By PGATOUR.COM staff
Starting the weekend a dozen shots off the pace and tied for 38th isn't an ideal position but Martin Kaymer made the most of it Saturday at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions.
Kaymer, who won this event in 2011 -- the last time it was contested at Sheshan International -- racked up a staggering 10 birdies Saturday to post a course record 10-under. After rounds of 70 and 74 to open the event, Kaymer finds himself well inside the top 10 on the leaderboard.
Whether that puts the 2010 PGA Champion within striking distance of picking up his second official PGA TOUR victory will depend on the Saturday finishes of Dustin Johnson and Ian Poulter -- the two names above Kaymer's on the leaderboard when he completed his round.
Kaymer was one of six players to have a share of the previous course record, shooting a 9-under 63 at Sheshan in the final round of his 2011 HSBC Champions victory.
The German started his round on the tenth tee and had two runs of three birdies separated by a par on No. 13 before making the turn in 6-under 30. He picked up his seventh birdie on No. 2 and added three more on holes 4-6 before finishing his round with back-to-back-to-back pars.
Through the first 36 holes, Kaymer had a dozen birdies, eight bogeys and two doubles but he eliminated those big numbers and upped the birdie count Saturday to turn his week around.
Nothing builds confidence and pads totals like back-to-back no-cut tournaments with half-size fields and inflated purses. That goes for one-and-doners, too. Of course, if you don't capitalize, then you're in the unenviable position of already playing catch-up. So, while you can remain aggressive in one- and two-man formats due to the guaranteed dividend, and while nearly everyone on the board is available just three events down, patience and strategy still matter.
This is the first time that the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions rewards FedExCup points and official PGA TOUR earnings. While many members of the circuit have competed in it in the past, it's primarily served as an oasis late in the season for European and Asian Tour members. To emphasize that fact, while there have been 21 top 10s by golfers in this week's field during Sheshan International's three years as host of the tournament as a WGC (2009-2011), only two were by Americans, and both were in 2009 (Ryan Moore, third; Nick Watney, fifth.) That's enough evidence for me to lean on an international.
Francesco Molinari sits No. 2 in my Power Rankings and went wire-to-wire at Sheshan in 2010, but I'm going to burn the 2011 champ, Martin Kaymer (No. 5 in the Power Rankings). The German shares the tournament course record of 20-under 268 and he's made some noise of late on the European Tour. On paper, he's 35th in greens in regulation and 22nd in scoring average.
With three top fives in all three editions at Sheshan, Rory McIlroy piqued my interest, but he's too valuable an asset with which to roll the dice this early in the season. Whether you're front-running or chasing, he'll figure to carry more value later.
Ironically, if you want to lean on a guy playing well with everything to gain, turn to an American -- Peter Uihlein. Last week, he picked up where he left off in Japan three weeks prior, bookending a fortnight of rest with a T7 and T5, respectively. And those came in the wake of two runner-up finishes in his previous three starts. Uihlein is a non-member on the PGA TOUR, and I have my sights on him in a more usable fashion for 2014-15, but he's a wonderfully fun and potentially dynamic option this week.
CIMB Classic: Sergio Garcia; T11; $161,000.00; 65.000 FedExCup points
Overall Record: 3-for-3
FedExCup points: 219.750
Top 5s: 1
Top 10s: 1
Top 25s: 2
Missed Cuts: 0
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
NORTON, Mass. -- Martin Kaymer has won a major, been No. 1 in the world and played in Ryder Cups.
But he has never been in the position he is in going into this week's Deutsche Bank Championship.
"In the past I was qualified for everything, I never needed to worry about it," Kaymer said. "As long as you're in the top 50 in the world there's no problem. But the FedExCup is a little bit different."
Kaymer, in the Playoffs for the first time after joining the PGA TOUR this year, arrived at TPC Boston on Wednesday on the outside looking in. He's 90th in the FedExCup standings and only the top 70 will advance to the BMW Championship in two weeks.
