Martin Kaymer targets Ryder Cup debut after Abu Dhabi glory

NEW world No 6 Martin Kaymer hopes yesterday's second Abu Dhabi Golf Championship title will be the catalyst to a highly- anticipated Ryder Cup debut at Celtic Manor later this year.

After winning his maiden title in Abu Dhabi in 2008, the German needed every ounce of experience gained from adding three wins since then to edge out Ian Poulter by a single stroke.

Overnight leader Kaymer, who also finished second last year, birdied the final hole at Abu Dhabi Golf Club to card a bogey-free, six-under-par 66 yesterday.

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Poulter produced a valiant effort to play his part in a thrilling duel as the Ryder Cup ace matched Kaymer's final round, but it was not enough to erase the one-shot overnight deficit as he paid the price for a wayward tee shot on the final hole.

The 25-year-old Kaymer said: "My goal for every year is to win two tournaments on the European Tour. I did it in 2008 and 2009 and I hope I can do it this year.

"But my main goal is to play the Ryder Cup this year because when I went there two years ago I really felt that I want to be there one day because it is so cool. Even though I wasn't playing, it gave me so much experience and it helped me so much.

"My goals for the future are to have two wins on the European Tour each year, to play better in the big events, and to try to play the Ryder Cup."

Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie will be looking forward to having Kaymer at his disposal in October along with Poulter and another expected debutant, Rory McIlroy, who finished third.

"I've been in contention a few times already in my career over the last three years," Kaymer added.

"My first win was difficult and my second win in Germany was very difficult. Now it has changed a little bit.

"My self-confidence is bigger than two years ago and I think it has come from playing well all around the world. I played well in the last major and I'm getting better in the World Golf Championships events."

Poulter, 34, traded blows with Kaymer for the entire final round to continue his recent string of top-ten finishes, with the latest pushing him into the world's top ten for the first time.

The Englishman said: "It's a nice start to the season, if you're going to take the positives out of that. I'm pretty frustrated that I've walked away from shooting that score and I haven't won. But it's good.

"I will move on next week in Qatar, have a bit of fun and see if I can go one step closer, and then take two weeks off before the Match Play."

After failing to keep up with the electrifying start to the final round from playing partners Kaymer and Poulter, McIlroy, 20, claimed an eighth top-ten finish in his last nine events with a five-under 67.

"It's a great way to start the season in the last group, and going down the last one behind and getting the juices flowing again," said McIlroy, last year's Race to Dubai runner-up, who has been bumped down one place to 11 in the world rankings.

"It was a nice feeling and hopefully that will set the tone for the rest of the season."

Paul Lawrie (71) and Gary Orr (69) were the leading Scots, finishing in a tie for 27th on nine-under. Marc Warren (73) was 43rd on five-under, with Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie (71) 60th on two-under.

• PGA Tour rookie Alex Prugh fired a flawless seven-under-par 65 to edge a shot clear of fellow Americans Bubba Watson (68) and rookie Martin Flores (65) in the weather-delayed third round of the Bob Hope Classic at La Quinta, California on Saturday.