A symbolic handing over of the torch took place amid a rapturous German crowd at Golfclub Munchen Eichenried as Martin Kaymer, playing with the legendary Bernhard Langer, produced a display of pure brilliance to show he is ready to take over from the grand master.
Kaymer shot a breathtaking nine under par 63 to move into a five stroke lead at the halfway stage of the BMW International Open at 13 under par. It was a performance which underlined the undoubted class of last year’s Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year and put the 23 year old firmly in the driving seat to become the first German winner of an event celebrating its 20th birthday.
For two days Langer watched a player who looks poised to carry the German flag for the next generation make birdie after birdie and at the end the double Masters Champion was moved to compare him to Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
Langer said: “I told him, ‘You're very aggressive, but you're smart at the same time, like Tiger Woods is or Phil Mickelson who is very aggressive and goes for everything no matter what.’
“Going by the last two days, he can go a long way. I don't think there's any limits for him if he keeps that up.”
Kaymer also showed great maturity when, after shooting a round just one shy of the course record, the first thing he did was pull Langer aside and ask for any advice in how he could improve his game.
“He was just asking if there was anything I noticed the last two days, because we had not played a lot of golf together for some reason. He just came on the Tour last year, and I spend most of my time in America. We played a practise round at the Masters, but otherwise, we had not really spent a lot of time together.
“So these last two days gave me a chance to watch him under pressure and tournament conditions, and I was very impressed. I told him that the only weak link, if anything, were a couple of wedge shots. Everything else was extremely good. He drove the ball fantastic and hit some solid iron shots. He's long, he's straight and made quite a lot of putts.
“I think it's very smart of him to ask those kind of questions, because some other guys would be so full of themselves; saying, 'I just beat him by ten shots,' or whatever, or 15. That's how you learn. You learn by watching and asking questions. I like that, and he's got an old head on his shoulders.
“It's great to see that we have some youngsters who can play that type of golf, and hopefully take on the torch for golf in Germany in the future.”
Kaymer was modest in his appraisal of the round, reflecting that the fact he holed a few 15 to 20 foot putts turned a four or five under round into something far better. More significant was playing in front of the home crowd and with Langer.
“It's nice to play in your own country. There was a lot of support yesterday and today already, and to play with Bernhard Langer was awesome. He didn't play as good as he played a couple weeks ago, that's for sure, but you can always see how good he is, if he needs it. So that's very special, and I was just enjoying the two rounds.
“I hit a couple shots off line, but my putting was really good today. I hit a couple 15, 20 footers that went in. So on one hand, it was a lucky round, because if I putt just normal, it would be like four or five under. But nine under, it was pretty good.”
When Kaymer won his maiden title earlier in the year in the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, he was six ahead at the halfway stage, the biggest margin so far this season and while he was one shy of that mark he is still in a commanding position.
Kaymer began the day two off the leaders and moved into in pole position courtesy of four birdies in the first seven holes. A hat-trick of birdies around the turn saw him move into a clear lead and he picked up further shots at the 16th and 18th to take control.
England’s Benn Barham and Frenchman Francois Delamontagne finished five behind on eight under par after rounds of 68 and 66 respectively with five players a further shot back. The group comprised another German in Tino Schuster, 2006 BMW International Open Champion Henrik Stenson and double winner this season, Richard Finch and fellow Englishman Graeme Storm along with Singapore’s Mardan Mamat. But this was a day when Kaymer came of age.