Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Martin Kaymer’s St Andrews win spurs on Graeme McDowell

Alfred Dunhill Links champion Martin Kaymer with the trophy on the Swilkin Bridge

Graeme McDowell looks to hace conceded in the Race to Dubai after Martin Kaymer captured the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

On hearing the news, McDowell declared: ‘Game over! Fair play to Martin'.

But on second thoughts, McDowell is now more than ever determined to take the Race to Dubai challenge right to his German-born Ryder Cup winning colleague.

Kaymer captured his third European Tour win in succession with a resounding six-under par 66, that included a pair of closing birdies, in very cold and windy conditions for three-stroke success with his 17-under par tally in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

It is Kaymer's fourth Race to Dubai victory this year and he becomes the first player, since Tiger Woods in 2006, to win three consecutive European Tour Order of Merit events.

Victory has lifted the 25-year-old German golfing ace to number four in the world while his first prize cheque of €580,046 has taken him €995,580 clear of McDowell in second place.

Kaymer also made amends for July's disappointing finish when he bogeyed the closing three holes in a 74 to end joint seventh in the Open.

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

“But after what happened in the Open here this year, I talked to my dad the last three days, and we talked about that I had to finish better than I did.”

Kaymer and McDowell head to the home straight in the Race to Dubai playing a similar schedule with each to contest the Andalucia Masters, WGC HSBC Champions and Barclays Singapore Open.

The only difference is that McDowell has added the penultimate event, the UBS Hong Kong Open before the pair square off in the November 25 commencing Dubai World Championship.

“I am going to have to at least win once, and also have a big five weeks, if I am going to get past Martin,” said McDowell (pictured) after a round of 72 to finish at six-under par.

“My next event is the Grand Slam of Golf that is not a huge priority but then it's back to the European Tour for five straight.

“So after Bermuda, I have to be ready to play and I have to be up for it and give myself every opportunity to play well over those five weeks.

“But as for this week, anything was going to be a come down after the adrenaline fuelled week that was the Ryder Cup.”

While McDowell has a week off before heading to Bermuda, Padraig Harrington left for Singapore last night, and Thursday's Johor Open in Malaysia.

Harrington holed a 30-foot putt for eagle at the par five, fifth hole on route to a 73 and like McDowell, felt very jaded after last week's euphoria in Wales.

“I certainly ran out of steam but I'm looking forward to this week out in Malaysia, and inspecting the site of the golf course I'm going to design,” said Harrington.

Harrington remains at 18th place on the money list.

And for a first time playing the Old Course in his career, Holywood’s Rory McIlroy found himself ending his round at the far end of the course on the ninth green.

McIlroy had commenced his day at the adjoining 10th hole with a birdie and then after taking a bogey at the 13th he took a quadruple bogey nine at the par five, 14th.

The current World No. 9 put his drive out-of-bounds at the hole named 'Long', and then after taking playing his third to the middle of the fairway, McIlroy lost a ball into gorse bushes with his fourth.

He added a second penalty chipped to the green for six and three-putted.

“Despite what happened at 14 today, it was still a nice week after winning the Ryder Cup,” he said.

“But it was pretty bizarre today in finishing at the ninth with hardly anyone around, as in all the times I've played the Old Course, I've never ended my round way out there at the back of the course.

“It was pretty tough out there today and now that I've finished I'm looking forward to heading down to Cairo tomorrow for this week's Egypt Open.”

McIlroy's lowly finish saw his drop a place to 12th on the money list. Shane Lowry, the only other Irish player to make Saturday's cut, had three birdies in succession from the fourth, in a closing day 74 for a share of 53rd place at two-over par.

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