Germany's Martin Kaymer came through the most searching test of his young career yesterday and now lies sixth in the Ryder Cup race. The 23-year-old won the BMW International here for his second European Tour title, but only after losing a six-shot lead and being forced into a play-off by Dane Anders Hansen. He dedicated the victory to his seriously ill mother and as his tears flowed, said: "This was for you."
After three days of superb golf Kaymer struggled to the turn in 38 shots and when he ran up a triple-bogey eight on the long 11th, hitting two balls in the lake short of the green, it was all going horribly wrong. Greg Norman famously lost the 1996 Masters to Nick Faldo from the same position, but last season's Rookie of the Year refused to fold.
Hansen, who had knee surgery less than a month ago and was playing his first event back, set the target of 15 under par with a closing birdie. Kaymer, though, matched it and when they returned to the 568-yard 18th hole he struck a massive drive and his approach finished just seven feet from the flag.
With Hansen in two bunkers and not even making par it did not matter that the Dusseldorf player, compared on Friday by Bernhard Langer to Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson for his combination of smart and aggressive play, failed with his eagle attempt. He moves up four spots in the cup standings with only 10 weeks left and now has a great chance of making his debut in September.
English trio Paul Casey, John Bickerton and Mark Foster tied for third on 13 under, while Colin Montgomerie's 16th place was his best strokeplay finish since January.