Martin Kaymer believes more success is just around the corner as he defends his KLM Open title this week against the strongest field in the 92nd playing of the event.
The German, who reached World Number One earlier this season and is currently third in the World Ranking, finished runner-up to Thomas Björn in last week’s Omega European Masters following a two-week break and he feels that his game is in good shape now that some recent swing changes have bedded in.
He will once again have World Number Four Rory McIlroy and World Number Two Lee Westwood to contend with, as the KLM Open boasts three of the top four players in the world for the first time. All three players will be hoping to make serious inroads into Luke Donald's lead at the top of both The Race to Dubai and the Official World Golf Ranking.
Kaymer, a nine-time European Tour champion, was in fine form when he went into last year’s KLM Open at Hilversumsche Golf Club in The Netherlands as he made his first appearance since his victory in the US PGA Championship three weeks previously.
He produced another classy performance to finish four strokes clear of Sweden’s Christian Nilsson and Paraguay’s Fabrizio Zanotti to win in back-to-back European Tour appearances, before going on to make it three wins in three events when he captured the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
That mid-season purple patch helped the 26 year old reach the world’s summit and he feels he is once again approaching that level as he bids for a ‘Dutch Double’ this week.
“If definitely feels like I will win again in the next couple of weeks,” said Kaymer. “I’m hitting the ball very well. I like the golf course, Hilversumsche, and it is nice that I can drive there from home. It’s only two hours away and it’s nice to have your own car.
“My family will come and support me again. Last year my brother and my dad were there just after I won the US PGA Championship and I think they will come again.”
Trying to prevent Kaymer from making a successful defence will be World Number Two Westwood and US Open Champion McIlroy, two of the players Kaymer battled it out with last week in Switzerland.
Westwood won the KLM Open title at Hilversumsche Golf Club in 1999, while McIlroy is playing for the first time since 2008.
Like Kaymer, both players head to Holland in good form, with McIlroy finishing tied third last week and Westwood taking a share of sixth place.
McIlroy, who appears to have recovered from the wrist injury he sustained in the US PGA Championship last month, is looking forward to the trio going head to head in Holland after last week’s enthralling encounter.
“Hopefully we can all get ourselves into contention again this week,” said the Northern Irishman. “I feel good about my game. I’m going to have a day of practice with my coach. It’s not as if it needs some work but it will be good for him to have a check-up and for me to have a clear mind going to Holland.”
Former champions also in the field include two-time winner Simon Dyson (2006 and 2009), Ross Fisher (2007) and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño (2005), who continued his comeback from long-term injury with a share of 18th place in Crans-sur-Sierre last week.
With title sponsor KLM already confirmed for another three years, they will be hoping a home challenge emerges from the Dutch contingent, which includes Maarten Lafeber, Robert Jan-Derksen and Joost Luiten.