Martin Kaymer successfully defended his Abu Dhabi Championship after a final round 66 saw the German cruise to an eight shot victory over nearest challenger, Rory McIlroy.
Kaymer had started the day five clear of the young Irishman, but the writing was on the wall as early as the third hole when Kaymer made birdie to McIlroy’s bogey to stretch the lead to seven shots. The lead became eight when McIlroy also bogeyed the fifth hole.
By the eleventh hole, McIlroy had cut the deficit to six shots, but it was always going to take a Herculean effort for Rorz to even get close to the unflappable German, and it was a challenge he was never going to win once Kaymer had birdied the 13th to regain a seven shot lead. Despite McIlroy briefly getting the gap back to six shots, birdies by Kaymer on the 16th and final holes saw the German close with a tournament record 24-under par total 264, and moved Kaymer above Tiger Woods and into second place on the Official World Golf Rankings.
McIlroy carded a round of 69 to claim sole possession of a distant second place, two shots ahead of South African Retief Goosen, who shot a closing round of 64; and US Open champion Graeme McDowell , who shot 67 who shared third place, a full ten shots behind Kaymer.
Gareth Maybin made it three Northern Irish players in the top five with a closing 69 to finish on 12-under par, alongside England’s David Lynn.
Lee Westwood, who had a disappointing tournament finishing with a 73 to close 2-over par, and Kaymer become the first European 1-2 on the Official World Golf Ranking since Sir Nick Faldo and Bernhard Langer occupied the same positions some 18 years ago. Tiger Woods, now in third place, hasn’t been so low in the rankings since October 2004, and will now be looking over his shoulder to repel the challenge of Graeme McDowell, who occupies fourth. McIlroy’s finish saw the youngster move into seventh place in the rankings.
“I think for Lee and me, it’s a very nice position to be Number One and Two in the world,” said Kaymer.
“You can see how strong European golf became the last few years, and not only through The Ryder Cup, just if you have a look at the Major winners last year.”
Kaymer’s record in this tournament now reads 2-1-2-1-1 from his last five outings, and the German has now played 69 bogey-free holes. His only dropped shot in this tournament came at the third hole of his first round, where he shanked a bunker shot into a water hazard enroute to a 5.
“It’s just the perfect course for me,” he said. “It was more difficult, but I hit a lot of fairways and my putting was amazing.
“It was just one of those weeks when everything goes my way.”
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