Martin Kaymer completed one of the most dominant performances in major history to win the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2.
The German built up an impressive lead with a 65 on each of the first two days and headed into the fourth round with a five-stroke lead. With a 69 on the closing day, he remained calm when everyone was gunning for him, easily staying ahead of the competition and winning by eight strokes with a final score of nine-under par.
Considering that only three players were able to finish the tournament in the red, Kaymer's domination was truly remarkable.
Rickie Fowler and Erik Compton also had solid weeks to finish in a tie for second place near the top of the leaderboard:
From the first day in North Carolina, Kaymer was simply incredible. Fans were begging him to slip up just to make Sunday more interesting, but the former No. 1 player in the world had no holes in his game.
Peter Kostis of CBS Sports explained why the player deserved more credit:
If Tiger was doing what Kaymer is doing everyone would be going bonkers, but with Martin they say it's a boring tournament. Double standard.— Peter Kostis (@peterjkostis) June 15, 2014
While everyone else on the course was continually dealing with bogeys, Kaymer kept scoring birdies, totaling four of them in his last round to go with three holes over par. The tournament's official Twitter account provided a look at one of his best holes of the day:
Perhaps the most amazing part is that Kaymer was actually hoping the course got more difficult on Sunday. After his third round, he explained that he wanted tougher pin locations, according to The Associated Press, via ESPN.com:
It would be nice if they make it difficult again. Because then it's all about ball-striking. I enjoy playing those courses a lot more than just a putting competition. ... So I hope they put them in tough positions. Not as tough as today. It would be nice if we could have some kind of a chance once in a while. But that is what you get at the U.S. Open. It's OK. You just have to play very well.
He got his wish and lived up to the challenge, as he brought home his second major to go with his 2010 PGA Championship.
While this utter destruction of the field led to a relatively uneventful final round, there were more than a few interesting subplots to follow.
Arguably the top storyline was the impressive showing by Compton. The 34-year-old golfer needed to win a five-man playoff in the final qualifier to even get a spot in the U.S. Open, and yet somehow found himself in the penultimate group on Sunday.
Of course, the most intriguing part about this accomplishment is Compton's tale of perseverance, as PGA.com noted:
Even Keegan Bradley—who finished tied for fourth place after a 67 in his final round—was rooting for him:
Eric Compton winning today would probably be the best story in the history of sports.— Keegan Bradley (@Keegan_Bradley) June 15, 2014
Although Compton was unable to catch Kaymer, his tie for second place should stand as a source of inspiration that will be remembered for a long time.
Besides Compton, there were few legitimate contenders on the final day. Dustin Johnson seemed like he would wind up the closest when he dropped to two under. National Club Golfer magazine was impressed with the player's consistency:
Been impressed with Dustin Johnson this week, very steady. You feel it's only a matter of time before he lands a big one. JS #USOpen— National Club Golfer (@NCGmagazine) June 15, 2014
However, three bogeys in a row down the stretch dropped him back over par and eventually left him in a tie for fourth place. Nevertheless, this is Johnson's seventh career top-10 finish in a major and there will likely be plenty more in his future.
One person who came into the day with a legitimate chance to catch Kaymer was Fowler. Unfortunately, the man dressed in orange hit a double bogey on his fourth hole from which he just couldn't recover.
The good news is his back-nine score of 35 helped him shoot up the leaderboard and into a tie for second place, his highest ever finish at a major. After finishing tied for fifth at the 2014 Masters, Fowler has now put together two consecutive elite performances on the big stage.
While Zach Johnson did not finish anywhere near the top of the leaderboard, he might have had the best single shot of the day with a hole-in-one on No. 9:
You cannot blame him for being that excited over a thrilling shot after what turned out to be a frustrating week. Then again, he was not the only big-name player that struggled to a low overall score. Players like Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Phil Mickelson each finished six over or worse.
Mickelson might have been the most disappointing after coming into the week looking to complete his career Grand Slam. The good news is that he remains upbeat, telling Rob Hodgetts of BBC Sport:
Mickelson on ongoing quest for US Open: 'I'm not upset or disappointed. In next 5 years I'll have 3/4 good chances. I believe I'll get it.'— Rob Hodgetts (@RobHodgetts) June 15, 2014
Still, this tournament was all about the incredible performance by Kaymer. He set the lowest score through 36 holes in U.S. Open history and had no trouble holding on to his lead to secure the commanding win.
After also winning The Players Championship earlier in the year, it is clear that the 29-year-old will remain a force to be reckoned with in future events.