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Dublin: -2°C Sunday 11 April 2021
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Kaymer claims HSBC crown, McIlroy climbs to no. 2 in the world

Martin Kaymer has won the HSBC Champions title in China, with fourth good enough to see Rory McIlroy move up to number two in the world.

Martin Kaymer
Martin Kaymer
Image: Eugene Hoshiko/AP/Press Association Images

NINE BIRDIES IN 12 holes saw Martin Kaymer claim the HSBC Champions golf tournament in Shanghai on Sunday, courtesy of a nine-under round of 63.

He ended the day with a final tally of -20, three shots ahead of Swede Fredrik Jacobson (-17) and four ahead of Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell, who finished third on -16. McDowell carded a 67, while Rory McIlroy claimed a share of fourth (-15) with a 69.

Starting the final round five shots behind Jacobson, with a host of stars around him, Kaymer ran off four straight birdies to start the back nine at Sheshan International. The German caught his Swedish opponent with a birdie on the 13th, and then poured it on with key birdies on the final two holes.

Kaymer delivered the lowest closing round by a WGC winner since the series began in 1999, topping the 64 by Hunter Mahan last year at the Bridgestone Invitational.

The former PGA champion hasn’t found golf to be this easy since he shot a 59 his first year as a pro on a mini-tour in Germany, when he was 14 under over his last 16 holes.

“I just played really good golf, and I’m glad that it came together,” Kaymer said afterwards.

“The last few weeks, I played good golf, but it has not happened yet. And this week, it was nice that it happened here, the World Golf Championship event.”

Adam Scott, hounded by questions over caddie Steve Williams’ racial slur against former boss Tiger Woods, got within two shots of the lead early in the round until making two soft bogeys and never recovering. He closed with a 73 and was eight shots behind.

Jacobson led by as many as three shots until a long three-putt bogey on par-five eighth. As Kaymer made his charge, the Swede came to life with birdies on the 12th and 14th to stay tied. Jacobson’s hopes ended, however, when he pulled his tee shot into the rough left of the par-three 17th and failed to get par. He shot 71 and finished three shots behind.

“I wish I could have made maybe a couple of more putts along the way to really get a little bit of a cushion and put a little bit more pressure on Martin coming down the stretch,” Jacobson said. “I gave it my everything, and overall, a great week.”

Graeme McDowell closed with two birdies for his 67, quite a turnaround from last week in the Andalucia Masters when he failed to break 80 over the last two rounds at Valderrama.

Rory McIlroy made a short birdie on the par-five 18th to give him his 69, a score was significant for one other reason. With a three-way tie for fourth, he moved past Lee Westwood to number two in the world. Westwood, playing in the same group, shot 40 on the front nine and closed with a 74 to tie for 13th.

It was the second win of the year for Kaymer, who moves to fourth in the world. He won his first tournament of the year at Abu Dhabi and moved to number one in the world at the end of February, holding the spot for eight weeks. Kaymer said he struggled with the attention of being the best as well as the face of golf in Germany. He added:

“It was an OK year. But now it’s a good year.”

Europe now occupies the first four positions in the world ranking, starting with Luke Donald, who missed the event in China because his wife is expecting the couple’s second child. He remains the favorite as PGA Tour player of the year, however, as PGA champion Keegan Bradley had a 72-72 weekend and failed to his bid for a third victory this year.

READ – Jacobson leads by two at HSBC Champions

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