Martin Kaymer fired out of the gate with an impressive 65 to take the lead in the first round of the 2014 U.S. Open. The problem is that things will only get harder over the next three days.
Even with a three-stroke lead after the first 18 holes, there are dozens of top golfers still in contention who can challenge for the top spot in the leaderboard.
Friday's round will especially be interesting to see which players falter after posting low scores and drop out of contention. At the same time, popular stars like Bubba Watson and Adam Scott will try to bounce back from poor starts to avoid being cut.
In order to keep up with the exciting action, here is everything you need to know heading into Day 2.
When: Friday, June 15
Where: Pinehurst No. 2 in Pinehurst, North Carolina
Watch: ESPN (9 a.m. - 3 p.m., 5 - 7 p.m. ET), NBC (3 - 5 p.m. ET)
|Tee Time (ET)||Starting Hole||Players|
|7:18 a.m.||10||Dustin Johnson||Jimmy Walker||Victor Dubuisson|
|7:40 a.m.||10||Bubba Watson||Adam Scott||Charl Schwartzel|
|8:02 a.m.||10||Jason Dufner||Keegan Bradley||Martin Kaymer|
|1:03 p.m.||10||Sergio Garcia||Jason Day||Brandt Snedeker|
|1:14 p.m.||10||Henrik Stenson||Matt Kuchar||Lee Westwood|
|1:25 p.m.||10||Webb Simpson||Graeme McDowell||Rory McIlroy|
|1:36 p.m.||1||Justin Rose||Phil Mickelson||Matthew Fitzpatrick (a)|
|1:58 p.m.||1||Jordan Spieth||Hideki Matsuyama||Rickie Fowler|
A complete list of tee times is available at USOpen.com.
Predicted Leaders After Day 2
Kaymer has shown in recent weeks that he is capable of winning any tournament, but there was still plenty of surprise looking at the leaderboard after Round 1. This is because few people expected anyone to post a 65 in this tournament.
Pinehurst has hosted this event three different times, and this score is officially the lowest of any of them.
Even Kaymer did not expect this low of a mark considering his predictions:
Martin Kaymer after opening 65: "Someone asked me at the beginning of the week what score I'd take. I said 8 over." pic.twitter.com/CNGFVYnpf5— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) June 12, 2014
Shane Bacon of Yahoo joked about how easy things were in the opening round in North Carolina:
Martin Kaymer wants to know when the U.S. Open starts because this warm-up course is cake.— Shane Bacon (@shanebacon) June 12, 2014
Unfortunately, it is hard to imagine the German keeping this up throughout the rest of the tournament. He can remain in the lead, but getting six birdies again will be extremely difficult.
Kaymer will have a bit of a setback with a 71 on Friday, but it will still be good enough to stay in first place.
Predicted score after Round 2: -4
A course that is usually very intimidating was very kind to a bunch of golfers Thursday, including Matt Kuchar, who had this to say after the round:
"I think the course is playing beautifully right now." Matt Kuchar on Pinehurst's Course No. 2.— U.S. Open (USGA) (@usopengolf) June 12, 2014
The American finished with a one-under score of 69, but it seemed like it was going to be much better. He had three birdies on the front nine to move into the lead and did not make any big mistakes until the very end of the round.
Unfortunately, he finished with bogeys on No. 16 and 17 before barely saving par on No. 18. He lost focus, and it cost him a chance to be much higher on the leaderboard.
The good news is that he is still just four strokes off the lead after the first round, and he has the talent to challenge for the lead. Kuchar has been as consistent as anyone on tour this year, totaling nine top-10 finishes in 15 starts.
He is quickly becoming one of the best golfers in the world without a major title, a mark he would love to shed this week. He should take one step closer by getting a solid 68 in his second round.
Predicted score after Round 2: -3
It is truly incredible what Jordan Spieth is doing as just a 20-year-old. He is pretty much always in contention in tournaments and is seemingly not afraid of any big moments, as proven by a second-place finish in his first career Masters tournament earlier this season.
Professional golfer Olin Browne is certainly impressed watching him play:
There has to be something wrong with Jordan Spieth. He's twenty, he can't finish out of top ten, and he has room to grow. Who IS this guy?!?— Olin Browne (@OlinBrowne) June 13, 2014
This strong play has continued into the U.S. Open, where Spieth has gotten off to a strong start with a 69 in the first round. He started off with a birdie on No. 10, one of three on his first nine holes. While he slipped a bit on the second half of his day, he is still in good shape.
With his ability to keep the ball in the fairway, he will avoid most of the tough parts of this course. All he needs to do is get to greens in regulation and continue putting like he is capable of, and he will move near the top of the leaderboard with a 68 in Round 2.
Predicted score after Round 2: -3
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