- The Washington Times - Monday, April 14, 2008

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Steve Flesch was doing just what he needed to do in brutal conditions. Plod along, make a bunch of pars and hope it would be enough to win.

Then he got to Amen Corner. After dunking his ball in Rae’s Creek, Flesch didn’t have a prayer.

The left-hander took a double-bogey 5 at the picturesque 12th hole, where he knocked his tee shot into the water. Flesch went from just two strokes out of the lead to four, and it all fell apart from there. He played the last seven holes at 6 over, ruining any shot at his first major.

Flesch finished in a tie for fifth after closing with a 78, leaving him six strokes behind winner Trevor Immelman.

“I was playing all right,” Flesch said. “The wind just got really tricky on the back nine and we just pulled the wrong club on the 12th hole and it went straight up and went in the water.”

It didn’t get much better from there. After making par at the par-5 13th — one of the best shots at birdie on the course — he made four consecutive bogeys.

“I was just kind of trying to make some putts, trying to make some birdies, trying to be aggressive, and got a little too aggressive on a couple shots,” he said. “It’s a little disheartening and very disappointing, but that’s all right. It’s still my best finish in a major, and hopefully if I get in the situation again, it’ll turn out differently.”

Flesch went with an 8-iron at the pivotal 12th, believing it would be enough to clear the water on a 154-yard hole that’s tucked away in a far corner of the course.

He was wrong.

He’s like the wind

While everyone else was getting blown around Augusta National, Miguel Angel Jimenez’s day was a breeze.

The Spaniard shot a 4-under 68 yesterday, the best score of the day and only one of four below par. Not bad for a guy who was so close to the cut line he was playing with a marker Saturday.

“That was the goal, no? Just to make the cut on Friday and then hope to jump up as much as possible,” said Jimenez, who shot a 77 on Thursday but rebounded with a 70 on Friday to make the cut on the number. After starting yesterday in a tie for 35th, Jimenez moved all the way up to a tie for eighth.

Jimenez holed a 7-iron on the par-4 No. 7 for an eagle, but even more impressive were his three birdies on the back nine when the wind was really beginning to blow. He finished with a flourish, chipping in for a final birdie on 18.

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