LUSS, Scotland(AP) Martin Kaymer won for the second week in a row, closing with a 2-under 69 in the rain and sunshine at Loch Lomond for a two-shot victory in the Scottish Open.
Kaymer moves up to No. 11 in the world ranking, and his confidence is even higher heading to the British Open.
The 24-year-old German became the first player since Ian Woosnam in 1990 to win the two European Tour events before the British Open, which starts Thursday at Turnberry.
“Everyone asks me about the third win in a row,” Kaymer said with a smile, aware of the expectations. “We are playing a major next week. And the field is going to be the best we have all year long.
“After last week and this week, I feel really good,” he said. “My game is solid, so hopefully, I can keep it up.”
A week after winning the French Open in a playoff, Kaymer broke free from a three-way tie on the front nine, then kept his mistakes to a minimum as everyone else around him crumbled.
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, who held a one-shot lead going into the final round, didn’t make a birdie until the 14th hole, and by then he already was three shots behind and running out of holes. He closed with a 72 and tied for second with Raphael Jacquelin, who birdied two of his last three holes for a 66.
Retief Goosen came within 6 inches of an ace on the par-3 fifth hole to join a three-way tie for the lead, and he remained tied on the sixth when he curled in a 15-foot birdie putt after Kaymer holed his birdie from 20 feet.
It all fell apart from there for the two-time U.S. Open champion. Goosen played his next five holes in 6-over-par, including a four-putt double bogey at No. 10. He birdied three of the last six holes to salvage a 73.
Kaymer, the youngest winner in Scottish Open history, seized control with a birdie on the par-3 eighth, then relied on a superb short game to make sure no one could catch him.
He holed a 15-foot par save on the ninth after driving into the bunker, made another par save from 10 feet on No. 10, then looked as though he might wobble when he came up well short of the 11th green and made bogey. From a fairway bunker at No. 12, his approach caught the ridge and tumbled down a steep bank into a hollow.
Kaymer’s pitch just climbed up the hill and settled 4 feet away for par.
“From down there to make par, it’s really, really good,” Kaymer said. “I should get a bottle of whiskey for that.”
Two birdies followed, including one at the 15th that wrapped up his victory.
Kaymer finished at 15-under 269 for his fourth career victory in just 70 starts. He earned 500,000, moving to No. 2 in the Race to Dubai standings behind Paul Casey.
Rod Pampling earned an extra week in Scotland when he shot 73 and still got into the British Open. The leading player among the top five from the Scottish Open was awarded a spot at Turnberry, but the top five already were eligible. Pampling learned Sunday morning he was the first alternate when Shingo Katayama withdrew.
Three other players ranked ahead of him – Pat Perez (who is recovering from an ankle injury), Kevin Na and Aaron Baddeley – failed to enter the British Open and were not eligible.
“I didn’t even know I was an alternate,” Pampling said. “I guess some guys didn’t know the rules and didn’t enter. That’s good for me.”
Adam Scott recorded his first top 10 since he was a runner-up in Honolulu the second week of the year, closing with a 66 to tie for fourth with Soren Kjeldsen (70).
“The game is in good shape,” Scott said. “Now it’s a matter of belief.”
Nick Watney, a rising American star who won at Torrey Pines this year, made his first trip to Scotland and closed with a 67 to tie for sixth with Goosen.
Lee Westwood finished another shot behind, although he had realistic thoughts of winning. He was two shots behind until pulling his tee shot into trouble on the par-5 13th and making bogey. That’s the same hole that ended the hopes of Fernandez-Castano, who sliced his drive into the woods and had to take an unplayable lie.