Trevor Immelman’s ascension to Masters glory came as little surprise to those who witnessed the South African’s play during his AJGA career.
A two-time Rolex Junior All-American, Immelman was regarded as one of junior golf’s premier players in in the mid-1990s. After establishing his dominance in his home country, a 15-year-old Immelman sought greater challenges abroad with the AJGA.
Following good showings in his first two AJGA events during the summer of 1995, Immelman truly arrived by winning the 1995 Polo Golf Junior Classic at Walt Disney World Resort – then known as the Rolex Junior Classic.
“I’ve won numerous tournaments in South Africa, Immelman said after his victory. “But nothing compares to winning the Rolex Junior Classic.”
In match play, Immelman bettered Bubba Watson in the finals of an event that featured many players destined for greatness. Ben Curtis, Carl Pettersson, Charles Howell III, Lucas Glover, Kevin Stadler and Matt Kuchar were listed among the competitors, but the week belonged to the newcomer from South Africa.
Immelman’s next forays into AJGA competition were almost as good. At the 1996 Rolex Tournament of Champions, Immelman placed third behind the champion Howell and runner-up Bryce Molder. Later that summer, he placed eighth overall at the HP Boys Junior Championship, but claimed the first-place trophy in the 15-16 age division, beating the likes of Glover, Troy Matteson, D.J. Trahan and Jin Park – all of whom are on Tour with Immelman today.
All told, Immelman played 13 national junior golf events in the United States between 1995-97, earning two victories and 11 top-10 finishes along the way. He was a 1996 first-team Rolex Junior All-American and a third-team honoree in 1997.