DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Graeme McDowell has all but lost the European money title to Martin Kaymer, trailing his Ryder Cup teammate by six shots Saturday at the Dubai World Championship after shooting a 3-under 69 in the third round.
Kaymer, the PGA champion, was at 8 under after 15 holes of his round – three behind leader Ian Poulter of England, who had four holes to play.
Kaymer will claim the money title and a $1.5 million bonus by finishing higher than McDowell, who could overtake the German in the Order of Merit by winning the tournament or ending up alone in second as long as Kaymer finishes no higher than a tie for third. If McDowell is tied for second, Kaymer could afford to finish as low as sixth.
“Barring the impossible, I think Europe’s No. 1 is probably not a reality for me anymore,” McDowell said. “Unless I shoot 55 tomorrow, which unless one of you boys comes and putts for me tomorrow, I don’t think will happen.
“You know he (Kaymer) is going to win the Race to Dubai tomorrow and he’s the best. He’s been one of the best players in the world this year and certainly deserves everything he has achieved.”
After failing to break par the first two days, McDowell made three birdies on the back nine to reach 2 under for the tournament.
Kaymer effectively ended the two-man battle for the Order of Merit on Thursday, surging to a five-shot lead over McDowell after shooting a 67. The lead ballooned to eight shots Friday, when Kaymer hit a 70 for a share of fourth place – alongside Paul Casey and Thongchai Jaidee.
McDowell said Saturday’s round was another in which he couldn’t get his momentum going and any good shots were undermined by putting woes that have plagued him all week.
“The big issue this week is really that I can’t hole putts and, without the putter working, it’s very difficult to get on top of the golf course,” he said. “Like I said yesterday, I feel like every time I miss a green I feel like I’m making bogeys because I’m not holing the 6- and 8-footers.”
McDowell’s fellow Northern Irelander, Rory McIlroy, shot a 66 to climb back into contention at 7 under. He made seven birdies, including three in a row after the turn.
“My iron play improved. I gave myself a lot of chances,” McIlory said. “I was hitting a lot of greens but just not getting it close enough, and today, I birdied a few of the par 3s and played really well. So just kept giving myself chances and held a few putts as well, which is nice.”