Trevor Immelman is playing his fourth tournament on the trot in this week’s Qatar Masters, and things started to fall into place for the 2008 Masters champion with an opening four-under-par 68, leaving him three off the early pace.
It was a bogey-free round which gave him a sense of confidence that his work to regain a level of playing that took him to the heights of his early career.
“I’m fairly happy,” he said after his round. “I haven’t played as well as I would want for quite some time. But I played 14 really solid holes today, and on the four where I was struggling, I managed to grind away and make some pars. With no bogeys around this challenging course – I’m really happy with it.
“I’ve been feeling that the game is moving in the right direction for a little while, but the results haven’t added up just yet. This will keep me going a little while, but it was good to get out there and hit some good shots and have some nice looks at birdie. Hopefully I can keep things going.”
Much of his long absence from the very top of leaderboards had to do with injuries, but that’s no longer the case. “I’ve been healthy for a while,” he said. “I have no excuses; the form has been bad – and I’ve been working my butt off to try and improve all of that, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to come and play these events and see what I can do.
“My ambition is still burning bright. I’m fortunate enough to have had a pretty solid career and I did well for myself, and I’m here now because I want to play well – no other reason. It’s really difficult to claw my way back in. For me, it was a matter of trying to strip away some of the bad stuff that I was working on and just go back to some basics for me and my game. Slowly but surely, I’ve started to change those habits and hit some quality shots in practice.
“The final hurdle for me is to try and take it to a tournament and keep that trust level up. I think it’s close now. I’m not sure what the end product will be, but I feel like I’ve been moving in the right direction. I’ll keep plodding away and I just want to get the feeling of having a chance to play well and contend again. That’s why I have continued to put the work in – I miss that.
“I am thinking of playing some more European Tour events during the year. This is my fourth week in a row, which I haven’t done in a while, too, and I’m playing next week as well. It’s been a great stretch. It was great to go back home and play in South Africa. I have a great schedule leading up to Augusta. I hope I can play some decent golf, and from there on, I’ll take stock, but I have taken up my membership on the European Tour this year and there is a lot of great events that I’d love to come back and play.”