Last week, Kaymer survived the first round of the Playoffs by making the cut at The Barlcays and finishing in a tie for 50th.
He'll need a lot better than that this week.
"My brother is very good at math and he said, 'You have to finish top 24,'" Kaymer said. "So that's my goal. I trust him on his counting, his math skills."
Kaymer is also able to trust his golf swing again, something he wasn't always able to do after winning the 2010 PGA Championship and ascending to No. 1 in the world.
The pressure became too much and Kaymer cracked, trying to change his ball flight to better fit Augusta National.
He has since ditched that idea and is focused instead on simply playing golf and adjusting to his first full year in America.
"I lost a little bit of focus," Kaymer said of his struggles after reaching No. 1. "It was not that much fun anymore. It was enjoyable, but I always felt rushed. Coming to the golf tournaments, everybody wants something from you. So it took some time to adjust.
"It's not that important always what other people think. It's more important what you believe in. I learned not to let it get to me."
He's also learning how to juggle playing here full-time while still maintaining his European Tour status.
Between the two tours, it has added up to a lot of golf for Kaymer. Not that he's concerned.
"The good thing is you don't need to spend that much time on the range any more," he joked. "If you keep playing you don't need to practice as much."
Now the only question is how much longer he'll be able to play here.
Kaymer is in contention at Oak Hill after a pair of 68s the first two days. (Carr/Getty Images)
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Three years ago, Martin Kaymer won his first career major championship and six months later ascended to No. 1 in the world, something that surprised even him.
"I was not playing like the best player on the planet," Kaymer said this week at Oak Hill. "I didn't feel like the best player. And therefore, I needed to change a few things."
Suddenly, Kaymer found himself on a slippery slope.
The German lost his No. 1 ranking just eight weeks later, missed the cut in three of his next seven majors, continued to watch his ranking slide as he tinkered with his swing and hasn't finished in the top 10 of a major since his playoff victory at Whistling Straits.
"I dropped down in the world rankings, but I didn't care about that," Kaymer admitted. "It was about the feeling that you have. If other people see you as being No. 1, but you don't see yourself as No. 1, how can you play like No. 1? That's not possible."
The feeling was gone and it took Kaymer until earlier this year to find it again. He stopped putting so much emphasis on trying to hit the ball right-to-left to fit Augusta National and was happy to be out of the spotlight.
"All of a sudden the expectations from yourself comes from the people, from the media, from the friends and the fans," he said. It's little bit of a strange situation that you need to get used to.
"You just want to play golf; that is all you want to do."
Through the first two rounds at Oak Hill, Kaymer has done it well, reaching 4 under with a pa of 68s to get within five strokes of the lead (he tees off at 2:15 p.m. ET Saturday).
It hasn't been just this week, either. Kaymer has three top 10s on the PGA TOUR and three more on the European Tour. Among them was a tie for ninth at last week's World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.
"My short game has become a lot better, so I'm not surprised," Kaymer said. "I'm just happy where I am and I want to become better."
To his point, he was 8-for-8 in scrambling here on Friday.
The rest of his game has improved, too.
"I'm able to hit every shot I want," Kaymer said. "I was not able to do that when I came on TOUR in 2010, 2011. Now I don't have any trouble with drawing the ball, fading the ball. That's nice."
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- For the first time this week on PGATOUR.COM, fans will be able to follow live streaming video of two groups at THE PLAYERS Championship for an entire round each day.
The morning group to watch on Sunday features a couple of major champions in Martin Kaymer and Charl Schwartzel. Both were under par through the first two rounds here but struggled in the third round, shooting 75 and 76, respectively.They teed off at 9:16 a.m. ET.
The afternoon group to follow features Lee Westwood and Marc Leishman. Westwood got off to a shaky start in the third round with two double bogeys in his first four holes, but he rallied with three birdies on the back nine to get within four of the lead entering the final round. Leishman, meanwhile, made three bogeys on the back nine, including one on the 18th. He's trying to become the first Aussie to win here since Adam Scott in 2004. They'll tee off at 1:48 p.m. ET.
