Kaymer five ahead after testing day at Pinehurst

Sat Jun 14, 2014 9:24pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

PINEHURST North Carolina (Reuters) - Martin Kaymer, who had been near-flawless with his golf over the first two days, survived three early bogeys and a faltering finish to lead the U.S. Open by five shots after Saturday's third round.

In pursuit of his second major title, the 29-year-old German conjured a miraculous eagle at the par-five fifth on the way to a two-over-par 72 in blazing sunshine at Pinehurst Resort where scoring was at its most difficult for the week.

With very little margin for error on approach shots into domed greens running increasingly fast and firm, Kaymer bogeyed two of his last six holes but sank a six-foot birdie putt at the 18th for an eight-under total of 202 in the year's second major.

"Two-over par is not as bad as it looks on the scorecard," the former world number one told reporters. "I kept it very well together, even though I didn't hit as many great shots as yesterday and Thursday. Overall it's a decent round.

"They put the pins in very, very tough positions. I think 18 was the only pin where you could be aggressive. The other flags, if you hit it to 25 feet, it was a good shot.

"I didn't hit many fairways today, so the challenge tomorrow will be to keep going and not try to defend (the lead). If you try to defend, then you don't swing as free."

Kaymer, a commanding six strokes clear overnight after setting a U.S. Open low for 36 holes with a 10-under aggregate of 130, finished five ahead of Americans Rickie Fowler and Erik Compton, whose 67s were the best of the round.

Swedish world number two Henrik Stenson and long-hitting American Dustin Johnson were a further shot back at two under after carding 70s on a day when Fowler and Compton were the only players in the 67-man field to dip under par.   Continued...

Martin Kaymer smiles walking from the 8th tee box during the second round of the 2014 U.S. Open golf tournament at Pinehurst Resort Country Club - #2 Course. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports