Players Championship: Martin Kaymer wins $1.8m Sawgrass jackpot
Martin Kaymer held his nerve to survive a late wobble and claim a dramatic one-shot victory in the Players Championship at Sawgrass.
The German was three ahead with five to play and looking in total control of the situation when play was suddenly halted due to lightning threats.
When the skies cleared and play was finally resumed, it looked as though the 90-minute break had knocked the wind of Kaymer, who double bogeyed at 15 to have his lead cut to just one from clubhouse leader Jim Furyk.
A par at 16 kept Kaymer’s head above water, but he looked to have made a complete mess of the par 17th when his tee-shot just avoided water and he made another mistake with a chip to leave himself a daunting 29-footer for par.
It looked like Furyk was about to take the lead, but Kaymer produced a wonderful putt to remain in front.
Further drama would unfold at 18 when Kaymer finished 20 feet short of the green with his second, but he got down to secure the $1.8m first prize with a final-round 71 and a winning total of 13-under.
Furyk (66) was second, with Sergio Garcia (70) a stroke further back in third on 11-under. Justin Rose (69) and Jordan Spieth (74) tied for fourth on 10-under.
Rory McIlroy needed to hole a 12-foot putt at the 18 on Friday just to make the cut, but finished strong with three straight birdies to see out the tournament.
The Northern Irishman ended the game with a closing six-under 66 to add to his Saturday 69, which eventually proved good enough for tied sixth alongside English duo Lee Westwood and Brian Davis.
For Kaymer, his win means that he becomes just the fourth European player to win golf’s so-called ‘fifth major’ in 41 years after Sandy Lyle (1987), Garcia (2008) and Henrik Stenson (2009).
The former world number one, who began the week 61st in the world rankings, equalled the course record at Sawgrass with a 63 in the first round.
The Players Championship: Final Leaderboard:
13 M Kaymer (Ger), -12 J Furyk (USA), -11 S Garcia (Spa), -10 J Rose (Eng), -10 J Spieth (USA)