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Kaymer takes 5-shot lead into Open finale

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PINEHURST, N.C. – Martin Kaymer saw his lead trimmed, but he still appears in command through three rounds of the U.S. Open. Here’s how things look heading into Sunday at Pinehurst, where Kaymer leads by five:

Leaderboard: Martin Kaymer (-8), Rickie Fowler (-3), Erik Compton (-3), Henrik Stenson (-2), Dustin Johnson (-2), Brandt Snedeker (-1), Matt Kuchar (Even), Kevin Na (Even), Brooks Koepka (Even)

What it means: Kaymer was not as sharp as he was the first two days, shooting a 2-over 72 after a pair of 65s, but a difficult course setup made it tough for other players to dent his lead. Beginning the day ahead by six, Kaymer at one point led by only four but tacked on another shot with a birdie on the home hole.

Round of the day: Compton tallied five birdies and an eagle at No. 5, carding a 3-under 67 to share low-round honors. He made the most of the middle of his round, with four birdies over a five-hole stretch from Nos. 7-11. Compton hit 13 of 18 greens in regulation and is near the top of the leaderboard in just his second U.S. Open start.

Best of the rest: Fowler tied for 10th last year at Merion and is again in position for a high finish at this event after a 3-under 67. He made five birdies against two bogeys, taking just 24 putts, and is the only player with all three rounds at par or better .

Biggest disappointment: Brendon Todd played his way into Saturday’s final pairing in his first U.S. Open appearance, but his inexperience cost him. Todd got off to a rough start, playing his first seven holes in 4 over, and never recovered. He ended up with a 9-over 79 to fall back into a tie for 30th, 13 shots back.

Main storyline heading into Sunday: The wheels seemed to wobble a bit for Kaymer, but he managed to avoid any big numbers and now appears in control. While anything can happen at the U.S. Open – especially on a setup as treacherous as Pinehurst No. 2 – it appears the German is headed for his second wire-to-wire victory in the last six weeks. 

Shot of the day: Kenny Perry is the oldest man in the field at age 53, but he authored one of the shots of the tournament. Playing from a native area to the right of the 14th fairway, Perry launched a hybrid from 220 yards that found the hole for an eagle-2. The hole-out helped Perry to a 4-over 74. 

Quote of the day: “I didn’t play as good as the first two days, but I kept it together. I felt like today if you had 25 or 35 feet on every green, you’ve done well.” – Kaymer