Martin Kaymer had more than just the trophy on his mind after carding an impressive opening 66 on day one of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.
The German is looking for a 12th European Tour victory and a first Rolex Series win but even a top ten could bring its own reward.
The top three players within the top ten who are not already exempt at Lahinch Golf Club will earn a place at The Open Championship and, for the first time since 2007, Kaymer is currently on course to miss the oldest of the Majors.
Since entering the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking with victory in Abu Dhabi in 2008, Kaymer has played every Major bar one, winning two and only missing the 2017 US PGA Championship due to injury.
His best Open Championship result was a tie for seventh in 2010 and he would love the chance to improve on that at Royal Portrush Golf Club in two weeks' time.
"I haven't missed The Open since 2008," he said. "I haven't qualified this year. I thought I was because of the U.S. Open win but I need to have a top ten finish this week or next week to catch one of the spots that's still available.
"That's why it's nice to start the tournament in a good way."
Kaymer birdied the sixth and 12th but dropped a shot on the 15th before he produced a brilliant finish.
He played an iron like a putter from off the 16th green and saw his ball take a right turn and find the cup before also making gains on the 17th and 18th.
"I think I played fairly solid all day," he said. "I didn't make many mistakes, made one today on the 15th hole and that gave me a bogey on the scorecard but then I had the nice up-and-down - or I don't know whether you want to call it a chip-in on 16.
"That really got the momentum on the right side again. To finish with three birdies was definitely nice, especially going into tomorrow and knowing what's all on the line."
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