PGA Champion Kaymer takes lead at KLM Open with back-nine charge

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Martin Kaymer, golf's newest major champion sank a 10-foot putt at the 17th and then hit a marvelous recovery from sand on the par-5 last for a 66 and 10-under-par total of 200.
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Published: Saturday, September 11, 2010 | 2:11 p.m.

PGA Championship winner Martin Kaymer birdied the last two holes on Saturday to take a one-shot lead into the final round of the KLM Open on the European Tour.

Golf's newest major champion sank a 10-foot putt at the 17th and then hit a marvelous recovery from sand on the par-5 last for a 66 and 10-under-par total of 200.

The 25-year-old German, trying to make it five wins in a row by members of Colin Montgomerie's European Ryder Cup team, overtook Paraguay's Fabrizio Zanotti and Swede Christian Nilsson.

Kaymer himself began the run of success by taking the PGA Championship last month. That was followed by Peter Hanson at the Czech Open, Edoardo Molinari in the Johnnie Walker Championship and then last Sunday by Miguel Angel Jimenez at the Omega European Masters.

This is Kaymer's first outing since Whistling Straits, and if he wins on Sunday, he will open up a lead of more than $600,000 over Graeme McDowell at the top of the European Tour money list.

While Kaymer is ranked sixth in the world, Zanotti is 279th and Nilsson 255th. Those two have only two top-10 finishes between them in 38 European Tour events this season, but shot 65 and 68 respectively to keep their title hopes alive.

It is a big day coming up for both of them. Zanotti is 111th on the Order of Merit and Nilsson 138th -- and only the leading 115 keep their cards at the end of the year.

The forecast is for heavy rain on Sunday and Kaymer's caddie Craig Connolly told him on the 16th that there was a possibility of the final round being cancelled.

"He said maybe we should be more aggressive (to try to grab the 54-hole lead) and I definitely was on the 17th," said Kaymer. "Then I made one of the best up-and-downs this week. That was a difficult one with the hump in the green.

"The Ryder Cup was the main goal for this year, but once I reached that I made another one -- to win the Order of Merit -- and so every tournament is important,” Kaymer said. "Once you lead the tournament you should win the tournament, so of course I expect myself to win."

Francesco Molinari and Ross Fisher, the other two Ryder Cup players in the field, scored 67 and 68, respectively, to be 4 under and 3 under.