Kaymer on rise after desert duel

German reminiscent of Langer as he keeps nerve to beat Poulter on the final hole

If the rest of this European Tour season turns out to be as enthralling as this curtain-raiser then the organisers and sponsors should lick their lips and the Americans had better watch out. Martin Kaymer, Ian Poulter and Rory McIlroy gave further evidence of the quality at Colin Montgomerie's disposal, with the young German eventually emerging the victor after a titanic three-way tussle.

How Kaymer reminded of his countryman Bernhard Langer, holding his nerve to prevail, by a single shot. He began the last hole level with Poulter but a cool birdie on that par five was enough to deny the Englishman. Poulter had nothing to be ashamed of, however, as his 66 matched that of Kaymer. McIlroy, meanwhile, shot a 67. Hardly shabby.

It was Kaymer's second Abu Dhabi Golf Championship title and hauled him to sixth in the world. He expressed his hope that it will be the catalyst to a highly-anticipated Ryder Cup debut at Celtic Manor in October. "My main goal is to play the Ryder Cup this year," said the 25-year-old who, on Nick Faldo's invitation, travelled with the Europe team to Kentucky. "When I went there two years ago I really felt I want to be there one day because it is so cool. Even though I wasn't playing, it gave me so much experience and it helped me so much."

Montgomerie will certainly be looking forward to having Kaymer in his team along with Poulter and McIlroy. Despite coming so close, Poulter was celebrating himself last night. It has long been his ambition to break into the top 10 and this runner-up placing has finally seen him join the elite. "It's a nice start to the season," said the new world No 10. "If you're going to take the positives out of that, I'm pretty frustrated that I've walked away from shooting that score and I haven't won. But it's good. I will move on next week in Qatar, have a bit of fun and see if I can go one step closer."

After failing to keep up with the electrifying start to the final round from his playing partners, McIlroy claimed an eighth top-10 finish in his last nine events with a surging finish. "It's a great way to start the year in the last group and going down the last one behind and getting the juices flowing again," said the 20-year-old, who has actually been bumped down one place to 11 in the world rankings. "It was a nice feeling and hopefully that will set the tone for the rest of the season."

Kaymer would doubtless say amen to that. At the start of the week, he raised a few eyebrows by revealing that he still has plates and screws in the foot injury he sustained in a go-karting accident last year. "I can still feel them in there," he said yesterday. "And I could have them removed now. But I don't want to risk having to have two or three weeks off. I shall leave them in until December." This exemplifies the steel of the young man; as do the five Tour titles which have established him as one of the great hopes of European golf.

There is little doubt he would have been on Faldo's team in 2008 if he had not suffered a personal tragedy. His mother died of cancer and, understandably, his career stalled. Last year he showed he was back on track with his back-to-back victories at the French and Scottish Opens. But then came the accident and his money list hopes were ruined. Here yesterday he relaunched his charge to the top yet again. German golf at last has the successor to Langer.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Sport
footballBrighton vs Arsenal match report
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us