Martin Kaymer sinks a 28-foot birdie putt on the par-5 11th hole in his quarterfinal win over Miguel Angel Jimenez.
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MARANA, Ariz. -- Martin Kaymer is now one match win away from claiming the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking.
By beating Miguel Angel Jimenez 1 up in Saturday morning's quarterfinals, Kaymer has now advanced to the Accenture Match Play semifinals for the first time in four starts in this event. He will play the winner of the J.B. Holmes-Bubba Watson match.
Should the German win his semifinal match, he not only will move into Sunday's final, he'll also assure himself of overtaking Lee Westwood at the top. Kaymer is currently No. 2 but only needs to reach the finals (not win it) to become No. 1.
The German put on a shot-making and putting clinic early, then had to withstand a furious rally by his Ryder Cup teammate from Spain down the stretch.
“The way I played golf, at least for the first 14 or 15 holes, was very good,” Kaymer said.
Kaymer hit 11 of his first 12 greens in regulation and also rolled in three putts outside 25 feet. The last of those came at the par-5 11th when Kaymer produced a birdie despite having to take a penalty stroke after his tee shot found the desert.
Kaymer ended up winning the hole, even though Jimenez had the huge advantage after their tee shots. “Absolutely crazy,” Kaymer said of the turn of events. “He made a mistake with the chip that he didn't give himself a chance for birdie and I holed a 25‑footer for birdie, so this was just very fortunate.”
After 14 holes, Kaymer was a bogey-free 5 under and led Jimenez 4 up.
But suddenly, Kaymer started hitting loose shots and the Spaniard clawed back into the match.
At the drivable par-4 15th, Kaymer found a greenside bunker with his tee shot and couldn't get on the green with his second shot. Meanwhile, Jimenez rolled in a birdie putt from outside 13 feet -- his only birdie on the back side -- to win the hole.
Kaymer then bogeyed the par-3 16th when he failed to get up and down from the primary rough after a poor tee shot. He bogeyed the 17th after another poor tee shot, followed by an approach that came up short of the green.
With Jimenez winning three straight holes, the match surprisingly went to the 18th hole, but Jimenez failed to find the green in regulation, giving him no chance at a birdie to extend the match.
“You kind of think it’s over, then all of the sudden, you make a couple of mistakes,” Kaymer said. “It was a little shaky in the end.” – Mike McAllister