Abu Dhabi: Defending champion Martin Kaymer played sensational golf for a final round 66 as he aggregated a fabulous 24-under to blow the field away and win by eight strokes over Rory McIlroy (69) in the first leg of the Desert Swing at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championships.
The 26-year-old German, who jokingly calls the Abu Dhabi Golf Course as his ‘home course’ has now won the event three times in four years in 2008, 2010 and 2011.
In 2009, he was second and he missed the cut in 2007.
The latest win also helped Kaymer displace Tiger Woods as the world number two, making it the first time in 18 years that Europeans are 1-2 in the world rankings.
With Woods overhauled, number one Lee Westwood, who was 64th and 26 shots behind Kaymer this week, needs to watch out.
PGA Champion Kaymer needed only a top-seven finish to depose Woods, but his win by a whopping margin from a field that included the other three current Major champions, besides Westwood, meant he is on a rampage.
The last time a pair of Europeans filled the top two positions in the Official World Golf Ranking was Nick Faldo and Bernhard Langer 18 years ago.
Now Woods for the first since October 2004 will start his season at Torrey Pines in California this week in third spot.
Kaymer had not played a tournament since clinching The Race to Dubai crown in November.
The 26-year-old, five clear of McIlroy with a round to go, closed with a 66 for a tournament-record 24 under par total of 268.
“He’s killing us,” said Retief Goosen after a best-of-the-week 64 brought him into a tie for third with Graeme McDowell ten behind.
Kaymer did not have a single bogey in his final 60 holes - and he has had only two in his last 97 holes.
This was Kaymer’s 100th European Tour event and his ninth success.
McIlroy, albeit five years younger, has had one in 82 starts.
Europe also has three of the top four with US Open Champion McDowell now in fourth place, one ahead of Phil Mickelson.
McIlroy, meanwhile, moves up from 12th to seventh.
Masters Tournament winner Mickelson managed 37th place in what was his first event since mid-November.