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Ryder Cup stars hit pay dirt after long wait for victories

updated 6:34 PM EST, Sun December 2, 2012
Former world No. 1 Martin Kaymer celebrates his first tournament victory since November 2011.
Former world No. 1 Martin Kaymer celebrates his first tournament victory since November 2011.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Martin Kaymer posts his first victory of 2012 in his final event of the season
  • German wins $1.25 million first prize at Nedbank Challenge in South Africa
  • Fellow Ryder Cup winner Graeme McDowell wins $1.2 million at World Challenge
  • McDowell upstages host Tiger Woods to claim his first win since 2010

(CNN) -- Martin Kaymer and Graeme McDowell tasted team success at September's Ryder Cup, but the former major winners have had to wait a long time for individual glory this year.

That ended on Sunday as former world No. 1 Kaymer clinched his first tournament win since November 2011 and McDowell posted his first victory since 2010 in another exhibition tournament.

"I'm very happy to finally win this year, that was the most important thing for me because I was practicing very hard," Kaymer said after landing the $1.25 million first prize at the Nedbank Challenge in Sun City, South Africa.

"I played very well the last few weeks and months, but it just did not happen for me on the golf course."

Rory McIlroy capped a sensational year with victory at the Dubai World Championship on Sunday. The Northern Irishman won five tournaments in 2012, including his second major, topped the money list on both the PGA and European Tours and ended the season as the world's No. 1 player.
Rory McIlroy capped a sensational year with victory at the Dubai World Championship on Sunday. The Northern Irishman won five tournaments in 2012, including his second major, topped the money list on both the PGA and European Tours and ended the season as the world's No. 1 player.
Icing on the cake
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American rookie Charlie Beljan wins the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic just two days after being taking to hospital with an elevated heart rate and numbness in his arm. American rookie Charlie Beljan wins the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic just two days after being taking to hospital with an elevated heart rate and numbness in his arm.
Cinderella story
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Charlie Beljan\'s Cinderella story Charlie Beljan's Cinderella story
Peter Hanson, center, and Francesco Molinari of Europe celebrate their team winning the 39th Ryder Cup on Sunday, September 30, in Medinah, Illinois. Europe produced the greatest comeback in Ryder Cup history to defeat the United States and retain the trophy. See more of the best of CNN's photography. Peter Hanson, center, and Francesco Molinari of Europe celebrate their team winning the 39th Ryder Cup on Sunday, September 30, in Medinah, Illinois. Europe produced the greatest comeback in Ryder Cup history to defeat the United States and retain the trophy. See more of the best of CNN's photography.
Best of Ryder Cup
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Photos: Best of Ryder Cup Photos: Best of Ryder Cup

The German finished two shots clear of South Africa's 2011 Masters winner Charl Schwartzel in a 12-man field that also included 2010 British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and former world No. 1 Lee Westwood.

Kaymer followed up compatriot Bernhard Langer's victory in the seniors event in Sun City on Saturday.

"Bernhard has been a massive help for me. We talked at the Ryder Cup on the Saturday in the players' lounge when I didn't play at all, and we talked about the spirit and the attitude of the Ryder Cup, and you can use that for regular tournaments as well," Kaymer said.

"So he has been a huge influence for me. There was a bit more pressure today because everyone was talking about the German double. But I'm very fortunate that everything worked out for me, and it's obviously very nice from Bernhard that he called me straight away."

McDowell, meanwhile, upstaged Tiger Woods by winning the 14-time major champion's Chevron World Challenge event in California.

The Northern Irishman, whose last victory came at the same tournament in 2010 after he also won the U.S. Open, finished three shots clear of last year's PGA Championship victor Keegan Bradley to claim the $1.2 million first prize.

He was congratulated by compatriot Rory McIlroy, who last weekend ended his season as world No. 1 and leader of both the U.S. and European money lists.

"Great win @Graeme_McDowell!! They should rename that event the Gmac Challenge! Enjoy the well deserved break!" McIlroy wrote on Twitter.

Woods, who ended his own long victory drought as host 12 months ago, finished tied for fourth with fellow Americans Jim Furyk and Rickie Fowler.

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