June 15,2014(ISN) – Martin Kaymer held his nerve despite a five-bogey third round to lead the US Open by five shots coming into the final day of action at Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina.
The German, who is chasing a second major title after winning the 2010 PGA Championship, saw his lead reduced by a single stroke as he carded a 72 to sit eight under for the tournament.His nearest rivals, Americans Rickie Fowler and Erik Compton, were the only two to shoot under par for the day as they both recorded 67’s to finish three under.Swedish world number two Henrik Stenson and long-hitting American Dustin Johnson were a further shot back at two under after carding 70s.”Two-over par is not as bad as it looks on the scorecard,” former world number one Kaymer told reporters.”I kept it very well together, even though I didn’t hit as many great shots as yesterday and Thursday.”Overall it’s a decent round.”They put the pins in very, very tough positions.”I think 18 was the only pin where you could be aggressive.”The other flags, if you hit it to 25 feet, it was a good shot.”I didn’t hit many fairways today, so the challenge tomorrow will be to keep going and not try to defend [the lead].”If you try to defend, then you don’t swing as free.”
Martin Kaymer did well to walk away from the fourth with just a single dropped shot after a wayward tee-shot forced him to take an unplayable lie amongst the pines ©Getty Images
In what was by far the hardest day of the week at Pinehurst Resort, the 29-year-old was unable to build upon a record-breaking opening two rounds, however, the tough conditions also made it difficult for anyone to compile the kind of card that would put him under serious pressure.Trouble came early for Kaymer as he set out with playing partner Brendon Todd of the US after recording his first bogey in 31 holes at the treacherous par-four second where he three-putted from long range, just off the front of the green.After narrowly missing a birdie opportunity on the third, the German did well to drop only one stroke at the par-four fourth after taking an unplayable lie when his tee shot ended up next to a pile of pine needles.
A 20-foot bogey putt was met with a fist pump out of sheer relief as his lead was cut to five shots.He looked in even more trouble on the fifth when his tee shot sailed left into a native waste area behind a small bush.From there, however, he brilliantly struck a high draw to six feet and sank the eagle putt to get back to 10 under, seven ahead of his closest pursuers.Kaymer bogeyed six but reached the turn one over for the day without his advantage having dipped below five strokes.Despite further bogeys at the thirteenth and fifteenth, Kaymer steadied the ship in the closing three holes, sinking a birdie putt on the last to remain in pole position to take his second Championships title.