x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Kaymer wins third Abu Dhabi Championship title

German finishes tournament with 24-under 264, comfortably ahead of McIlroy, in second, while Goosen and McDowell share third place.

Martin Kaymer cantered to a win at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.
Martin Kaymer cantered to a win at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.

Martin Kaymer, winner of the 2010 PGA Championship and the European Tour Golfer of the Year award, expectedly cruised to his third Abu Dhabi Golf Championship yesterday with a dominating show in the final round.

Starting the day on 18-under and five shots ahead of Rory McIlroy, the German increased his lead with two consecutive birdies on the second and third holes. Returning for the back-nine, he blazed through in a four-under 32 to finish the tournament with a 24-under 264.

His aggregate is the lowest for the tournament and his final round of 66 was just one over Paul Casey’s 2007 record of 65 for the final day.

McIlroy finished a distant second on 272, while Retief Goosen and Graeme McDowell shared third, two shots behind.

David Lynn, who was third overnight, shared the fourth spot with Gareth Maybin on a 12-under 276.

Kaymer -24, McIlroy -16, Goosen -14, McDowell -14, Maybin -12, Lynn -12


Last-hole drama?

Is there going to be a twist at the 18th? Martin Kaymer has missed a fairway for once, hitting the left rough with his driver, while Rory McIlroy cuts the corner and ends in position A1.

However, Kaymer will have to shank a few into the lake now if he is going to contrive to lose his title from here.

He is seven shots clear of his playing partner, at 23-under par, and is home free.

David Lynn is up ahead on the green, and will likely finished fifth on 12-under, with Retief Goosen and Graeme McDowell taking third equal on 14-under.

Kaymer -23, McIlroy -16, Goosen -14, McDowell -14, Maybin -12, Lynn -12

Stenson finishes with a disappointing round of 74

Henrik Stenson had a close-up view of Retief Goosen's bid to break his course record.

Goosen is in the club house now with a 64, two shots off the Dubai-based Swede's best of 62, which he made in 2006, as he ended 14-under.

Stenson was the South African veteran's playing partner here, and he carded a disappointing 74 to finish at four-under.

At the top of the leaderboard, Kaymer is applying the last rights, as he holds a six-shot lead over McIlroy.

Kaymer -22, McIlroy -16, Goosen -14, McDowell -14, Lynn -12

Mickelson ends maiden Middle East trip on a high note

On his first visit to the Middle East, Phil Mickelson has been trying enjoy his time here in Abu Dhabi. He was excited about visiting the Ferrari World and riding the roller coaster there.

By the end of his trip, he will be pleased with his golf as well. Playing competitively for the first time two months, the American carded a two-under 70 in the final round to finish with an aggregate of five-under 283.

Starting the day with a par, Mickelson was three-under for the first-nine with birdies on the second, fourth and eight. Two bogeys on the 13th and 14th, however, spoilt his card for the day.

Martin Kaymer -21, Rory McIlroy -15, Retief Goosen -15, David Lynn -13

Goosen within reach of Stenson's course record

Paul Radley reports: Rafael Cabrero-Bello is just signing for a 66, having flown out of the traps with a birdie then eagle at the first two.

His pace slowed, and Retief Goosen’s did, too, as he had to settle for four pars around the turn.

He is back on the birdie trail now, though, to go seven-under for the round, 13-under for the tournament, and with Stenson’s course record of 62 within reach.

Kaymer -20, McIlroy -13, Goosen - 13, Lynn -12

Kaymer opens up his lead

Paul Radley reports: Paul Casey is just coming up to his new favourite hole in golf, the 12th at the National Course.

Wait for the cheer: he made a hole-in-one there yesterday, winning himself a three-night stay at the Emirates Palace hotel every year for the rest of his life in the process. Can’t be bad.

The two-time winner of the event is currently even par for the day, balancing two early bogeys with two birdies to stay six-under for the tournament.

Otherwise, at the top of the chart, Kaymer’s procession is continuing unchecked. He has moved to 20-under, while McIlroy is now 12-under.

Kaymer -20, McIlroy -12, Lynn -12, Goosen -11, McDowell -11


The leaders are out on the course

Paul Radley reports: Rory McIlroy starts in positive fashion, making a birdie at the par-five seventh.

