Martin Kaymer leads U.S. Open after Round 1
TribLIVE Sports Videos
PINEHURST, N.C. — There was something unusual in the opening round of the U.S. Open.
A bunch of scores in the 60s.
The best one was turned in by Martin Kaymer.
His confidence spurred by a win at The Players Championship, Kaymer birdied three of the last five holes Thursday for a 5-under-par 65, the lowest score from any of the three Opens played at Pinehurst No. 2.
The German got up and down for par at the 18th hole, rolling in a testy 6-foot putt to beat the 66 shot by Sweden's Peter Hedblom during the second round in 2005.
Graeme McDowell, Kevin Na and Brendon de Jonge and Fran Quinn were three shots back.
Kaymer beat a loaded field at The Players last month, snapping a stretch of 29 tournaments without a victory stretching over 18 months.
“I needed a win,” Kaymer said. “Whether it was The Players or a regular PGA Tour event, I just needed it for my confidence, for all the hard work I've put in the last couple of years.”
Ten other players were in the clubhouse at 69, meaning there were more under-par rounds in this opening round than the last two years combined.
At Merion a year ago, only five players broke par on Thursday.
At Olympic Club in 2012, there were just six scores in the 60s.
No one expected Pinehurst to stay this inviting through the weekend.
“There was some moisture on the greens, and you were able to hold shots,” Na said. “I was able to capitalize on a good tee time. But there's a long way to go. Obviously, I'm 2-under-par right now, but at the end of the tournament even-par is going to win this championship.”
That's still a good bet.
The last two Open champions finished over par.
Pittsburgh-born Brendon Todd shot 1-under 69 and is tied for sixth.
Phil Mickelson got off to a strong start as well in his bid for the career Grand Slam, attacking the course with deft iron shots on the way to a 70.
McDowell, who won the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in 2010, was as steady as can be on this Donald Ross masterpiece, which has undergone a drastic makeover to restore its rustic look, with patches of natural vegetation — better known as weeds — taking the place of thick, lush rough.
The Northern Irishman bounced back from his only bogey at No. 4 with an eagle at the par-5 fifth hole. He added another birdie at the 14th, and the rest of his card was filled in with pars, just the sort of solid, mistake-free golf that is required in the U.S. Open.
“You don't have to strike it amazing around here,” McDowell said. “You just have to position the ball correctly at all times.”
Na also made an eagle at No. 5 on the way to the best Open round of his career. He missed the cuts in 2010 and 2011, and finished 9-over at his last Open two years ago.
After thick cloud cover made things easier for the morning players, the blistering sun broke through and the temperature climbed to 90 by mid-afternoon. Still, there were low scores to be had, with 20-year-old Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Henrik Stenson among the big group at 69.
Not everyone was thriving. The world's top-ranked player, Adam Scott, shot 73. Masters champion Bubba Watson sprayed shots all over the place on the way to a 76.
Spieth was in the thick of things again, making four birdies to put himself in contention at another major.
He was tied for the lead heading to the final round of the Masters and The Players Championship but couldn't close out either on Sunday.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Starkey: Pederson had to go at Pitt
- Developer reveals Buncher plans for 400 Strip District apartments, townhomes
- Steelers, young and old, thirst for opportunity to reach the postseason
- Pederson’s 2nd tenure as the athletic director at Pitt comes to abrupt end
- Chryst returns home, named football coach at Wisconsin
- Armstrong man dies in single-vehicle crash
- Judge dismisses littering charge against City Council president Bruce Kraus
- Toast of the Town: Explore Lawrenceville’s many watering holes
- QB Smith is chief concern for Steelers’ defense
- Steelers notebook: Brown leads WRs in Pro Bowl voting, Bell 2nd at RB
- Penguins’ Fleury tests negative for mumps; Crosby skates with team