For just the second time in his professional golf career, Martin Kaymer won a PGA Tour event when he sunk his par putt on 18 to win the rain delayed Players Championship at the TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course.
Kaymer, who tied a course record with a 63 in round one on Thursday, never trailed at the completion of any of the four rounds while going wire-to-wire for the win. It was the fist PGA Tour win for the German golfer since he won the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in 2010.
Playing the majority of his professional career on the European Tour, Kaymer became the number one golfer in the world in 2011 but had not had much success since. Saying that he found himself over thinking on the golf course, Kaymer decided to change his routine and the results payed off with a Players Championship trophy and a $1.8 million pay day.
After his 63 on Thursday in which he recorded nine birdies and no bogeys, Kaymer continued to stay steady in his play with rounds of 69, 72, and 71 to finish up the weekend. Going head-to-head with Jordan Speith on Saturday and Sunday, he did not falter, even as several golfers shot up the leader board and closed the gap on Sunday.
Despite a round of 66 by Jim Furyk on Sunday, Kaymer appeared to be in cruise control. After making the turn in 34 and avoiding any blow up holes, Kaymer continued to play solid golf, even adding his third birdie of the day on the par-5 11th. That’s when things got interesting. Bad weather started to make its way into the Ponte Vedra Beach area and as Kaymer was heading to the tee box at the par 4 15th the horn sounded to suspend play. After a 91 minute delay, Kaymer hooked his tee shot on 15 left into some wet pine straw under some trees. Having trouble getting out of the now very wet pine straw, Kaymer ended with a double bogey six on the hole and all of a sudden his three shot lead was shrank to just one over Furyk with three holes to go.
Kaymer didn’t make it easy on those final three hole either. After almost ending up in the water on the famed island green 17th, he left his chip shot short of the hole. In what ended up being the shot of the tournament, Kaymer drained a clutch par putt from 25 feet to keep his one shot lead. He went on to par 18 to secure his one shot victory over the Ponte Vedra resident Furyk.
Speith, who held a share of the lead going into Sunday and played along Kaymer both days on the weekend, entered the day bogey free through his first 54 holes. The 20 year old 2013 Rookie of the Year even held the lead outright after a birdie on the fourth hole. Speith;s bogey-less streak would come to an end the very next hole though as he bogeyed the par-4 5th. That is when the wheels began to fall off for Speith. After not making a bogey for the first 58 holes of the event, Speith ended the tournament recording 5 bogeys in his final 14 holes to finish the tournament at 10-under and in a tie for fourth.
Speith finished one shot ahead of Rory Mcllroy, who for the fourth consecutive week recorded a top-10 finish. Like Furyk, the Palm Beach Gardens resident shot up the leader board and put pressure on the golfers at the top with a Sunday 66.
For Kaymer, the win was all the more special for him because it happened on Mother’s Day. He lost his mother six years ago to skin cancer and got very emotional when talking about what the win meant to him on Mother’s Day.
“To win on Mother’s Day … we show our parents way too little,” Kaymer said. “We always need some occasions to show them, which is what you realize when they’re not there anymore. So to win on those days, it adds a little bit of a nice thing to the whole week. I think about her every day. I don’t need a Mother’s Day.”
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