MARANA, Ariz -- This was a battle of two players who have a wealth of match play experience -- and each were trying to go to the Accenture Match Play finals for the second time. Kaymer was second to Luke Donald in 2011, and Mahan won in 2012.
This match was over almost before it started, though.
Kaymer went 2 down after just four holes after he failed to birdie either of the opening par-5s at Dove Mountain. Mahan birdied them both, then birdied three consecutive par 4s starting at No. 6 to take a 5-up lead. The match was over when both played parred the 14th.
Mahan has now won nine consecutive matches at Dove Mountain, dating back to 2011. Kaymer was the last player to beat the American, ousting Mahan 2 and 1 in the third round in 2011.
The last time Mahan trailed in a match was the sixth hole in the first round a year ago, a span of 133 holes.
"Well, it's strange, I've always gotten off to good starts and get some leads and been hitting it well," Mahan said. "If you hit fairways and greens, you know you're going to put pressure on your guy. It's definitely nice to get a lead and that's the goal for everybody, but to do it, it's a good feeling for sure."
SCORECARD STATS: Mahan made six birdies and seven pars in 14 holes. Kaymer had 1 birdie, 1 eagle and 12 pars.
HOLES WON: Mahan won six holes. Kaymer won one hole.
NEXT UP: Mahan plays Webb Simpson, who beat Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano 2 up.
MARANA, Ariz. -- Martin Kaymer, who made the clinching putt in the Ryder Cup, never trailed in his match with Rafael Cabrera Bello, who had beaten him in the Volvo World Matchplay.
"It was a tough match," Kaymer said. "It's never easy against him. But he was very unfortunate with some putts today. He had a few chances to go back to all square, especially on the back nine, but I played very solidly. Hit a lot of fairways, hit a lot of greens, hit good putts. Very similar to yesterday."
He took the early lead with a two-putt birdie at the par-5 second hole but gave that back with a bogey at the fourth. The German managed to head to the back nine 2 up, though, after a birdie at the seventh and a par to the Spaniard's bogey at No. 9.
Kaymer made an 8-footer for his final birdie of the day at the 11th hole to go 3 up. Cabrera Bello did cut into Kaymer's lead at the next par 5 but the two halved the next four holes with pars to send the German to the third round for the third straight year.
Kaymer reached the championship match in 2010, losing to Luke Donald 3 and 2, and was eliminated in the third round a year ago. He has a home in Scottsdale, which is about 90 minutes away, and is very familiar with desert golf.
"So this is golf that I play very often," said Kaymer, who joined the PGA TOUR for the first time this year. "I don't mind playing here. I like it, it's just really nice. That's why I always play very well in the Middle East, very similar conditions to here."
SCORECARD STATS: Kaymer made three birdies and two bogeys. Cabrera Bello made two birdies and two bogeys.
HOLES WON: Kaymer won four holes. Cabrera Bello won two holes.
NEXT OPPONENT: Hunter Mahan, the defending champion, who beat Richard Sterne 4 and 3.
MARANA, Ariz. -- Martin Kaymer, a No. 7 seed, said he was nervous during his first-round match against 10th-seeded George Coetzee. But the German overcame his nerves to beat the South African, 2 and 1.
Kaymer, who reached the finals here two years ago, will now play Rafael Cabrera-Bello in the second round of the Player bracket.
Kaymer lost the fourth hole with a bogey and 1 down down through six. But he squared the match at the seventh hole when he stuck his approach shot to within 5 feet. He grabbed the lead with a birdie at the par-5 11th and extended it when he eagled the par-5 13th, rolling in a putt from inside nine feet after a spectacular second shot from 257 yards.
He lost the next hole with a bogey but won the decisive 17th after another great approach shot to inside two feet.
