Martin Kaymer shot a final-round 71 to secure a nervy one-shot victory in the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Florida
Martin Kaymer shot a final-round 71 to secure a nervy one-shot victory in the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Florida.
The German opened with a nine-under-par 63 – including a front-nine 29 – to lead by two shots after round one, and maintained a slender one-shot lead from Jordan Spieth, who carded a second-round 66, heading into the weekend.
On Saturday both players struggled for momentum, and Spieth made a gutsy par save on the 18th hole to remain bogey-free for the tournament as Kaymer dropped a shot to fall into a share of the lead.
But Spieth struggled somewhat on Sunday, and Kaymer – without a win on the PGA Tour since the 2010 US PGA Championship – looked in complete control before a 90-minute weather break during the final round.
He moved three clear with a birdie at the par-5 11th, and when the hooter sounded on his 14th hole, he sat three clear of Jim Furyk, who narrowly missed a birdie putt on the 72nd hole en route to a closing 66 and a 12-under-par 72-hole total.
After the weather delay, things took a turn for the worse for Kaymer.
He hooked his drive on the par-4 15th and made a double bogey, and failed to capitalise on the reachable par-5 16th.
Standing on the 17th tee, his lead had been trimmed to one shot, and a bogey looked the likely outcome after his second from the fringe settled some 30 feet from the cup.
But he made a brilliant par save, bombed a drive down the 18th fairway and two-putted from just short of the green to secure victory and a massive $1.8m victory cheque.
The former world number one will now move back inside the world’s top 30 after spending a number of weeks launguishing outside the top 60.
“It’s always very difficult to come back after a little break, you see the leaderboard, you see where you are.
“When you are playing the first 14 holes you are in it and just keep going. I played really really well and you are really disappointed when they called it (off). Obviously there was a reason for it.
“And then you are a little cold and I made a couple of wrong decisions. On 15 you give yourself a chance for par, you don’t be that aggressive and try to go for it. And then on 16 you have to chip it, it was not the right decision but it was a big putt on 17. It feels like a major win.”
The Players Championship
TPC Sawgrass, Florida, USA
May 8-11, purse $10,000,000, par 72
1) Martin Kaymer (GER) 63-69-72-71 = 275 $1,800,000
2) Jim Furyk (USA) 70-68-72-66 = 276 $1,080,000
3) Sergio Garcia (ESP) 67-71-69-70 = 277 $680,000
T4) Justin Rose (ENG) 67-71-71-69 = 278 $440,000
T4) Jordan Spieth (USA) 67-66-71-74 = 278 $440,000
T6) David Hearn (CAN) 70-71-68-70 = 279 $313,000
T6) Rory McIlroy (NIR) 70-74-69-66 = 279 $313,000
T6) Francesco Molinari (ITA) 72-70-67-70 = 279 $313,000
T6) Jimmy Walker (USA) 75-68-71-65 = 279 $313,000
T6) Lee Westwood (ENG) 67-71-71-70 = 279 $313,000
Bold signifies Titleist Golf ball usage