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Aug 16, 2010

Martin Kaymer has won his maiden major title in a dramatic three-hole playoff against Bubba Watson at the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

Kaymer follows Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell and South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen as the third player this year to win their first major.

Controversy immediately preceded the playoff, with Dustin Johnson penalised two strokes for grounding his club in a sand trap on the 18th, relegating him to tied for fifth and turning a three-way playoff into a dual.

Kaymer and Watson were tied at one-under on the third playoff hole when Watson found water with his second. Kaymer took full advantage, laying up from the rough before hitting his approach two metres from the pin, giving him two putts for victory.

"I was nervous in the regular round, but it the playoff it was strange - I felt very calm, very confident," said Kaymer.

"It's just amazing. I don't realise what has just happened - I just won my first major and I am just on Tour for four years. I have goosebumps."

The unfortunate Johnson held a one-stroke lead over Watson and Kaymer as he teed off on the final hole, but could only manage a bogey that appeared to set up a three-way decider.

Officials ruled against Johnson as he completed his round, with initial confusion surrounding the official definition of a sand trap on the course.

"It never crossed my mind I was in a sand trap," Johnson said.

"I just thought I was on a piece of dirt the crowd had trampled down."

"Obviously I know the rules - you can't ground the club in a bunker - but I guess it's one situation where I should have looked at a rulesheet."

"The official said the whole course is a bunker. It's up to them. If it was up to me I would not have thought I was in a bunker."

Zach Johnson and 21-year-old Rory McIlroy finished tied for third at 10-under, with Jason Dufner and Australian 1995 PGA champion Steve Elkington finishing in a share of fifth with the unfortunate Johnson.

Elkington missed his own chance to threaten the lead with bogeys on the final two holes.

Overnight leader Nick Watney slumped to four-under par and a share of 18th after a horror final round of 81.

Kaymer's first major win elevates him from 13th to a career-high fifth in the world and also propels him into the Ryder Cup places at the expense of Luke Donald.

Tiger Woods needed a top-seven finish to qualify automatically for the US team, but a final round of 73 saw him finish tied for 28th and leaves the world No.1 relying on a wildcard from US captain Corey Pavin.

The four wildcards will be announced on September 7.

Final Scores

Martin Kaymer -11 (F) E in Playoff
Bubba Watson -11 (F) 1 over in Playoff
Zach Johnson -10 (F)
Rory McIlroy -10 (F)
Dustin Johnson -9 (F)
Steve Elkington -9 (F)
Jason Dufner -9 (F)
Camilo Villegas -8 (F)
Wen-chong Liang -8 (F)
Matt Kuchar -7 (F)
Jason Day -7 (F)
Robert Karlsson -5 (F)
Phil Mickelson -6 (F)
Paul Casey -6 (F)
Simon Dyson -6 (F)
Bryce Molder -6 (F)

Other Australians
Adam Scott E
Marc Leishman 1
Stuart Appleby 7