Kaymer can produce Munich magic

Ben Coley previews this week’s BMW International Open and feels that Martin Kaymer is a man to put your money on.

Classy is the best word to describe this week’s BMW International Open as a star-studded international cast takes to Munich to start a superb run of European Tour events, culminating at St Andrews in under a month.

For the 14th year running the event will be played just outside the city at Golfclub München Eichenried and after an Englishman dared grab the title in 2009 there’s a strong home challenge as German golf bids to get one back from the old enemy.

Last year Nick Dougherty fired an incredible closing 64 to win from albatross-making Argentine Rafa Echenique as round three leader Retief Goosen folded on Sunday, but with the South African sticking to the States this week and solid reasons for taking on the other two in the outright market, we must look elsewhere in our bid to find the 2010 winner.

The course isn’t particularly demanding, as double-figure under-par winning totals will tell you, so just like the Travelers over in America ball-strikers who can sink some putts should come to the fore.

Last year hitting the short grass wasn’t quite so important; it was putting that eventually won the day as the eventual winner Dougherty topped the putts per round stats with eventual runner up Echenique second in the same field. Goosen, meanwhile, homed in on greens in ranking top of the greens in regulation stats but was very much let down by the flat stick.

However, a year earlier Martin Kaymer gained his second win on the tour despite a final round collapse and he topped the GIR stats, whilst Swedish champions Fasth (07) and Stenson (06) both demonstrated almost perfect tee-to-green games on their way to success.

All in all history suggests that this week’s winner will have struck the ball exceptionally well.

It’s one of those men that gets the confident vote this week – home hope Martin Kaymer.

The impressive German shapes like a future major champion and having won twice in 2009 and twice in ’08 he’s halfway to matching those efforts already this year having landed the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.

Kaymer showed unflappable resolve in holding off a strong Ian Poulter challenge that day and has simply progressed with experience since winning this in 2008.

That week he looked like cantering to success only to stutter to a final round 75 but to recover from that and defeat Anders Hansen in a play-off was some effort and he’s taken to put behind him last year’s missed cut here in Munich.

Kaymer arrives this time on the back of a T8 in the US Open where his game looked back to its best; he’s been struggling with the putter since winning in Dubai but seemed to have overcome those troubles and played solid throughout the week.

Indeed his season long stat of 10th for putts per round on the European tour is particularly impressive in light of comments made by the German, who said he struggled for a number of weeks.

Prior to that US Open effort the signs were there that he may have turned the corner with a T12 in the Celtic Manor, shooting 69 – 67 on the weekend, and he has appeared in determined mood as he bids to get his title back.

Interestingly, in winning the Abu Dhabi Championship he was recapturing a crown he’d lost, having won the event in 2008 but finished second to Paul Casey a year later.

We’re very hopeful that trend can continue and fully expect the German to take the world of beating.

Another winner this year just heads the market in the shape of Ernie Els and whilst his tee-to-green game looked in fine order at Pebble Beach he looks to have lost something with the flat-stick and at single-figure prices can be taken on and we do so in favour of fellow countryman Charl Schwartzel.

Twice a winner already this year, Charl really seems to be fulfilling his potential having previously looked a weak finisher.

He has only played this event once in the last five years and finished with a 73 to share sixth; if he’d have got round in 69, his worst round of the week otherwise, the South African would’ve been in the play-off with Kaymer and Hansen.

Now, though, he knows what it takes to win having got the job done in both the African and Joburg Opens. Of course, both were on his home continent but he finished second behind Ernie in the WGC-CA Championship at Doral, a performance that propelled him onto the global golfing map.

He’s backed that up with a share of third at the Shell Houston Open and two classy major efforts; a T30 at Augusta and a tie for 16th last week at Pebble Beach.

Statistically speaking he’s putting as well as he ever has on the European tour and the current Race to Dubai third can solidify his position with another big run; he’s not been out of the top 40 anywhere this year and as both wins came in better than 20 under par, Schwartzel is a man who can make birdies with the best of them. We expect him to fire again this week so take the 20s.