Kaymer wins U.S. Open by eight strokes

By Doug FergusonJune 15, 2014, 11:50 pm

PINEHURST, N.C. – Martin Kaymer returned to the elite in golf with a U.S. Open victory that ranks among the best.

A forgotten star for two years while building a complete game, Kaymer turned the toughest test of golf into a runaway at Pinehurst No. 2 on Sunday to become only the seventh wire-to-wire winner in 114 years of the U.S. Open.

Kaymer closed with a 1-under 69 - the only player from the last eight groups to break par - for an eight-shot victory over Rickie Fowler and Erik Compton, the two-time heart transplant recipient and the only player who even remotely challenged the 29-year-old German.

So dominant was Kaymer that no one got closer than four shots over the final 48 holes.

Only a late bogey kept Kaymer from joining Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy as the only players to finish a U.S. Open in double digits under par. He made a 15-foot par putt on the 18th hole, dropping his putter as the ball fell into the center of the cup, just like so many other putts this week.


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''No one was catching Kaymer this week,'' Compton said, who earned a trip to the Masters next April. ''I was playing for second. I think we all were playing for second.''

This U.S. Open really ended on Friday.

Kaymer set the U.S. Open record with back-to-back rounds of 65 to set the pace at 10-under 130. After a 10-foot par save on the second hole, Kaymer belted a driver on the 313-yard third hole. The ball landed on the front of the green and rolled to the back, setting up a two-putt birdie.

And he was on his way.

Fowler, in the final group of a major for the first time, fell back quickly with a double bogey on the fourth hole. Compton birdied the eighth hole and got within four shots until he took bogey on the par-3 ninth, and Kaymer followed in the last group with an 8-iron to 4 feet for birdie.

Kaymer finished at 9-under 271.

He won his second major - the other was the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in a three-man playoff - and this one wasn't close.

''Martin was playing his own tournament,'' Fowler said.

Kaymer joined Seve Ballesteros, Ernie Els, Woods and McIlroy as the only players to win two majors and be No. 1 in the world before turning 30 since the world ranking began in 1986. He is the fourth European in the last five years to win the U.S. Open, after Europeans had gone 40 years without this title.

It's a rebirth for Kaymer, who only last month captured The Players Championship.

Kaymer reached No. 1 in the world in February 2011, only to believe that he needed a more rounded game. His preferred shot was a fade. Kaymer spent two hard years, a lot of lonely hours on the range in Germany and his home in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The big payoff came at Pinehurst No. 2.

Kaymer has as many majors as Bernhard Langer, the two-time Masters champion and a mentor to Kaymer. Langer sent him text messages earlier in the week.

''We've almost a German Grand Slam - almost,'' Kaymer said. ''I hope it will make Bernhard proud. I'm sure it will make all of Germany proud.''

The biggest challenge for Kaymer was tuning out the crowd, with enormous support for Fowler, who enjoys pop star qualities in America. The fans clapped when Kaymer's ball bounded off the back of the green, and even when a superb shot from the native weeks on No. 4 rolled off the front of the green.

He marched along, dropping a shot on No. 7 with a shot left of the green that made him play away from a bunker to avoid a score worse than bogey, and another on the par-5 10th when a shot from the sandy area sailed over the green, and he used putter to send the next shot back toward the fairway.

But after back-to-back birdies, including a 30-footer on the 14th, the only question left was the margin.

Woods still holds the most dominant U.S. Open win - 15 shots at Pebble Beach in 2000. McIlroy won by eight shots on rain-softened Congressional in 2011, winning with a record score of 16-under 268.

''I'm wondering how he did it,'' McIlroy said. ''Obviously, if you limit the mistakes, you might end up a couple under for the week. But to do what he's doing ... I think it's nearly more impressive than what I did at Congressional.''

Kaymer's father was home in Germany, where he said Father's Day was celebrated a few weeks ago.

''I didn't get anything for my father that day,'' Kaymer said. ''So maybe this will work.''

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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


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Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

@tommyfleetwood_1

A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.