US Open Day 2: Kaymer Takes Charge
Day 2 report from sports writer Derek Clements
So, who is going to finish second then? It seems to be the only issue to be settled after Martin Kaymer's phenomenal performance during the first two rounds of the US Open at Pinehurst No 2, reputed to be one of the most fearsome courses on the rota.
Let's get one thing straight. Kaymer has been there and done it, so he won't be folding over the weekend. Of course he can't maintain his incredible level of play, and the fact that he nearly threw away the Players Championship at Sawgrass from a dominant position will surely enter the German's mind at some point.
But, like his compatriot Bernhard Langer, the 29-year-old has ice flowing through his veins. He is not a golfer who takes risks and he will stick with his gameplan until the final putt is holed.
Playing the course the wrong way round, Kaymer played the back nine in 32 shots - that's the supposedly far more difficult back nine. He had three birdies and didn't drop a shot. That took him to eight under par overall, and he then birdied the third and fourth holes to move to 10 under. Pinehurst has two monster par fours, each measuring more than 500 yards - Kaymer birdied them both.
For the second day on the trot, he shot a 65 for a 36-hole total of 130 - a record. In two days he has only had one score higher than four. It is breathtaking stuff.
Eight shots clear when he signed his card, Kaymer eventually had to settle for a six-shot lead over American Brendon Todd - who shot a 67 - which equalled the championship record set by Tiger Woods in 2000 and matched by McIlroy three years ago.
“It’s not a done deal,” Kaymer added. “You don’t approach Saturday and Sunday in a relaxed way. It’s never a time when you can relax, unless it’s Sunday afternoon and you are raising the trophy. There’s never a time you can take it easy, you have to set your own goals and keep playing well.
“I played Congressional (finishing joint 12th) and I thought, 'How can you shoot that low?’ And that’s probably what a lot of other people think about me right now. But it will be quite interesting to talk to Rory about it, how he felt.”
American duo Kevin Na and Brandt Snedeker shared third place on three under, with Sweden’s Henrik Stenson - who can overtake Adam Scott as world number one with a victory - one of five players a shot further back following a 69.
McIlroy was another shot back after a 68 with Scott level par and defending champion Justin Rose one over alongside compatriot Danny Willett.
“I still feel like I am in the tournament,” said Rose, who is looking to become the first man to win back-to-back titles since Curtis Strange in 1989. “Over 72 holes everyone is going to have a rough patch and Martin shooting 65, 65 hasn’t had one yet.
“Ten under here is unbelievable golf. Take Martin out and there is a great tournament going on at this stage.”
Derek Clements is a sports journalist with a particular passion for golf with over 12 years of experience covering golf and other sports including Chief Sub-Editor on the sports desk of The Sunday Times. To contact Derek email direct via [email protected]
Be part of the action with a selection of unique golf tournament experiences, from playing in a pro-am with the stars to watching the action at golf’s most illustrious events. Whether it’s the Masters or The Open, The Ryder Cup or WM Phoenix Open, build your own bespoke package with the experts at Golfbreaks.com.
What do you think? leave your comments below (Comments)