Kaymer set for Sunday thriller
Martin Kaymer looks set to win the European crown on Sunday, but his bid to also become World No 1 is heading for a thriller.
Martin Kaymer looks set to win the Race to Dubai and to be crowned Europe’s top golfer on Sunday, but his bid to become world number one as well is heading for a thrilling climax.
With Graeme McDowell dropping from 25th to 42nd with a second round 73 at the Dubai World Championship – he needs a top three finish to have any chance – Kaymer is cruising home in the money list race at the moment.
But the 25-year-old German might have to win the tournament to dethrone Lee Westwood at the head of the world rankings and at the halfway stage he is in fourth place and Westwood third.
A tightly-packed leaderboard sees their Ryder Cup teammates Ross Fisher and Ian Poulter setting the pace at nine under par, Poulter following a 66 and Fisher after a 64 that equalled the course record established by Westwood in winning the title last year.
Westwood had a 67 to be only one behind, while Kaymer’s 70 left him two back along with Paul Casey – the man controversially left out of last month’s win over the Americans – and Thai golfer Thongchai Jaidee.
When told of McDowell’s position 10 shots off the pace and eight shots behind him, Kaymer said: “He will find it difficult to win from there.”
The Ulsterman accepted that, but was reminded of the fact that at the Wales Open in June he turned a six-stroke deficit after 36 holes into a three-shot win with rounds of 64 and 63.
Mental fatigue is appearing to take its toll now, though. This is McDowell’s fifth event in a row, while Kaymer took last week off.
“I was just very quick to lose patience with myself,” said McDowell, who after climbing from 25th to sixth spot with three birdies in the first seven holes bogeyed four of the next seven.
“I don’t think I have a huge amount in the tank and I’m finding it tough to scramble.
“There are enough good shots in there to give myself a chance, but I’m getting frustrated very quickly.
“Ken (his caddie Ken Comboy) said he had never seen me like that and maybe this is one step too far.
“I had three three-putts yesterday and from the middle of the eighth fairway with an eight-iron I missed the green and then did the same on the ninth.
“Just simple, stupid mistakes – the sign of a man whose head is not very sharp.
“But I’m going to give it 100% – everything I have left – and it’s not over. Two 65s are not out of the question.2
Fisher is looking to add the first prize of nearly £777,000 to his Irish Open win in August, while Poulter, of course, is trying to make it two victories in a row after his Hong Kong Open success last Sunday.
No player has won a European Tour event without a bogey since Jesper Parnevik at the 1995 Scandinavian Masters. Poulter’s only two last year were in the final round and he has yet to have one here.
Armed with a new all-white driver, he and playing partner Westwood
both birdied the first three holes and then Poulter made it four in a row.
Fisher came racing past them with four birdies in the last seven holes, but Poulter’s two on the short 17th brought him back level and Westwood also birdied it to be right on their heels.
First round leader Robert Karlsson, meanwhile, had an even worse time than McDowell. A 75 dropped him all the way to joint 12th and he is now five behind.
While Poulter is delighted with his new driver – it is the best he has felt on the tee since one was stolen two years ago – Westwood fears his might be about to break.
“I kept losing shots to the left – I think the head is about to go,” he stated.
“I brought a spare, so I’m going to do a bit of testing on the range.
“If you hit them hard they tend not to last too long.”
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