SUPER-CONFIDENT Martin Kaymer lived up to his own hype with a four-shot win in the KLM Open at Hilversum yesterday – the fifth victory in-a-row by a member of Europe’s Ryder Cup team.
“I think I am ready to win again,” the world number six had said on the eve of his return to action after three weeks off celebrating his first major title at the USPGA championship.
Kaymer’s second successive victory takes him more than €490,000 clear of Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell – Europe’s other current major champion – at the top of the European Tour money list.
The 25-year-old German, who from one in front shot a near-flawless 66 for a 14-under-par aggregate of 266, joins another cup team-mate, Miguel Angel Jimenez, as a three-time winner this season.
“I felt very strong and I was very patient,” said Kaymer after pushing Swede Christian Nilsson and Paraguay’s Fabrizio Zanotti into a distant second place. “The majors are the biggest tournaments we play all year and if you win one of those it gives you probably the biggest confidence you can get. It was my goal to play well here, but I was not expecting to win again. It’s a nice feeling.”
Kaymer’s triumph at Whistling Straits last month started the amazing run of success by Colin Montgomerie’s men.
Peter Hanson won a week later at the Czech Open, then Edoardo Molinari in the Johnnie Walker Championship and Jimenez last week at the Omega European Masters.
The only players among Colin Montgomerie’s team not to have won this year are Lee Westwood, Francesco Molinari and Padraig Harrington but then Harrington can correct that at the Vivendi Cup, the final event before the Ryder Cup.
Francesco Molinari signed for a 66 to capture his eighth top-10 this year with a share of eighth place at eight-under par. England’s Ross Fisher, the third member of the European team competing in Holland, was a shot further back at seven-under par while Darren Clarke led home the Irish in carding a closing 68 for a six-under par tally.
Damien McGrane went close to celebrating his first-ever hole-in-one on the Tour, and the prize of a new BMW, when his 4-iron tee shot at the par three, 15th lipped out before stopping three feet from the hole.
Three holes earlier, McGrane holed a 15-foot putt for eagle that made amends for taking a double-bogey at the ninth.
McGrane remains inside the top-60 on the money list after eventually carding a 69 for a four-under par tally.
“It’s been another good week but it’s just unfortunate as I played very poorly over the weekend,” he said.
“I had to work very hard but all in all it’s been a pretty decent week and now I’m off to Austria.”
Ballyclare’s Gareth Maybin fell one place behind McGrane to 49th on the money list after also eagling the 12th by hitting a rescue club from 200 yards to 15-foot.
After taking three weeks off to compete over the past fortnight, Maybin is again taking a three-week break ahead of his next event in Scotland.
Belfast’s Michael Hoey (75) and Co. Down’s Simon Thornton (70) were at level par.
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