ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Martin Kaymer held on to win the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship by four strokes Sunday despite struggling to a 2-over 74.
The 23-year-old German, who led by six going into the final round, had three straight bogeys early in his round. But he still managed to win his first European Tour title at 15-under 273 overall, beating Henrik Stenson (71) and Lee Westwood (70) by four strokes.
“After I made those three bogeys, I just told myself to remain patient,” Kaymer said. “I knew Westwood and Stenson were closing down on me, but they were doing the chasing. I knew that it was they who needed to make the birdies, not me.”
Richard Finch (68), Ignacio Garrido (69) and Peter Hedblom (70) tied for fourth at 10-under 210.
Kaymer’s win and US$333,330 in prize money will lift him into the top 35 of the World Rankings and earn him a start at the Accenture Match Play Championship.
“I am just happy to win, and I want to win more titles now,” said Kaymer, who had made only two bogeys in his first three rounds. “I am not thinking of a Ryder Cup spot, or a place in the Masters. At the moment, I am just happy that I will be able to play the Match Play in Arizona.”
Westwood moved within two shots of Kaymer with his fourth birdie of the day on the 12th hole, but the Englishman missed a couple of birdie chances and then three-putted for a bogey on the 18th.
“I thought I just played great from tee-to-green, but nothing really happened on the greens,” Westwood said. “I think I gave him a little bit of a head start after being just 2-under for first two days. You want to be a bit closer than that.”
Stenson matched his previous best in Abu Dhabi, and despite finishing second, was delighted with his effort.
“I have been struggling with my driver all week and it was no different today,” the Swede said. “I was mostly teeing off with the fairway woods, and I think that made a difference. If I had a strong driver in the bag, I feel I could have given him a run for his money.”
Adam Scott (70) finished in a tie for 23rd, 10 shots behind the champion, and Padraig Harrington (68) was tied for 11th.