Germany's Martin Kaymer wins European Tour money title
FINAL LEADERBOARD (GB & Ireland unless stated): -14 R Karlsson (Swe)* I Poulter -13 L Westwood (Eng), A Quiros (Spa) -12 R McIlroy (NI) -11 P Casey (Eng), F Molinari (Ita) Selected others: -9 L Donald (Eng) -6 R Fisher (Eng), M Kaymer (Ger), Pe Lawrie (Ire), G McDowell (NI) -5 S Garcia (Spa) * Karlsson wins after play-off
Kaymer came close to winning the number one spot last season
Martin Kaymer became Europe's youngest number one for 21 years by securing top spot in the money list during his final round at the Dubai World Championship.
The 25-year-old German clinched the crown with a hole to play when title rival Graeme McDowell missed out on a top three finish despite a closing 68.
Robert Karlsson won the event after a dramatic play-off with Ian Poulter.
Poulter was docked a shot on the second extra hole after he dropped his ball on his marker, leaving Karlsson to win it.
The Englishman's marker moved and he was penalised as Karlsson holed a four-foot birdie to secure his victory.
"It's a strange rule because if I had dropped the ball on the middle of the marker and it had not moved there's no penalty," said Poulter, who moved up to eighth in the world rankings.
"But I should not drop my ball on it. It's been my lucky marker since the start of the year and has got my kids' names on.
"There are always positives, but right now I'm not seeing them."
Asked how frustrating it was, the 34-year-old added: "About 20 world ranking points (23 actually), a lovely trophy and about $400,000 - that much frustrating.
"It's a shame it's just ended the way it has and it's not a consolation for me that Robert holed the putt in any case."
Karlsson said: "I didn't really like being up against Ian. He has a really good record and is a feisty player. I was happy he dropped that shot in a way as it made my putt easier."
Overnight leader Poulter and Karlsson had both finished the tournament on 14-under-par after respective rounds of 70 and 67.
Kaymer is the youngest player to take the top spot since Ronan Rafferty in 1989 and ended up joint 13th in Dubai along with McDowell and six other players after a closing 72. Defending champion Lee Westwood shared third place with Alvaro Quiros to remain as world number one.
"It is a very proud moment not only for me but for my family, friends and the people who have helped me," said Kaymer.
"Last year gave me the belief that I could win the Race to Dubai and become one of the best players in the world and that was what I did.
"I certainly didn't expect to win a major this year but I did that. A lot of things have happened in this my fifth year on the tour and I think it will take a few weeks to realise what has happened."
Northern Ireland's McDowell needed to win the tournament to win the Race to Dubai but could also have triumphed if he finished second with Kaymer ending up lower than third.
In the event, McDowell's first two rounds of 72 and 73 left him too much ground to make up on the German, who was eight shots ahead of him at the halfway stage.
Graeme McDowell says his putting struggles in Dubai this week ended his Order of Merit hopes
Although he improved on the final two days, hitting a 69 on the Saturday, he could not deny Kaymer his maiden title.
McDowell has still had a superb year however - winning the US Open and helping Europe regain the Ryder Cup.
"It's just been a great year for European golf and I'm just very proud to be part of that," he said.
"My greatest moment was the putt on the 16th [at Celtic Manor]. There's nothing like the Ryder Cup.
"To give Martin a run for his money this week was very good, but things didn't really go my way - it's a golf course which continues to frustrate me. I played unbelievably well this weekend, but could barely buy a putt."
Finishing top of the money list earns Kaymer a bonus of £932,024 from a £4.6m pool for the leading 15 money-winners.
He had a chance to win the title last year but was out for two months following a go-karting accident and he ended up finishing third behind Westwood and Rory McIlroy.
Kaymer started this season by winning the Abu Dhabi Championship before being crowned US PGA champion after triumphing in a play-off with Bubba Watson.
He took further titles at the KLM Open and Dunhill Links Championship and in-between those events played alongside McDowell in the European Ryder Cup team.
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