Martin Kaymer recaptures the magic of Medinah to end his long barren run

German Ryder Cup hero beats home favourite Schwartzel to win his first Tour title of 2012

Sun City

Even a first win in more than a year and a beefy $1.25m (£780,000) cheque could not better that Ryder Cup moment for Martin Kaymer. The German held on through the final five holes at the Nedbank Golf Challenge for a two-shot victory at a rainy Sun City yesterday, giving him something else to take from 2012 along with his match-winning putt back in September.

"I will still never do a bigger putt in my life," Kaymer said, remembering Medinah minutes after securing his first Nedbank triumph.

Kaymer finished with an eight-under par 280 ahead of South Africa's Charl Schwartzel in second. Kaymer and Schwartzel both closed with 69s, but Schwartzel's bogey on the 17th after closing to within one shot eventually gave Kaymer enough breathing space.

"It was always tight. Charl played a great round of golf," Kaymer said, adding he only felt comfortable once his par-putt on 18 had dropped to confirm his victory. "I was telling [my caddie] 'I need a win. I need a win in 2012'."

Kaymer was twice in trouble towards the end, first pulling his tee shot deep into the rough on the par-five 14th. He blasted out through the trees and into the middle of the fairway and eventually made a brilliant birdie. He then bogeyed No 15 to allow Schwartzel to move within one, but recovered his composure with pars on the last three to close out a first win since the WGC HSBC Champions in November 2011.

Schwartzel had three birdies, including one at 14, but a bogey five at 17 eventually saw another Nedbank slip away from the home favourite, who was still looking for his first success after four attempts. American Bill Haas was third on three-under, a shot ahead of Kaymer's final-round playing partner, South African Louis Oosthuizen, who was fourth on two-under. Two-time defending champion Lee Westwood's run at Sun City ended with a 73 for a one-under 287 total and fifth place.

The rest of the 12-man field were all over par at a tough Gary Player Country Club layout, where narrow fairways, stubborn rough, gusty winds and – yesterday – steady rain made scoring consistently difficult. No one shot better than 69 all week.

Kaymer eagled the par-five second hole, double-bogeyed the third, then had three birdies before his crucial recovery on the 14th. Deep in trouble, he found his way out of the bushes and put his third to within 10 feet. He made the birdie putt to ensure he had enough of an advantage through the closing holes.

Kaymer's long-awaited win came after restructuring his swing and at the end of a memorable year. He also completed a German double at Sun City after Bernhard Langer won the seniors' event on Saturday.

Westwood's attempt to become the first player to win three straight Nedbank titles ended at the telling 14th hole, where the Englishman took two shots to get out of the rough, then found the bunker and missed a bogey putt to come away with a challenge-ending double-bogey seven. Behind him, Paul Lawrie was sixth on one-over 289 after a 74, Francesco Molinari and Carl Pettersson were tied for seventh on two-over and Peter Hanson was ninth on three-over.

Nicolas Colsaerts, Justin Rose and Garth Mulroy were 10th, 11th, and 12th.

PROMOTED VIDEO
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

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links