Kaymer doubles lead at Pinehurst
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2014 US Open | Round One | 14 Jun 2014
Martin Kaymer has the 2014 US Open to win or lose after a second consecutive round of 65 has given him a six shot lead heading into the weekend at Pinehurst No 2.
Kaymer’s 36 hole total is the lowest at a US Open surpassing the 131 total set by Rory McIlroy in 2011 at the Congressional Country Club in Washington.
The German played early on day two and after overnight rain had softened the golf course even more so than was the case on day one, the conditions when Kaymer started out at 8.05 am were near perfect.
He might have had a favourable side of the draw but it is one thing to get that break and another to take full advantage of it. Kaymer was able to do both.
Only one bogey in 36 holes over a golf course which even he had predicted would see a winning score of well over par, suggests a player in control of his game and mindset.
After his win at the Players Championship a month ago, Kaymer suggested he was adopting an attitude where he was not trying to hit the perfect shot all the time but this week there has been plenty of perfection over his opening 36 holes on what is already appearing to be a great test of golf.
Although several of the game’s leading players recovered from slow starts, they were not able to close the deficit on Kaymer who again produced the best round of the day (65) to lead by six over recent breakthrough PGA Tour winner, Brenton Todd, and by seven over Kevin Na and Brandt Snedeker.
“I played very solid again, very similar to yesterday,” said the leader. "The last three, four holes I got a little bit tired, I didn’t swing it as good as the first 14 holes, but I could make a couple good up-and-downs, especially on 6 and 7. It’s very solid, not many mistakes, not that many wild tee shots or anything.
While fully aware of what he had achieved, Kaymer was also aware of a golf course that was a lot more playable than many had predicted.
“There was some, lots, of rain last night that made the golf course playable. Because I was expecting the golf course playing a lot firmer and obviously that rain helped a lot last night and you could still be aggressive today.
“We had perfect greens in the morning, but still you have to hit good shots. But you know what I said, it’s very rare, obviously the record shows that it’s very rare that somebody shoots 10-under par after two rounds. And it just happened in my case now. So, yeah, but I didn’t expect it.
“I actually like the way it plays now,” he added referring to the restored Pinehurst. " Obviously, I didn’t play in 2005. So for me, it’s very difficult to compare it, but I actually enjoy a different U.S. Open right now.
“Usually the U.S. Open is, you know, coming to the golf tournament it’s going to be tight fairways, thick rough, fast greens, and this week it’s little bit different. I think for us Europeans, or especially the guys from the U.K., we’re more used to playing those golf courses than the thick rough and long fairway or long holes with tight fairways. So I think it’s a little bit of a favour for the European players, because we are used to playing those golf courses more.”
Todd won his first PGA Tour event only a month ago at the Byron Nelson event and then followed up with top fives in Fort Worth and in Ohio. He is delighted with how he has played but is also aware of the almost superhuman efforts to date of the leader.
“Obviously, if you asked any player at the beginning of the week if you were 4-under through two days would you take it or would you be in the lead and everybody would say yes. Martin’s played exceptionally well. I even watched a little bit of coverage this morning. He hit a shot on 17, par-3, and it landed 10 feet left of the hole and he was like, shocked. He was like mad. I mean, those were my good shots this week, so he was obviously playing a really good level of golf.
Adam Scott fought back from his opening 73 with a round of 67 to be at even par and ten behind but he knows he is not yet out of contention.
“It’s great golf for Martin, said Scott. "There are so many talented guys and he’s certainly one of them and he’s confident enough after winning a big event already this year. And when you’re playing like that, you want to just keep it going. So for him to come out today and back it up is super.
“If he does it for two more days, then we’re all playing for second spot,” said the world number one. "But we all know that U.S. Opens get very difficult and if I can just somehow put together two really good rounds, maybe slowly but surely I’ll creep my way up towards Martin.
“I needed a good one today. I think I probably got the better end of the draw on the first two days, coming out early after a bit of soaking rain overnight and that front nine certainly we could fire a little more aggressively at the pins. Hit some good shots and made some putts today and it still felt like hard work, but I’m very happy with the score.”
For Kaymer however he would know that two even par rounds are likely enough to secure his second major title. He has already proven his capacity to front run and win events but this is the US Open and any chinks in his armour might yet be exposed those as far back as even par.
Aaron Baddeley and Jason Day are at 1 over and share 20th position after Day put together a round of 68.
Scott, Baddeley and Day are the only three Australasians to make it to the weekend.