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Kaymer closing in on title

Martin Kaymer had his overnight lead intact as he closed in on a second major title at the end of a historic week in the US Open at Pinehurst.

Looking to become the first German player to win the title but the fourth European in the last five years after Ryder Cup team-mates Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose, Kaymer took a five-shot lead into the final round.

And although an easier course set-up meant eight players had already broken 70 compared with just two all day on Saturday, none of those scores had come from Kaymer's nearest challengers.

Successive rounds of 65 - the lowest in a US Open at Pinehurst - meant Kaymer had equalled the lowest halfway total in major championship history (130), as well as eclipsing the US Open record of 131 set by Rory McIlroy at Congressional in 2011.

The 29-year-old's six-shot halfway lead also matched the championship record shared by Tiger Woods (2000) and McIlroy (2011), while he joined McIlroy in becoming the only players to reach double digits under par in the first two rounds.

A third round of 72 after the USGA set testing pin positions on 17 of the 18 holes succeeded in only reducing his lead by a single shot, and Kaymer was quickly among the birdies in the final round.

The tee on the par-four third had been brought forward to tempt players into driving the green and Kaymer did precisely that, two-putting from long range for birdie to move to nine under par.

A bogey on the seventh saw Kaymer's lead reduced to four shots after American Erik Compton picked up his second birdie of the day on the eighth, but the 34-year-old promptly bogeyed the ninth after failing to get up and down from a greenside bunker.

Kaymer made no such mistake with a superb tee shot setting up a birdie from five feet, but after Compton reduced the gap once more on the par-five 10th and Kaymer took six on the same hole after thinning his third over the green, Compton released the pressure with a bogey on the 11th.

Another bogey on the 12th saw Compton fall further off the pace and, when Kaymer holed from 20 feet for birdie on the 13th, he had a seven-shot lead with five holes to play.


From Belfast Telegraph