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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back