Rory McIlroy hailed Martin Kaymer as an extraterrestrial after he was left powerless to prevent his German rival from romping to an eight-stroke victory in the Abu Dhabi Championship.
The Ulster ace, 21, was Kaymer’s nearest challenger entering the final round but instead of mounting a challenge to the 26-year old from Dusseldorf, McIlroy finished up even further behind as he carded a 69 to a 66 by the reigning US PGA champion who leapfrogs Tiger Woods to become the new world No 2.
Putting Kaymer’s brilliant performance in perspective, McIlroy told his Twitter followers: “Martin was on a different planet all week!”
Both men birdied the second but the contest ended quckly when McIlroy took four to find the third green and did well to make a bogey five as Kaymer birdied to extend his lead to seven strokes.
Another McIlroy bogey at the fifth allowed Kaymer to move eight strokes in front and cruise to his third victory in Abu Dhabi in the last four years.
“Martin’s just incredible, up to world number two and deservedly so,” McIlroy said. “He’s playing some great golf and he was in total control of his golf ball out there today. Didn’t make a bogey and he’s only made one bogey all week. It was very impressive. He’s a class act, he really is.”
Out in 34 thanks to those birdies at the second and third, the German star picked up further shots at the 10th, 13th, 16th and 18th to set a tournament scoring record of 24 under par.
“I am very happy especially the way I played golf today, and actually the last four days as I made only one bogey the entire week,” Kaymer said.
“The most important thing for me today was that I have fun, and if I have fun, then I play good golf. I played with Rory today and we definitely had a lot of fun on the golf course.”
Graeme McDowell finished a distant joint third with Retief Goosen (64), ten strokes adrift of Kaymer on 14-under par, to secure solo fourth place in the world rankings behind Lee Westwood, Kaymer and Woods.
The US Open champion was tied for fourth in the world with Phil Mickelson but the American could only manage a share of 37th place on five under after rounds of 71, 70, 72 and 70.
The Portrush player, who is in the form of his life, shot a five under par 67 and is now an impressive is 37 under par for his first eight rounds of 2011 with his new Srixon irons.
McIlroy was happy to finish second in his first outing of 2011 and likely to return to the world’s top 10 when the ranking are updated on Monday.
Ballyclare’s Gareth Maybin (69), 125th in the world starting the week, will also move up the rankings following his excellent share of fifth place with England’s David Lynn.