Dane Soren Kjeldsen and commented: "I've still got some work to do before the Volvo PGA Championship next but I am feeling a lot better now.

"Trevor is becoming an important player now in Europe and it's no surprise that he won."

Courtesy of www.europeantour.com  

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