Martin Kaymer is the new No. 1 in golf, this time without much debate.
Kaymer calmly rolled in an 8-foot par putt on the 18th hole Saturday for a 1-up victory over Bubba Watson to advance to the final of the Match Play Championship in Marana, Ariz. That was all he needed to move to No. 1 in the next world ranking.
The 26-year-old German becomes the second-youngest player to be No. 1. Tiger Woods was 21 when he reached No. 1 in June 1997. It also ends the 17-week reign of Lee Westwood, who had three wins on his world ranking ledger when he became No. 1.
Kaymer has won seven times in the last two years, including his first major in the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits when he beat Watson in a three-hole playoff.
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And another big win might not be too far away.
With his 1-up victory, Kaymer advanced to the title match today against England’s Luke Donald, who set a Match Play Championship record by needing only 73 holes in five matches to get to the last match.
No one has been more dominant at Dove Mountain than Donald, who has yet to trail in any of his five matches. Donald had to play only 27 holes in his 5-and-4 quarterfinal win over Puyallup’s Ryan Moore and his 6-and-5 demolition of Matt Kuchar in the semifinals.
It’s the second straight year for an all-European final in this World Golf Championship. A year ago, Ian Poulter defeated Paul Casey in the championship match.
After nearly shooting himself out of the Mayakoba Golf Classic a day earlier, Olympia’s Andres Gonzales came back with a 4-under 67 in the third round Saturday for an 8-under total of 205 at the Greg Norman-designed El Camaleon course in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
He’s five shots back of leader Johnson Wagner, who shot a 6-under 65 and has a one-shot lead over second-round leader Chris Stroud.
ARIMURA, WEBB DUEL
Japan’s Chie Arimura shot a 1-under 71 for a one-stroke lead over Australia’s Karrie Webb after the third round of the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore.
Arimura shot a steady round with two birdies and one bogey for an 11-under 205 through three rounds. Webb shot a 2-under 70.