Players Championship: Martin Kaymer holds his nerve to land $1.8m Sawgrass jackpot
Martin Kaymer survived a late wobble to claim a dramatic one-shot victory in the Players Championship at Sawgrass.
Last Updated: 12/05/14 10:29am
Three in front with five to play, the German looked to be in total control before play was halted for a lightning threat.
But when play resumed it appeared the 90-minute break had knocked Kaymer out of his stride and a double bogey at 15 cut his lead to just one from clubhouse leader Jim Furyk.
A par at 16 kept Kaymer in front but he looked to have made a complete mess of the par three 17th when his tee-shot just avoided water and he fluffed his chip to leave himself a 29 footer for par.
But just when it seemed he would fall back into a tie with Furyk on 12-under, the 2012 Ryder Cup hero drained his par putt to stay in front.
There was further drama at 18 when Kaymer finished 20 feet short of the green with his second but he got down in two 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.
Kaymer and Spieth had started Sunday with a three-shot lead over the field and it was the 20-year-old American who edged in front with a seven-foot birdie putt at the fourth.
But after an amazing run of 58 holes without a bogey, Spieth finally made his first mistake of the tournament with a five at the par four fifth after finding rough from the tee.
Spieth missed a nine footer for birdie at the next but then suffered a second bogey in four holes when dropping a shot at eight.
He could only make par at the long ninth and Kaymer's birdie there meant the German headed into the back nine with a two-shot lead.
That became three when Spieth made it three bogeys in six holes with another error at the 10th and Kaymer kicked four clear of his young rival with a birdie at the par five 11th after getting up and down from sand.
Kaymer's nearest rival was now local resident Furyk, who burst out of the traps with four birdies in his opening six holes and then added further gains at 10 and 16 to reach 12-under.
Furyk made par at 17 and had the chance to exert some further pressure on Kaymer with a birdie at 18 but just missed his birdie try from 14 feet.
Hooter halted play
As the veteran American dallied over his return putt from three feet, the hooter went, the single blast meaning the players had to leave the course immediately rather then having the option of playing out the hole.
Furyk holed out for par when play resumed and then watched on TV as Kaymer almost gifted him the chance to contest what would have been the tournament's first three-hole play-off.
Rose had found out before start of play that his two-shot penalty from Saturday had been rescinded.
The US Open champion cashed in on his reprieve by going to the turn in three-under 33 but a hat-trick of bogeys from the 10th derailed his challenge.
He rallied late on though and birdied 17 and 18 (from 45 feet) to secure his best Sawgrass finish.
Rory McIlroy, who had to hole a 12 foot putt at 18 on Friday just to make the cut, finished off a strong weekend with three straight birdies.
That gave him a closing six-under 66 to add to his Saturday 69 and that eventually proved good enough for tied sixth alongside English duo Lee Westwood and Brian Davis.
Kaymer 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 started the week 61st in the world rankings, equalled the course record at Sawgrass with a 63 in the first round.