ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – PGA champion Martin Kaymer closed with a 6-under 66 at St. Andrews to win the Dunhill Links Championship on Sunday, making him the first European Tour player in 21 years with three straight victories.
Kaymer’s streak began with his playoff win at Whistling Straits in the PGA Championship. The 25-year-old German then won the Dutch Open last month while preparing for the Ryder Cup.
Nick Faldo in 1989 was the last European Tour player to win three straight tournaments. On the PGA Tour, Tiger Woods won five successive tournaments at the end of 2007 and beginning of 2008.
Kaymer finished at 17-under 271 for a three-shot victory over Danny Willett.
Lee Westwood, who needed at least a three-way tie for second to replace Woods at No. 1 in the world, shot 73 and tied for 11th. The Englishman does not plan to compete the rest of the month because of lingering pain in his ankle. That means Westwood will go to the top of the world ranking Oct. 31 for the first time in his career.
Kaymer won for the fourth time this year, and his earnings of $808,352 increased his lead atop the European Tour money list.
He started the final round two shots behind John Parry, and Kaymer didn’t break clear of the field until holing a 50-foot birdie putt from just off the green on the 17th, the famous Road Hole at St. Andrews. Kaymer made a 10-foot birdie on the 18th.
“The 50-footer was a bit lucky,” Kaymer said. “Because from that length all I was really trying to do was get the ball close to the hole. But I am really enjoying my golf at the moment. And it’s not just three straight tournament wins, I was also on the winning side at the Ryder Cup so that’s four in a row.”
Parry, who won his first Tour event in Paris two weeks ago, was tied with Kaymer when he sank a birdie putt on the 12th green. But a three-putt bogey at the next hole and a penalty shot at the 14th when he drove into a gorse bush proved costly. Parry eventually shot an even-par 72 to finish in third place.