Kaymer completes remarkable hattrick

10/10/2010 16:52:12
Martin Kaymer   (Getty Images)
Martin Kaymer (Getty Images)

Golf's newest Major Champion Martin Kaymer became the first player to win three times in a row on The European Tour since Tiger Woods four years ago.

In bitterly cold and windy conditions at St Andrews the 25 year old German added the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship title to the US PGA Championship he took in a play-off in August and the KLM Open he ran away with in the Netherlands last month.

But Lee Westwood could not make it a day of double celebration for Europe's Ryder Cup heroes.

Westwood needed a top-two finish to replace Woods as World Number One, but struggling again with his leg injury he fell back from fifth to 11th with a 73.

However, the 37 year old is pulling out of this coming week's Portugal Masters - and that makes it certain he will topple Woods at the end of this month.

For Kaymer, now up to World Number Four and almost €1,000,000 clear of Graeme McDowell at the top of The Race to Dubai, it completed a dream week.

Six days after achieving another victory on his Ryder Cup debut at The Celtic Manor Resort he produced a superb six under par 66 to beat English pair Danny Willett and John Parry - Walker Cup team-mates three years ago - by three and four shots respectively.

Vicar's son Willett threatened to spring an upset when he sank a 50 foot eagle putt from off the green at the long 14th to go into the joint lead.

But Kaymer wasted no time regaining the lead from the 23 year old. He followed him in from 25 feet for birdie, then made his own outrageous 40 footer from left of the 17th green.

And although his final drive finished on Granny Clark's Wynd, the road crossing the fairway, he hit his second off the tarmac to six feet and made it for yet another birdie.

Kaymer took the €580,046 first prize with a 17 under par aggregate of 271. It was his fourth win of the season - and the last person to do that in Europe was also Woods in 2006.

"To make a four at the 17th feels like a birdie, so I don't know how I managed a three," he said. "I just tried to focus on the putt."

And as for playing off the road he added: "I was just trying to get it beyond the flag."

Although he described Monday night's celebrations as one of the best parties of his life - it included karaoke, dancing and table tennis before he retired just before 3am - Kaymer said he had no difficulty getting his focus straight back.

"I could feel the alcohol the next day, but I spoke to my dad on the phone and we talked about how I had to finish better than I did at The Open."

Kaymer finished seventh on the Old Course then, but closed with three successive bogeys. This time it was a magical birdie-birdie conclusion.

"It was always one of my dreams to win here. I can still remember my first day here as an amateur, walking down the first hole and over the bridge - it felt very special to me.

"If you would have given me a par on 17 I would have given you a lot of money - that was more luck than skill."

As for three wins in a row he added: "I'm surprised as well. I don't really have answer for why I am playing so well at the moment.

“It was always one of my dreams to win here at St Andrews.”

Parry led by two overnight and was one in front with nine to play, but he three-putted the 11th and 13th, then went in a gorse bush for a double bogey seven on the next.

Willett has now had 16 top-ten finishes on The European Tour.

This was his seventh of the season, but the nearest he has come to winning so far and he stated: "I'm getting there. I just need to keep putting myself in contention."

Parry commented: "I lost all my momentum. It's not like I bottled it, I just dont think I was playing well enough on the day."