Kaymer brilliance leaves rivals admiring from afar

Fri Jun 13, 2014 9:15pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

PINEHURST North Carolina (Reuters) - Martin Kaymer's stunning form over the first two days at the U.S. Open left his challengers trailing in his wake on Friday, reviving memories of runaway wins by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.

The ice-cool German, oozing confidence since his victory at the elite Players Championship last month, has so far mastered a tricky Pinehurst layout, successive rounds of five-under-par 65 putting him six strokes in front in record fashion.

While Kaymer has been almost error-free in posting a record tournament low of 10-under-130 after 36 holes, he himself and many of his closest pursuers know that nothing can be taken for granted over the last two rounds.

"Certainly his game is on, he's putting incredibly well, driving it very well and playing great," British Open champion Phil Mickelson said of Kaymer, a former world number one.

"You never know what will happen in a U.S. Open. We have always had crazy things happen. There's a lot of guys right there ready to pounce if he slips up."

Mickelson, still hunting his first U.S. Open title after suffering the heartache of a record six runner-up spots at the event, will not be one of them after struggling to a three-over 73 on Friday that left him a distant 13 shots off the pace.

However 2011 champion McIlroy is a little closer, trailing Kaymer by nine after carding a 68 in the second round.

"I would like the rain not to come and for the course to get as firm as possible because Martin hasn't really seen it like that," McIlroy said of a Pinehurst layout that has played a little easier than expected due to softened conditions over the first two rounds.   Continued...

Jun 13, 2014; Pinehurst, NC, USA; Martin Kaymer hits from the bunker on the 6th hole during the second round of the 2014 U.S. Open golf tournament at Pinehurst Resort Country Club - #2 Course. Jason Getz-USA TODAY