Kaymer holds his nerve to seal title

Kaymer holds his nerve to seal title

The 25-year-old Kaymer made a two-foot bogey putt on the final hole of the playoff to win his first major championship on Sunday. “It was a very exciting week,” said Kaymer who collected 1.35 million dollars for the victory. “I hope it is one of many majors I win in my career. It’s spectacular.”

Kaymer joins US Open winner Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland and British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa as first-time major winners this year. Six of the past seven major champions have been first-time major winners.

Johnson appeared set to join Watson and Kaymer in the playoff but the American was slapped with a two-stroke penalty immediately after his round for grounding his club in a bunker on the 18th hole. Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and American Zach Johnson shared third, missing the playoff by one shot.

In the playoff, Kaymer and Watson exchanged birdies on the first two holes before Watson got into trouble on the final hole, the par-four 18.

His approach landed in the water and his next shot sailed over the green. Watson chipped onto the green and even hit the flag stick, but it was too little too late as he had to settle for a double-bogey six. That left Kaymer, who played conservatively down the stretch, with two putts to close it out.

He became the first German to win the PGA Championship and the second German behind Bernhard Langer to win a major title. Sunday’s bizarre turn of events added to the hardship this season for Dustin Johnson, who suffered a final-round meltdown at the US Open in June by blowing a three-shot lead.

Johnson finished his fourth round thinking he had shot 11-under 277 for 72 holes and would be going to a playoff with the others.

But an official then notified him on the green that there would be a review of his approach shot on 18 from a bunker outside the ropes. Officials determined that he illegally placed his club face on the ground in a sand bunker before making his shot.
Because the sand bunker was well off the fairway and in the middle of the gallery where people had been walking all day, Johnson thought it was just a normal sand hazard without any special rules.

Whistling Straits labels itself a links-style course on US soil and has nearly 1,000 bunkers, many of them well off the fairways. So officials came up with a set of supplementary rules that were posted in the locker room.

Johnson thought he actually had a chance to win his first major title outright but a five-foot par putt at 18 missed right. After the penalty was tacked on, Johnson ended up with a triple-bogey seven on the par-four 500-yard hole. Johnson finished in a tie for fifth with countryman Jason Dufner and Australian Steve Elkington.

Masters champion Phil Mickelson had the best round of the day, firing a five-under 67. Both Mickelson and Tiger Woods were unlikely early starters at Whistling Straits on Sunday. Mickelson had a chance of passing Woods for the world number one ranking but it was a case of too little too late.

Mickelson eagled the par-five fifth hole and rolled in five birdies but it wasn’t enough to catch Woods for the top spot. Mickelson, who started the day 12 shots back of the lead, needed to finish in solo fourth place and have Woods finish outside the top 46 to become No. 1. He finished tied for 12th.

Scores: 277: Martin Kaymer  (72, 68, 67, 70), Bubba Watson (68, 71, 70, 68). Kaymer won on play-off; 278: Zach Johnson (69, 70, 69, 70), Rory McIlroy (71, 68, 67, 72); 279: Jason Dufner (73, 66, 69, 71), Steve Elkington (71, 70, 67, 71), Dustin Johnson (71, 68, 67, 73).

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