Golf’s Martin Kaymer ahead of McDowell in Dubai

Friday, 26 November 2010 02:24 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

DUBAI (Reuters) - A “lucky” eagle two helped Martin Kaymer open a five-shot lead in his head-to-head duel with money-list rival Graeme McDowell after the Dubai World Championship first round on Thursday.

World number one Lee Westwood in action on the first day of the Dubai World Championship. Emirates is the Official Airline of the Dubai World Championship presented by DP World, the $7.5 million tournament on the Earth course which is the finale event of the Race to Dubai.

The 25-year-old German, who led second-placed McDowell by 290,000 euros ($386,100) going into the final European Tour event of the season, dominated his playing partner from the moment he holed a seven-iron approach shot from the third fairway.

“You don’t hole a shot from 192 yards every day so I’m very happy,” U.S. PGA champion Kaymer told reporters after a five-under 67 pushed him within two strokes of tournament leader Robert Karlsson of Sweden.

“When it was in the air it was a little high, a little short but it pitched five-feet short and went in. Those sorts of things get the round going.”

Kaymer said it was the first time he had holed out from the fairway since his days on the second-tier Challenge Tour.

“It was a long time ago ... but this is the right week to get lucky,” he added.

McDowell briefly ignored the significance of the shot when he exchanged an enthusiastic high-five with Kaymer as the ball disappeared into the cup.

“When a guy holes a shot like that it’s great to see,” said the 31-year-old Briton after his 72. “It was a wonderful golf shot.

“It was a tough day for me because Martin got out of the traps early, birdying the second and holing his second shot at the third -- it kind of left me in the dust out there.”

Kaymer, who had four birdies in total and just one bogey, refused to take anything for granted in the race to become Europe’s number one.

“Graeme is one of the best players in the world and he can easily shoot five or six-under-par every day so it’s not over,” said the German.

Even though the two players were Ryder Cup team mates in Europe’s victory over the United States in Wales last month, there was little dialogue between the pair on Thursday.

“I think we talked maybe two or three sentences and that was it,” said Kaymer. “I just wanted to focus on my game and he wanted to do the same.

“We get along well, don’t get me wrong, but it’s an important week for both of us.”

McDowell said on Wednesday he wanted to look directly into Kaymer’s eyes on the first tee but that sort of mind game is clearly wasted on the German.

“He is emotionless,” said the U.S. Open champion after three-putting the ninth, 11th and 12th for bogeys. “He would be a hell of a poker player.

“He’s a cool customer and there were no signs of nerves or any emotions out there. I was impressed with the way he played, he played beautifully.”

McDowell said he was looking forward to getting away from Kaymer in Friday’s second round.

“It frustrated me a little playing with him today because he was playing so well,” said the man who gained the winning point in the Ryder Cup. “He made me feel like I was shooting 80.

“There was a match-play element today. There shouldn’t have been but it was impossible to avoid that so it will be great to get away from him tomorrow so I can start focusing on my job ... and get away from the distraction.”