PINEHURST, N.C. – After two nearly perfect days, Martin Kaymer’s round was drying up faster than Pinehurst’s parched putting surfaces when the U.S. Open front-runner hit his tee shot low and left at the par-4 4th hole.
Kaymer, who after posting just a single bogey through his first 36 holes was 1 over through three on Saturday, hit his tee shot against a washed out clump of pine straw. From there things became confusing.
“The main problem was I didn’t really understand the English that the referees were talking,” said Kaymer, who finished with a 2-over 72 but still held a five-stroke lead heading into Sunday’s final round.
After a lengthy discussion with the walking rules official and U.S. Golf Association president Tom O’Toole, Kaymer decided to take a penalty drop but didn’t know exactly where he should drop.
“You can move anything that’s a loose impediment,” O’Toole explained.
“It’s all loose,” Kaymer said.
“You just have to be careful not to move the sand,” O’Toole said.
Kaymer took his drop, chipped out into the fairway and hit his fourth shot to 15 feet, which he converted for bogey.
“It was a very big putt to make that bogey because if you make double it’s a tough one,” Kaymer said. “But to lose only one on a hole like this, where it’s almost a par 5 today, it’s OK.”