Kaymer to face Donald in Match Play final
Germany’s ice-cool Martin Kaymer reached the final of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship on Saturday to ensure he will take over as world number one when the new rankings are issued on Monday.
Kaymer beat American Bubba Watson one up in a closely contested semi-final at Dove Mountain’s Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and will face Britain’s Luke Donald in Sunday’s title match.
In-form Donald crushed American Matt Kuchar 6&5 on a blustery afternoon in the Arizona desert to give himself a chance of climbing to a career-high third in next week’s rankings.
Kaymer, the second seed for the elite World Golf Championships (WGC) event, had his hands full against the big-hitting Watson in a fluctuating contest.
“It was always up and down,” the 26-year-old German told reporters. “He was one up, I was one up. I don’t think we played very good golf scoring-wise, but we kept ourselves alive.
“It was a long day, for sure. It was mentally very difficult as well. But the good thing is there’s only one more round to go.”
Kaymer, who survived a shaky finish in the morning to beat Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez one up in the quarter-finals, went one up on Watson at the first, trailed by one after eight holes and then built a two-up lead with two to play.
Watson kept the match alive by sinking a six-foot birdie putt at the par-four 17th to trim Kaymer’s advantage to dormie one.
Watson was then bunkered off the tee at the par-four 18th and ended up just short of the green with his approach after his ball spun back off the front edge.
Kaymer, straight down the middle with his drive, struck his second shot over the back of the green after being between clubs before chipping back seven feet past the cup.
Watson hit his third shot to within five feet of the hole before the German coolly rolled in his putt to seal victory.
“The last four or five holes were very up and down,” said Kaymer, who will replace Britain’s Lee Westwood at number one.
“It’s very special to be the second German,” he added, referring to his compatriot and former world number one Bernhard Langer.
English world number nine Donald charged seven up after 10 holes and held off a brief Kuchar fightback before sealing victory at the 13th with his sixth birdie of the match.
“I’ve been playing good this week,” Donald said. “I’ve been stringing together a lot of good rounds, making birdies, and not too many mistakes. It’s nice on a long day like this to get done early.”
Earlier, the Englishman had reached the last four for the first time by beating American Ryan Moore 5&4. In 27 holes on Saturday, Donald piled up 13 birdies.
“I’ve been tough to beat this week and hopefully that can continue tomorrow,” said the rock-steady Donald who has not trailed in any of his five matches this week.
“Martin’s obviously had a phenomenal couple of years. He’s a steady player. He’s consistent. It’s like me, but hits it further.
“I know Martin pretty well. I’ve played with him a few times and he’s a Ryder Cup team mate of mine. It will be a big day for me tomorrow for sure, but I’m looking forward to it.”