You can almost hear the grumbling now. This is Pinehurst, it’s supposed to be punishing these great players, making them look more like you and me. The rain must have made the course too easy. Maybe the pin placements should have been adjusted.
Or maybe, just maybe, Martin Kaymer is really just that good.
Say what you will about the conditions that Kaymer has been able to play in. He played in the afternoon session on Thursday when the course should have been drier and faster, and while he was certainly fortunate to be out in the morning on Friday after rains came through overnight, that’s just the luck of the draw.
No, Kaymer looks like he’s ready to run away with the 114th U.S. Open because the course is set up to punish your mistakes, and he really just hasn’t made any. At one point around 11 AM, Kaymer had opened a seven-shot lead. You just don’t see that happen by accident.
Last night, Kaymer said that even he didn’t expect to shoot a bogey-free round of 65 at the legendary No. 2 course, but expectations have a funny way of working out sometimes. Keegan Bradley, who has played with Kaymer for the first two rounds, said that Kaymer is “as dialed in as I’ve seen”, and that’s about as well as it can be put. When you hit fairways, hit greens, and make every important putt, this is what happens.
As the second round is wrapping up, here’s how the leaderboard breaks down:
1. Kaymer, -10
2. Brendon Todd, -4
T3. Kevin Na; Brandt Snedeker, -3
T5. Bradley, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Brendon de Jonge, Henrik Stenson and Chris Kirk, -2
T11. Matt Kuchar, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Hideki Matsuyama, -1
Notables further down include world No. 1 Adam Scott and the no-longer-knickered Rickie Fowler at level par, defending champion Justin Rose at +1, and Phil Mickelson at +3. The cut line is fluctuating between +4 and +5 as of this writing.
Kaymer’s score of 10-under 130 is the lowest aggregate in U.S. Open history, with Rory McIlroy’s 131 (-11) at Congressional in 2011 the only close comparison. We all know how that turned out. The only thing that really seems to be in question at this point is whether Kaymer can keep up the pace, and if it will even matter. If he brings anything close to this type of performance on the weekend, then everybody else is playing for second place.