Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Kaymer closing in on Euro crown

Martin Kaymer

Martin Kaymer looks set to be crowned Europe's new number one on Sunday, but his bid to become world number one as well is heading for a thrilling climax.

With Graeme McDowell dropping from 25th to 42nd with a second round 73 at the Dubai World Championship - he needs a top three finish to have any chance - Kaymer is cruising home in the money list race at the moment.

But the 25-year-old German might have to win the tournament to dethrone Lee Westwood at the head of the world rankings and at the halfway stage he is in fourth place and Westwood third.

A tightly-packed leaderboard sees their Ryder Cup teammates Ross Fisher and Ian Poulter setting the pace at nine under par, Poulter following a 66 and Fisher after a 64 that equalled the course record established by Westwood in winning the title last year.

Westwood had a 67 to be only one behind, while Kaymer's 70 left him two back along with Paul Casey - the man controversially left out of last month's win over the Americans - and Thai golfer Thongchai Jaidee.

Fisher is looking to add the first prize of nearly £777,000 to his Irish Open win in August, while Poulter, of course, is trying to make it two victories in a row after his Hong Kong Open success last Sunday.

No player has won a European Tour event without a bogey since Jesper Parnevik at the 1995 Scandinavian Masters. Poulter's only two last year were in the final round and he has yet to have one here.

Armed with a new all-white driver, he and playing partner Westwood both birdied the first three holes and then Poulter made it four in a row.

Fisher came racing past them with four birdies in the last seven holes, but Poulter's two on the short 17th brought him back level and Westwood also birdied it to be right on their heels.

First round leader Robert Karlsson, meanwhile, had an even worse time than McDowell. A 75 dropped him all the way to joint 12th and he is now five behind.

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