Can Martin Kaymer at least keep it kinda close?
After posting a blistering five-under 65 in the first round of the 2014 U.S. Open, Kaymer went and did it again. As ESPN tweeted out, the leaderboard had to be seen to be believed:
According to GolfChannel.com's Justin Ray, the 29-year-old is the first golfer ever to card two 65s in the opening two rounds of a major tournament:
Martin Kaymer is the first player in major championship history to open with two rounds of 65 or better.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) June 13, 2014
Even Rory McIlroy could only look on in awe, per Stephen Schramm of the Fayetteville Observer:
Rory McIlroy says what Martin Kaymer is doing at Pinehurst is more impressive than what he did at Congressional.— Stephen Schramm (@stephenschramm) June 13, 2014
Yahoo Sports' Pat Forde made the comparison to Tiger Woods' insane start to the 2000 U.S. Open. Woods ended up winning by 15 strokes. That's not outside the realm of possibility here:
Martin Kaymer is going Tiger-at-Pebble-in-2000 on the US Open field. My goodness.— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) June 13, 2014
Despite owning a massive lead, Kaymer is refusing to take his foot off the gas.
"It's not a done deal," he said, per The Associated Press, via USA Today. "You don't approach Saturday and Sunday in a relaxed way. There's never a time where you can relax. Unless it's Sunday afternoon and you're raising the trophy, then you can relax. Until then, you've got to keep playing."
Still, he's gotta be feeling pretty good about himself right about now:
I imagine Kaymer is back at his place, feet up in the air. Sort of like Tiger.— Dan Jenkins (@danjenkinsgd) June 13, 2014
After Friday's play, Kaymer holds a six-shot lead over Brendon Todd.
As much as Kaymer wants to downplay it, he would need to suffer a near historic collapse to lose the U.S. Open now. It's been more than a century since the last golfer blew a four-stroke lead at the U.S. Open, per ESPN's Trey Wingo:
Is Martin Kaymer's lead invincible? no 36-hole leader at the U.S. Open has blown a lead of more than 4 shots. And that happened back in 1909— trey wingo (@wingoz) June 13, 2014
In major tournament history, only one man has watched a lead of six or more strokes evaporate by the end, per Ray:
Kaymer leads by 6 after 36. The only man to lose a 6+ shot lead after 36 holes in major is Abe Mitchell (up 6) at 1920 Open Championship.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) June 13, 2014
Mr. Mitchell was born in 1887.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) June 13, 2014
Joining Kaymer for the third round on Saturday will be Brendon Todd. As CBSSports.com's Kyle Porter tweeted out, that's not quite a dream pairing for NBC:
That moment when NBC execs realize the final group on Saturday is going to be Martin Kaymer up by six on Brendon Todd. #alcohol— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) June 13, 2014
Perhaps Todd can captivate the crowd with his exuberant personality, per Golf Digest's Mike O'Malley:
Brendon Todd, playing in his first major: "My caddie's a very excitable guy. I'm not."— Mike O'Malley (@GD_MikeO) June 13, 2014
One of the biggest surprises of the first round was Fran Quinn getting into a tie for second. The 49-year-old journeyman fell off a little bit on Friday, shooting four over and moving to two under for the tournament. At least he made the cut, per Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette:
After rounds of 68 and 74, Fran Quinn of Holden is in good shape to make the cut at his first U.S. Open in 18 years.— Bill Doyle (@BillDoyle15) June 13, 2014
Golf can be a very healthy financial pursuit for some, but Quinn shows that not every golfer is a millionaire:
Fran Quinn has made $197,218 on the PGA Tour in his career, which dates back to 1988. 173 players have made that much this season alone.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) June 13, 2014
At least he's in for a nice payday this weekend. No matter where he finishes, the 2014 U.S. Open will likely be one of his biggest career highlights.
With Kaymer largely sapping all of the drama from the event, keeping up with Quinn will be one of the more compelling storylines heading into Round 3.