By Matt Smith
DUBAI (Reuters) – Martin Kaymer said he was happy with his form after a final round 68 earned him a top-10 finish at the DP World Tour Championship on Sunday, providing an upbeat ending to what the German described as an average season.
The two-time major winner was joint leader after the first round, but failed to sustain his challenge on Dubai’s Earth course and ended on 12-under, nine strokes adrift of winner Rory McIlroy.
“I played really well. I left a few shots on the greens, especially Friday and Saturday,” Kaymer, 30, told Reuters.
The former world number one faltered in the middle two rounds, carding successive 71s, but then recovered from a bogey on the final round’s second hole with six subsequent birdies and only one more dropped shot.
“I didn’t have the start I wished for. If you make a bogey on a par five it’s never great, especially at the beginning of the round,” said Kaymer.
“But then I played well, got it back to two-under on the front nine and then had a few chances on the back nine but couldn’t make them all.”
Kaymer squandered a 10-stroke final round lead at January’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, one of the biggest shocks on the tour in recent seasons, while five tour top-10 finishes this year represents a poor return for such an accomplished golfer.
“I think I learned more off the golf course, not so much playing-wise but how to prepare better next year,” said Kaymer, who described his 2015 season as “average”.
“It was a good, testing year.”
Kaymer has slumped to 26 in the world rankings from 12th at the end of 2014, but as the top-ranked German should expect to make his country’s team for the Rio Olympics next year.
“Next year is very important with the Olympics and the Ryder Cup and then all the majors, but I need to be ready in January,” added Kaymer, who will also play the Thailand Golf Championship and South Africa’s Nedbank Challenge in December before starting 2016 at Abu Dhabi.
(Reporting by Matt Smith; editing by Toby Davis)