Kaymer hangs on to win the Players
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Martin Kaymer made three tough pars down the stretch on Sunday to hang on and win the Players Championship by one stroke after a 91-minute weather delay.
Kaymer, whose other PGA Tour win was at the 2010 PGA Championship, finished with a 1-under 71 to end at 13-under-par 275.
"It's always difficult to come back after a little break, but obviously you see the leaderboard, you see where you are, but I played really, really well the first 14 holes," Kaymer stated. "I made a couple wrong decisions (after the weather delay). On 16, I should have chipped it. It was not the right decision, but that was a big putt on 17."
Jim Furyk fired a 6-under 66 to gain second place at minus-12. Furyk was the runner-up for the second straight week, and he collected his fourth top-5 finish in the last 12 years at the Players.
Sergio Garcia, the 2008 champion, closed with a 2-under 70 to grab third place at 11-under-par 277 on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.
Reigning U.S. Open champion Justin Rose carded a 3-under 69 to gain a share of fourth place at minus-10. He ended alongside third-round co-leader Jordan Spieth, who struggled to a 2-over 74 in the final round.
Jimmy Walker, a three-time winner this season, matched the low round of the day with his 7-under 65. Walker was joined in sixth place at minus-9 by David Hearn (70), Lee Westwood (70), Francesco Molinari (70) and Rory McIlroy (66).
Kaymer and Spieth shared the lead entering the round, and they remained tied after they both birdied the par-5 second from inside 10 feet. Spieth grabbed the lead with a 7-foot birdie putt on No. 4.
Spieth played the first 58 holes of the tournament without a bogey. However, that run ended on the fifth with a a bogey. Unfortunately for Spieth, that was the first of five bogeys over the next 11 holes that dropped him well off the pace.
"I had a lie on five that I didn't think I could carry the hazard with, so I had to lay up. I was fine accepting that, and then my putter just went cold," Spieth said. "That's been a thing kind of the middle to end of the round on Sundays. I feel like I'm hitting decent putts and they're not going. All that I can attest that too is maybe not focusing as much on making it and focusing more on where I'm at. So that's something I'll have to sit back and look at. I just didn't have the magic with the short game."
Meanwhile, Kaymer parred six in a row from the third. At the par-5 ninth, Kaymer blasted from a greenside bunker within a foot of the hole. He kicked that in for birdie and he made the turn at 14-under, where he was two clear of Spieth.
Kaymer, who made the clinching putt at the 2012 Ryder Cup, converted a 12-foot birdie effort on the 12th, and he was suddenly four clear of the field. He parred the next three holes, but trouble loomed.
The German 2-putted for par on the 14th after the weather delay due to lightning in the area. Kaymer then made a mess of the 15th.
He pulled his drive into the pine straw left of the fairway. His second landed in the left rough, and then he dumped his third into a bunker. After blasting out, Kaymer 2-putted from 22 feet for double bogey.
Suddenly, Kaymer's lead was down to one shot. His second to the par-5 16th stopped in the chipping area left of the green. He putted to 37 feet and was able to 2-putt from there for par.
At the island green 17th, Kaymer's tee ball barely cleared the greenside bunker, then spun back into the rough inches from going into the water. He hit a poor chip to 29 feet, but drained that putt for par to remain one clear of Furyk.
Kaymer's approach from the fairway at 18 came up short of the green. His birdie putt from off the green rolled by the hole and stopped four feet away. As darkness quickly set in, Kaymer calmly poured that putt in for the win.
"It was a really, really long week especially after that 63 to start. You expected yourself to finish fairly high, so there was a lot of pressure from early on," admitted Kaymer. "It pretty much means you win another major, at least in my books."
Furyk flew out of the gate with four birdies in the first six holes to soar to 10-under par. Around the turn, he birdied the 10th before five pars in a row. Furyk 2-putted for birdie on the par-5 16th to get within three. After the weather delay, he tapped in a 3-footer for par on 18, then waited to see what Kaymer did down the stretch.
"I hit the ball really well today. I didn't always have 10-footers for birdie, but I hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens. I don't remember chipping much, I'm not sure I missed a green to be honest with you. I'm going back in my head, so I hit a lot of greens," said Furyk, who hit 16 greens in regulation, in televised interview during the delay. "With a lot of opportunities, I was able to some putts early."
NOTES: Kaymer earned $1.8 million for the win ... Furyk finished second for the 27th time in his PGA Tour career ... For the second straight week, McIlroy rallied from making the cut on the number to earn a top-10 finish ... McIlroy played the final three holes at 10-under par for the week ... The tour heads to Texas next week for the Byron Nelson Championship, where Sang-Moon Bae won by two strokes over Keegan Bradley last year.
05/11 21:41:22 ET