Kaymer warms up for Open bid with second win in row

German's earnings in last fortnight top £1m mark after victory in Scottish Open
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Martin Kaymer's form happens to be as rude as his bank balance as he goes into this week's Open Championship. For the second Sunday running the young German lifted one of the European Tour's most prestigious trophies and in doing so raised his earnings for the last fortnight to well over the £1m mark.

If anything, yesterday's victory in the Barclays Scottish Open was even more impressive than his last. After beating Lee Westwood in a play-off for the French Open the 24-year-old came from behind to defeat France's Raphaël Jacquelin and the overnight leader Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño of Spain by two strokes.

Last week's cheque was just over £565,000. This week's was £500,000 – and he now is not only second to Paul Casey on the European money list, but also just outside the world's top 10 heading into Turnberry.

Kaymer, who began his run of form in Paris last week with a course record 62, needed "only" a two-under-par 69 after starting the day a shot behind Fernandez-Castaño.

"To win in Scotland, the home of golf is always something very special," he said. "I missed the cut the week after my first two wins, but this week was obviously different.

"Now everybody asks me about a third win in a row, but we are playing in a major and the field is going to be the best we have all year. The money is nice, but it's not the most important thing. If you are out there playing for the money I think you have chosen the wrong job."

Fernandez-Castaño's hopes of a fifth Tour win – this was Kaymer's fourth – nosedived when he did not manage a single birdie until the 14th hole. But running up a bogey six following a wild drive on the hole before that had given him a deficit he could not make up. Jacquelin came through to be joint runner-up with a 66.

Disappointing on the final day were both Lee Westwood and Retief Goosen. Westwood had oozed confidence after middle rounds of 66 and 64, but closed with a level-par 71 for eighth spot alongside his fellow Englishman Ross Fisher.

Whether Fisher plays in the Open remains to be seen. He flew back to London to be with his wife, Jo, who is expecting their first child on Tuesday, and said: "What will be will be. The Open is the most important tournament in a calendar year, but the birth of our first child is something I don't want to miss."

If there are no signs of an imminent delivery on Tuesday he will be at Turnberry, but is ready to pull out at any moment – even if he was six ahead with a round to play, he says. "The ideal would be to two-putt to win next Sunday, make a short winner's speech and then fly home."

Ian Poulter, the runner-up at last year's Open, was down in 32nd place after a disappointing 72, but that was still better than Colin Montgomerie and Rory McIlroy. They finished in a tie for 46th following 73s. Montgomerie, fortunate to make the halfway cut, said: "That was a poor round of golf. Again."

McIlroy was just as despondent and explained how he needs to work on his iron play before Thursday's first round. "I was just struggling a bit," said the 20-year-old. "This week I really wanted to play well to give myself some momentum. Now I'll spend more time practising than I will on the course the next three days because I want to get it sorted out." The Ulsterman called his status as joint second-favourite for the Open as "bonkers" and added: "I wouldn't back myself at those odds."

Meanwhile, Australia's Rod Pampling and the American Steve Marino both received call-ups to the Open yesterday. First Marino replaced Shingo Katayama after the Japanese player withdrew with an upper back injury. Then Pampling, the next highest-ranked player to have entered the Open, took the place that became vacant when no non-exempt player finished in the top five of the Scottish Open.

That makes Thomas Levet, the 2002 runner-up at Muirfield, the first reserve. So the Frenchman has the dubious honour of standing on the Turnberry range, waiting for someone to sprain a wrist in the thick rough.

Comments