After Martin Kaymer blew the field away on Thursday with 65 in the first round, popular opinion was that he probably would not be able to duplicate the feat in Friday’s round and the field would surely tighten up. Even Kaymer admitted he was dubious about playing so well two days in a row, and would feel lucky to still be leading by three strokes after the second round. Taking full advantage of an overnight thunderstorm and an early tee time, however, the 29-year-old from Mettmann, Germany has turned the US Open Championship into his own private blitzkrieg, firing another 5-under par 65 and actually doubling his lead heading into the weekend.
With his two-day total of 10-under 130, Kaymer has set the 36-hole record for the US Open, and is dominating the field so much through the first two days that the grounds crew at the Pinehurst No.2 golf course should equip each pin with white flags for the duration of the event. “The way I play golf right now is just really satisfying,” Kaymer said after his bogey-free round on Friday, “it’s very solid, not many mistakes, not many wild tee shots or anything.” Remaining very humble throughout his media session, Kaymer seemed almost apologetic about his excellence over the first two rounds, “I don’t know what to say. It’s just very, very solid. It gets boring, the words that I use, but there’s not much to say.”
There, indeed, is not much to say except that Kaymer is out-classing the field and bringing a world-class golf course to its knees. Projections of the winning score before the 114th US Open Championship were 6-under par at the lowest, and Kaymer has eclipsed that mark already. He is six shots ahead of his nearest threat, Brendan Todd, whose two-round total of 136 would probably be leading in any other year.
There are still two rounds remaining, however, and there is always a chance this US Open Championship could yet experience some drama. If Kaymer should somehow come back to the pack, there are some interesting names lurking seven to ten shots behind. Brandt Snedeker has double-bogeyed No. 11 both days, and still has fought his way back to 3-under for the tournament. Keegan Bradley, Dustin Johnson and World No.2 Henrik Stenson are among a group of golfers at 2-under, and the pack at 1-under includes Matt Kuchar, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy. McIlroy came from seven shots back last month to win the BMW Championship in England on the final day.
One thing is becoming clearer. Phil Mickelson will probably not add a US Open Championship to his list of career major wins this year. After making two early birdies to get to 2-under on the front nine, Mickelson ran off five bogeys the rest of the way. He is 3-over after two rounds, and the best that can be said is that he made the cut, which was 5-over par 135. Some of those who were not so lucky and missed the cut included Luke Donald, Angel Cabrera, Jason Dufner, Hunter Mahan and Masters Champ Bubba Watson.
As the weekend approaches, pin and tee placements will not get any easier and greens will get faster. Most agree, however, that the only one who can stop Martin Kaymer’s blitzkrieg at the US Open Championship is Martin Kaymer. If he continues to shoot 65s, the only thing contested on Sunday will be second-place.
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Commentary by Chuck Podhaisky