Unfortunately for him, and those of us who wouldn't mind seeing a tight finish, thank you very much, Martin Kaymer also gets down in four to keep his lead at five, on 19-under par.

Elsewhere on the course, Retief Goosen is flying. The South African has shot five birdies and is not even at the turn yet.

At 11-under he may not be about to trouble the leaders, but the course record of 62, set by the Dubai-resident Henrik Stenson in 2006, could be threatened.


Time for a spot trivia quiz on the likely champion

Paul Radley poses a question:  If Martin Kaymer does win here this afternoon, it will be the third time he has lifted the Falcon trophy.

One other player has won the same Desert Swing event (either Abu Dhabi, Qatar Masters, or the Dubai Desert Classic, with the Bahrain Champions to be added this year) three times. Who is he?

He will also be the quickest player to amass more than €10 million, having done so in a mere 100 tournaments. Whose record will he beat?

One small clue: neither is on the course at present. Talking of which, back outside, Phil Mickelson's charge has been derailed after he bogeyed 15.

The hottest player out on the course at present - in a form, not looks sense, of course - is Stephen Gallacher. The Scotsman has fired six birdies with just one dropped shot, taking himself to eight-under for the tournament.


Westwood ends his final round with a par score

Ahmed Rizvi reports: Playing his first tournament of 2011, Lee Westwood, the world No 1, finished the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship with a score of 290 following a par card of 72 on a breezy final day.

Westwood, who had not practiced for more than six weeks before coming to Abu Dhabi, started the day promisingly with a birdie, but hit his first of three bogies on the third.

Two more birdies followed on the fifth and eight as the Englishman started his return journey on a 35.

He went one over the back nine, though, with a bogey on the 11th to start his year on a disappointing note.


Jeremy Dale entertains spectators with his trickery, while Mickelson gets his round under way

Jeremy Dale, the trick shot artist, is currently running a small but captivated crowd through his scarcely believable routine on the range near the media centre.

He has just hit a drive straight down the middle, off a three-foot high tee. Left-handed.

They say it does not pay to be a smarty-pants, but in his case I’d imagine it does. And if the pay is commensurate with skill, he deserves to be very comfortably off.

Anyway, enough of the sideshows. Phil Mickelson, still the most recognisable player in the field, despite Lee Westwood being ranked No 1, has made a steady start.

The left-handed American is three under for the day and six for the tournament after eight holes of his third round.

Miguel Angel Jimenez is a shot behind at five-under, and has just started to move, posting back to back birdies at seven and eight.


Schwartzel sitting pretty in Race to Dubai

Paul Radley reports: The wheels might have fallen off Charl Schwartzel’s bid for the Falcon trophy yesterday when he stuck a drive into a bush at 13, but he is still sitting pretty in the Race to Dubai.

The South African lost ground on Kaymer, and a bit of face as well when he had to employ the majority of the watching gallery - including a little girl with her face painted - to try to find his ball.

The current Race to Dubai leader finished with a round of one-under, 10 for the tournament and an eight shot deficit to make up on Kaymer.

He goes off at 12.32pm with Gareth Maybin, followed out Alexander Noren (10-under) and David Lynn (12-under), then the two leaders, Kaymer and McIlroy.

James Kingston and Damien McGrane are coming down the 18th. They are about to sign for frustratingly high scores, with only one birdie - Kingston’s two on the fourth - registered between them so far today.


The galleries are hardly having to jostle for room out on the course. It is a quiet start to the day, but no doubt a few more golf fans will have wagged work to make it here by the time the leaders go out.

And anyway, the quality of TV coverage for golf these days makes it a wrench to leave the sofa. Swing Vision on and HD-equipped television is immense, surely rivaled only by Hawkeye and cricket's Hot Spot in the Great Sporting Visual Aid Stakes from recent years.

The first matches out will be back in the clubhouse soon. Damien McGrane, in the first two-ball out with James Kingston, has righted a ship which looked set to sink by the time he reached the turn in 40.

He has made five straight pars since the turn, but still looks like he will finished last of those who made the cut.


Should the organisers at the National Course pay homage to Kaymer?

Paul Radley reports: The people that run the National Course are going to have to pay serious thought to naming something after Martin Kaymer on present form.

