PINEHURST, N.C. – After two rounds at Pinehurst, Martin Kaymer is on the verge of turning the U.S. Open into a rout. Here’s how things look at the halfway point, where the German holds a six-shot lead:
What it means: Kaymer surged to the lead late Thursday afternoon, then went out in the morning wave for his second round and left the field in his dust. Four weeks after capturing The Players Championship, Kaymer carded a 5-under 65 for the second day in a row, and while at one point his lead was eight shots, this is still his tournament to lose.
Round of the day: Kaymer’s opening round was the lowest score ever recorded at a Pinehurst U.S. Open, and the 29-year-old picked up right where he left off, with three birdies over the first seven holes of his second round. Kaymer made it around No. 2 without a bogey and has now made just one bogey for the week – an unheard-of stat for a U.S. Open.
Best of the rest: Todd is playing in his first U.S. Open, but he has showed no signs of nerves. A winner at the HP Byron Nelson last month, Todd shot a bogey-free 67 and will play alongside Kaymer in Saturday’s final pairing. He has kept the ball in play, missing only three fairways through two rounds.
Biggest disappointment: Former Masters champ Charl Schwartzel got off to a strong start with an even-par 70 in the first round, but the South African slid down the standings with a 6-over 76 Friday. Schwartzel made double bogeys on holes 1 and 12, played holes 14-18 in a combined 4 over par and at 6 over, missed the cut by a shot.
Main storyline heading into Saturday: The question now becomes whether Kaymer will let the field back into this tournament. He built a large lead last month at TPC Sawgrass and barely hung on to win, but right now appears to be playing a different course from his competitors. If that continues Saturday, this could be over before the final round begins.
Shot of the day: Ken Duke appeared up against it – literally – when his tee shot on the par-3 ninth ended up against a large tuft of grass inside a greenside bunker. Duke had no choice but to backhand the ball into the bunker with his putter, then went on to hole it from the sand for an improbable par. Duke went on to shoot a 2-over 72, though, and missed the cut by two shots.
Quote of the day: “The way I play golf right now, it’s just really satisfying. It’s very solid, not many mistakes, not that many wild tee shots or anything.” – Kaymer