Remember Martin Kaymer’s three-shot lead in Abu Dhabi? Well, it’s five shots now and it looks like the German is sailing to his ninth European Tour title after carding a 66 to match his opening rounds of 67 and 65. A win for the German would see him move into second place in the world rankings, guaranteeing Tiger Woods’ lowest ranking since 2004 in the process.
Kaymer’s recent record in Abu Dhabi has been nothing short of sensational, as this paragraph from the BBC’s coverage makes abundantly clear:
“Kaymer, who was also runner-up two years ago, is now 74 under par for his last 15 rounds at the venue, and has had only one bogey in his last 79 holes on the course, a staggering sequence that goes back to the 11th hole of his third round last year.”
His nearest challenger, Rory McIlroy, needed a grandstand birdie-eagle finish to edge to within five shots of the German (and current best player in the world!). The magnitude of the challenge facing the Northener on Sunday is lost on no one, least of all the man himself:
“Martin is a very good leader…He does not lose many tournaments from the position he is in… If I give myself enough opportunities, as I did today, I am sure there’s a low score out there and hopefully I will go close. But Martin is playing very, very well.”
Still, a five-shot gap, eighteen holes, one player to catch… stranger things have happened, though they don’t usually happen to Martin Kaymer.
It was a poor day for the field’s other big names, however. World Number One Lee Westwood slipped the wrong side of par with a one-over 73, enough to see him fall into a share of sixty-fifth place. Graeme McDowell, though playing with Kaymer in the final group, never really built any momentum and, by the time the scorecards were signed, his early four-shot deficit had become nine. Phil Mickelson, still struggling with Five Guys withdrawal, lies in a distant tie for thirty-ninth.