If, as seems highly probable, he wins around here this afternoon, it will be his third capital crown in the past four years. And in the other one, back in 2009, he was second-place anyway.

Surely he will have earned some sort of recognition by this feat. The Martin Kaymer Victory Shower, perhaps? Or what about just naming the 18th “The Kaymer”?

Rory McIlroy will need the biggest comeback in the history of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship if he is going to haul in the German this afternoon.

Paul Casey made up three shots on the last day when he won here in 2007, yet a five-shot swing, which McIlroy needs to rein in the champion, seems highly unlikely.

We have all that to look forward to, however. Meanwhile, out on the course, playing partners Maarten Lafeber and Ross McGowan are making a late bid for the trophy from the middle of the field.

They have both birdied the first two holes of their final round, leaving Lafeber at four-under and McGowan at five-under. Kaymer is a long way off, but if they keep up their strike-rate of a birdie per hole ... they will still be struggling.


The task ahead for Rory McIlroy

Paul Radley ponders: If Rory McIlroy does achieve the highly improbable this afternoon, and overhaul Martin Kaymer’s five-stroke lead to win the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, he will move into the top five of the world rankings.

It will also be the first victory he has had on the European Tour since he won the Dubai Desert Classic in 2009.

That might seem like a strangely fallow run for one of the sport’s main stars, yet he has won in America in that time, and has been remarkably consistent otherwise.

He has finished second twice, been in the top five 12 times and the top 10 an overall total of 19 times in the 36 tournaments since he won around the Emirates.

He - and his sponsors, Jumeirah - will be loving his record on the tour’s Desert Swing. He has placed in the top 10 in seven of his last eight events in the region.

Scoring is currently mixed out on the course. John Parry, the Englishman, was putting together a neat round, with three birdies in his first six holes, but dropped a stitch at the ninth, via a bogey five.


Backmarkers out on the course

Paul Radley reports: Having picked his way around the National Course with all the efficiency of a German-built, Vorsprung durch Technik golf robot for the past three days, Martin Kaymer is enjoying a well-earned lie in.

While we wait for his 12.50pm tee time (he is playing in an attractive final group with Rory McIlroy) the backmarkers are out scrapping over the odd ranking morsel and a few extra dirhams of prize-money.

It is a beautiful crisp morning in the capital, and the rain which turned the car par into a Glastonbury-esque quagmire yesterday morning has mercifully stayed away.

The most notable name out on the course at present is that of world No 1 Lee Westwood. His indifferent week has continued at the start of the final round, as he made two bogeys in his first three holes.

He repaired some of the damage with a birdie three at the sixth, but he will be less than enthused by being at two over.

Damien McGrane looks set to card the highest score of those who have made the cut. He is currently at six-over, having shot 40 on the way out this morning. That includes three bogey fives and a nasty-looking six at the par five second.

Colin Montgomerie, the winning Ryder Cup captain last year, has made a steady start, posting pars at the first two holes.


Hello and welcome to The National’s coverage of the final round of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship from the National Course in the UAE’s capital.

Play in the fourth and final round is to resume at 7.29am (3.29am GMT) with Damien McGrane and James Kingston the opening pair. You can follow how the action unfolds here with our regular 30 minute updates from what is happening on and off the course from our three writers.

To quickly bring you up to speed. Martin Kaymer, the impressive German golfer, leads Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland by five strokes. David Lynn is a further shot behind with Alexander Noren and the current Race to Dubai leader Charl Schwartzel on 10-under. The full day 3 leaderboard.

The headlines from today’s newspaper

Kaymer just needs to finish in the top seven to land the world No 2 ranking from Tiger Woods

Rory McIlroy has a change of attitude to winning after a poor 2010 by his standards

Padraig Harrington is taking disqualification from the tournament in his stride

Paul Casey is happy to win the smaller battles

Tee off times

11:06 Jacquelin, Jaidee

11:15 Luiten, Coles

11:24 Garrido, Casey

11:33 Goosen, Stenson

11:47 Wall, Davies

11:56 Larrazabal, Green

12:05 Fasth, Strange

12:14 Echenique, Colsaerts

12:23 McDowell, Goya

12:32 Maybin, Schwartzel

12:41 A Noren, Lynn

12:50 Kaymer, McIlroy

Full tee off times