Rock-steady Kaymer still in the groove
Germany's super-talented Martin Kaymer will be looking to make it three wins in succession when he tees it up in his next event -- the Ryder Cup.
The 25-year-old Kaymer was on autopilot yesterday in winning the KLM Open in Hilversum by four shots with a final-round 66 and a 14-under-par tally to become the fifth member of Colin Montgomerie's team to win in as many events on the European Tour.
And Kaymer follows right behind fellow Ryder Cup star Miguel Angel Jimenez as a three-time winner this year in the Race to Dubai.
The steady German took the Dutch lead on Saturday night with two closing birdies and was never headed in capturing his seventh Tour win and a second in succession after securing last month's US PGA championship.
Since Kaymer won at Whistling Straits, victories have followed for European team members Peter Hanson (Czech Open), Edoardo Molinari (Johnnie Walker Championship), Jimenez (Omega European Masters) and Kaymer in Holland.
"It is true that this is the fifth win for the European team but you have to look at the American team as they have five Major winners in their side," Kaymer said.
"So they have a strong team as well, while our team is very young and we have a lot of rookies and we are determined to get the trophy back to Europe to where it belongs."
The only players among Montgomerie's team not to have won this year are Lee Westwood, Francesco Molinari and Padraig Harrington, but then Harrington can correct that at the Vivendi Cup, the final event before the Ryder Cup.
Molinari signed for a 66 to capture his eighth top-10 finish this year with a share of eighth place at eight-under par.
England's Ross Fisher, the third member of the European team competing in Holland, was a shot further back at seven-under par, while Darren Clarke led home the Irish contingent in carding a closing 68 for a six-under-par tally.
Damien McGrane went close to celebrating his first hole-in-one on the Tour, and the prize of a new BMW, when his four-iron tee shot at the par-three 15th lipped out before stopping three feet from the hole.
Three holes earlier, McGrane holed a 15-foot putt for eagle that made amends for taking a double-bogey at the ninth, when he thinned a chip shot.
McGrane remains inside the top 60 on the money list in 48th position after eventually carding a 69 for a four-under par tally.
"It's been another good week but it's just unfortunate as I played very poorly over the weekend," he said. "I had to work very hard but all in all it's been a pretty decent week and now I'm off to Austria."
Ballyclare's Gareth Maybin dropped one place to one spot behind McGrane to 49th on the money list after also eagling the 12th by hitting a rescue club from 200 yards to 15 feet.
After taking three weeks off before competing over the past fortnight, Maybin is again taking a three-week break ahead of his next event in Scotland.
Belfast's Michael Hoey (75) and Co Down's Simon Thornton (70) both finished at level par.
- RUSS COCHRAN pocketed the biggest prize in Champions Tour history yesterday after Fred Funk missed a three foot putt birdie putt on 18 for outright victory at the Songdo Championship. Cochran, 51, beat Funk to the $450,000 cheque with birdie on the first tie hole. Des Smyth banked $15,300 in a three-way tie for 39th on five-over after closing with a 74 at The Jack Nicklaus Golf Club of Korea.