Martin Kaymer shot an opening-round 65 at Pinehurst No. 2 on Thursday, and everyone said it couldn’t be done again.
Well, Kaymer did it again – the very next day, in fact – to set the U.S. Open record with a 130 through 36 holes. The previous mark was held by Rory McIlroy, who shot a 131 through two rounds at Congressional in 2011.
At this point, there are but two storylines remaining in this year’s U.S. Open, and both involve Kaymer. Either the Dusseldorf native will run away with the championship, or he will suffer a historic meltdown.
Given Kaymer’s play through two rounds, the former seems more likely than the latter.
“Martin Kaymer’s nickname on the tour is The BMW – because he’s the German driving machine and he has been doing it all over this place,” Golfweek senior writer David Dusek said on Ferrall on the Bench. “He’s the story. There’s no two ways about it. He’s 10-under par, shoots 65-65, and basically every facet of his game is clicking right now.”
Kaymer became just the sixth golfer in the 114-year history of the U.S. Open to achieve at least 10-under par during the championship. His six-shot lead after 36 holes also tied the U.S. Open record shared by Tiger Woods (Pebble Beach, 2000) and McIlroy (Congressional, 2011).
That Kaymer duplicated his opening-round effort is all the more impressive given that three-quarters of an inch of rain fell on Pinehurst on Thursday night.
“He goes out and hits 12 out of 14 fairways, 15 out of 18 greens, he putts well and puts another 65 on the board,” Dusek said. “There’s a couple of other guys who had nice rounds – Rory McIlroy got in two-under par (Friday) for one-under total, but he’s nine shots back. Brandt Snedeker is seven shots back.”
“So right now, I’m not going to anoint Martin Kaymer the winner, but it’s going to take a collapse from him and something pretty special from somebody else over the weekend to prevent him from winning his second major championship.”
Kaymer’s performance is reminiscent of the 1997 Masters, when Woods won by 12 strokes, or even the 2000 U.S. Open, when he won by 15.
“It has that feel,” Dusek said. “The last time we sort of had this happen to us was when Rory McIlroy ran away at the U.S. Open at Congressional a couple years ago. Again, soft conditions on that golf course, and he just kept pounding birdie after birdie and finished 16-under par.”
Dusek didn’t see Kaymer’s performance coming, but maybe he should have. Maybe we all should have. After all, Kaymer won The Players Championship last month.
Then again, no player has ever won The Players Championship and the U.S. Open in the same year.
“Right now, like I said, everything is clicking,” Dusek said. “He has never come close to making a big number on any hole. He’s only made one bogie over 36 holes at this point. Martin Kaymer has given himself a luxury where par is a great score. If he goes out and shoots 70 (on Saturday) and then another 70 on Sunday, chances are pretty good he’s going to win the U.S. Open.”