Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, Martin Kaymer Won By Four Strokes
21 Jan 08

The 23-year-old German, who led by six going into the final round, had three straight bogeys early in his round. But he still managed to win his first European Tour title with a 15-under-par, 273 total. Henrik Stenson (71) and Lee Westwood (70) were tied for second.


"After I made those three bogeys, I just told myself to remain patient," Kaymer said. "I knew Westwood and Stenson were closing down on me, but they were doing the chasing.I knew that it was they who needed to make the birdies, not me.”


Carding a final round of 74 to finish 15-under par, Kaymer finished four shots ahead of nearest challengers, Lee Westwood and Henrik Stenson, to seal a historic win.


A vital birdie on hole 10 – with title rivals Stenson and Westwood both at 11-under par, and ready to pounce on any Kaymer collapse – got the 23-year old’s round back on track.


 “This is an unbelievable feeling.  It doesn’t feel like I have won by four shots – they were chasing me the whole time and there was a lot of pressure, but I stuck to my game plan and kept attacking,” said Kaymar.


“My birdie on 10 was really important because I had noticed that I was only two shots ahead and that birdie gave me a little bit of confidence for the remaining eight holes.


“I definitely want to return next year – you get everything and feel so welcome.  I feel really comfortable in Abu Dhabi, and I think it showed in my game.”


Lee Westwood, whose second place Abu Dhabi finish will certainly boost his current world ranking of 23, started the day at 9-under par and quickly asserted himself as the main obstacle to Kaymer’s seemingly inevitable victory march with birdies on his first two holes.


“I gave them all too much of a head-start this week, two under after the first two days is not really good enough, you want to be a bit closer than that,” said Westwood.


“I put up a fight at the weekend which was good – I was hoping to get to double figures and I got to 11-under, so I’m pleased with that.”


Stenson’s ‘King of the Swing’ pursuit – Abu Dhabi is the only title missing in his Gulf Swing set – ended with a second Championship runner-ups position in three attempts.  Sweden’s number one has not felt confident off the tees all week, and despite displaying a well-oiled short game to stay in the hunt, the normally big-hitting UAE-based star was full of praise for the all-conquering Kaymer.


“I’ve been struggling with my tee-ball all week long and it was no different today – I didn’t hit enough fairways.  If I had a strong driver in the bag, I feel like I could have given Kaymer a run for his money,” said the ice-cool Swede.


Spectator numbers for the third annual, US$2 million Abu Dhabi Golf Championship - the European PGA Tour curtain raiser - have broken previous records with attendance figures upwards of 25,000 for the four day event.


Aside from having the better field, Abu Dhabi was generally held to be the superior venue, with the professionals deeming the course tough but fair and in the finest condition.

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