Martin Kaymer is keen to turn the disappointment of narrowly missing out on a Ryder Cup debut earlier this year into a positive by leading Germany to World Cup success at Mission Hills this week.
The highly rated 23-year-old enjoyed a superb second season on the European Tour in 2008, securing victories at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship and BMW International Open.
However, Kaymer fell just short of making the European Ryder Cup team as he finished 10th on the European points list to leave him one spot behind Oliver Wilson with the Englishman taking the last automatic berth.
But Kaymer still travelled with the European team after captain Nick Faldo decided to take the young German as a guest in order to experience the Ryder Cup first hand.
Kaymer today combined with playing partner Alex Cejka for a 10-under-par 62 in first round fourballs at the Omega Mission Hills World Cup, a score that puts Germany top of the leaderboard.
Play switches to foursomes format tomorrow before alternating again in the final two rounds – and Kaymer is keen to use what he has learned from the Ryder Cup and help lead his country to a first World Cup trophy since Bernhard Langer and Marcel Siem triumphed in 2006.
“I learned a lot of things at the Ryder Cup,” said Kaymer. “It was a different format there.
“That was match play, and here it’s stroke play, and you can be aggressive in the best-ball, what we played today.
“But tomorrow is going to be different. I think every team event is different, and the Ryder Cup helped me in many ways.
“But it’s very, very tough to say now what was the most important thing I learned or which helped me so much that we played well today.”
Kaymer was in fine form from the first hole at a blustery Mission Hills Golf Club and reeled off three successive birdies before Cejka added another on the par-four fourth.
Kaymer then shot a superb eagle three on the seventh, holing a putt from over 65 feet before he picked up another shot on the ninth to ensure Germany reached the turn at seven under.
The 2007 European Tour Rookie of the Year added another two birdies coming home while Cejka weighed in with one more to ensure Germany hold a slender one-stroke advantage over Australia.
“We had a really good start today,” added Kaymer. “We were seven-under after nine holes, and we kept playing well on the back nine and finished 10-under.
“It was a little bit tougher than last year, but I think we can be happy with 10-under.”
Spain, the United States and Canada are tied third on eight under while a double-bogey on the last saw Ireland drop from second to tied sixth at seven under.
Despite the disappointing end to the day, Graeme McDowell believes the leaderboard will not properly take shape until after tomorrow’s foursomes round.
“I think in better-ball format, no one is really able to run away with it,” said McDowell, who is representing Ireland alongside Paul McGinley.
“Foursomes is the key. We need to get out there tomorrow, play as solidly as we played today, knock it around a few under par, and keep ourselves well in the tournament.”
Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie and Alastair Forsyth, looking to stage a successful defence of the trophy, finished six shots off the pace after a 68 while England’s Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher are a shot further behind.