Asked why he felt nervous, Kaymer replied, "It was very strange. I never had that before, so I don't think it will stay like this. But I haven't played tournaments for two weeks and then I practiced a lot and my expectations were very high."
To preview the 2013 PGA TOUR season, PGATOUR.COM is counting down the Top 100 Players to Watch in 2013. For an archive page with the top 100 players and for an explanation on how the list was compiled, click here .
2013 PREVIEW: Martin Kaymer will be an official PGA TOUR member for the first time in his career, but the 2010 PGA champ, who has a home in Scottsdale, Ariz., figures to fit in seamlessly. He's tinkered with his swing over the last 18 months after spending eight weeks as world No. 1 but the real payoff will be when he starts contending in the big events again.
2012 DEFINING MOMENT: Kaymer ended the 2012 season on a positive note when he beat 11 others at the unofficial Nedbank Challenge. But his crowning achievement came in Europe's improbable come-from-behind victory at the Ryder Cup. After sitting out both sessions on Saturday, Kaymer reached out to fellow German Bernhard Langer for inspiration and then holed the 6-footer to win his Singles match with Steve Stricker that clinched Europe's record-tying comeback. –- Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: I would expect a huge bump in confidence out of Martin following his Ryder Cup performance. He clinched the winning point for Europe after having a substandard season. The German will draw on that experience for a long time to come. Martin struggled the past couple years after attempting an ill-advised swing change in which he tried to hit a draw in an attempt to win the Masters. In 2010, Kaymer was 173rd on TOUR in strokes gained-putting. In 2012 he ranked 12th in SGP. That's an impressive leap in performance. -- Fred Albers, SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio
BOLTON’S FANTASY OUTLOOK: It's ironic that the guy that was at the center of rumors that he'd forego his automatic berth into the Ryder Cup wound up converting the putt to clinch the victory for the Europeans. If you owned him in a keeper league, then congratulations on your timing. Not only has the German seemed to have ridden the wave of the euphoria at Medinah, but he's giving the PGA TOUR a go for the first time in 2013. That means that you can expect a career high in starts. He's also an automatic purchase in salary games at $576K. -- Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy expert
2012 QUICK REVIEW
Regular Season ranking
Final Playoffs ranking
|Best finish||T-9th||WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship|
|By the Numbers
Cuts made: 6
Rounds played: 24
Top-10 finishes: 1
Money List rank: N/A
Driving distance: 99th
Driving accuracy: 60th
Greens in regulation: 192nd
Strokes gained-putting: 12th
Scoring average: 75th
* -- Did not play minimum number of rounds to officially qualify
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN
What is your prediction for Martin Kaymer in 2013? Fill out the form below and let us know
By PGATOUR.COM staff
Five top international players will be joining the PGA TOUR for the 2013 season after playing as non-members in prior seasons.
Japan's Ryo Ishikawa, Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts, Sweden's Peter Hanson and England's David Lynn have committed to the TOUR next year after qualifying through the top 125 non-member money list.
In addition, Germany’s Martin Kaymer is joining the TOUR through his five-year exemption as the 2010 PGA Championship winner.
Colsaerts, Hanson, Kaymer and Lynn will be considered PGA TOUR rookies in 2013. Ishikawa’s 2012 season is considered his rookie season as he played in more than 10 events after joining the TOUR as a Special Temporary Member on March 19.
Here’s a quick look at each player:
|Has made 11 starts on the PGA TOUR, nine in 2012. Has two top-10 finishes. Leads European Tour in driving distance|
|Has made 45 starts on the PGA TOUR, 11 in 2012. Has seven top-10 finishes. Tied for third at this year’s Masters|
|Has made 44 starts on the PGA TOUR, 18 in 2012. Best finish on TOUR was second this year at Puerto Rico Open|
|Has made 47 starts on the PGA TOUR, eight in 2012. Has two wins – 2010 PGA, 2011 WGC-HSBC Champions|
|Has made two starts on the PGA TOUR. Finished second at the PGA Championship|