European Tour Member Trevor Immelman further emphasised his credentials as one of the most exciting young talents in the game when he moved into the early clubhouse lead in the second round of The Open Championship at St Andrews.
The 25 year old South African – a three time winner on The European Tour International Schedule – carded a tidy 70 for a six under par total of 138 to tie the overnight leader Tiger Woods who plays his second round later in the afternoon.
A birdie three at the ninth saw Immelman out in level par 36 before he made his move on the inward half of the Old Course, birdies at the 12th, 14th and 18th making amends for his solitary dropped shot of the inward half, which came at the 13th.
"I'm delighted with the way I played and to hole that putt at the last for birdie was a great feeling," he said. "Patience is very important out there and you have to make sure you keep your thoughts together and try not to get too far ahead of yourself. I think I have managed to do that pretty well."
Immelman overtook fellow European Tour Member Richard Green, who failed to qualify for The Open Championship the last time it was played at St Andrews in 2000, as the clubhouse pacesetter.
The 34 year old Australian – winner of the Dubai Desert Classic in 1997 – took advantage of the relatively benign early morning conditions on the Old Course to post a fine 68 for a four under par total of 140.
The left hander carded birdies at the fifth, ninth, 12th and 14th before succumbing to a bogey five on the treacherous Road Hole 17th after a poor drive. But he recovered admirably, holing a 15 footer for a closing birdie three on the 18th.
“It was a little cold early on when I started and I was pleased to get through the first four holes in level par,” he said. “Then I made the birdie on the fifth which got me going and started my momentum for the rest of the round.
“I holed from about ten feet on the 12th and 14th and I felt confident from that length all day. I had struggled a little bit with that length of putt for the past two to three weeks but I have seemed to find the pace of the greens here to my liking.
“I was pleased to make bogey five in the end at the 17th after a really poor drive – it could have been a lot worse – but it was nice to finish the way I did at the last and that has set me up for the weekend.”
One shot behind Green was Ernie Els – winner of The European Tour Order of Merit in both 2003 and 2004 – who carded an excellent 67 to make up for his opening 74 for a three under par total of 141.
The South African carded eight birdies in total including from 15 feet at the last. “The putt on the 18th was big,” said Els. “It was just outside the left edge and I hit it exactly there and it dropped in. It was particularly good because I missed a similar one on the 17th.
“The pins are perhaps a little bit more accessible today than they were yesterday but I have to be happy with that effort. It is frustrating when you are playing well but can’t get a score on the board and that is what I happened yesterday. But I felt good with my putting today, the ball is coming off the blade nicely, and hopefully I can keep that going.”
Further down the leaderboard, the best finish of the day was posted by England’s Ian Poulter who birdied all four of the closing holes for a level par 72 and a two under par total of 142.