For the first three days of the 2014 U.S. Open, Martin Kaymer has been head and shoulders above the rest of the field. He started with back to back 65’s when no other player in the field shot lower than 67. Even after a third round 72, the 29-year-old German holds a five shot lead over Rickie Fowler and Erik Compton going into the final round of the tournament.
That doesn’t mean that Sunday will just be a victory lap for Kaymer, however. Golf fans vividly remember when Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy ran away from the field in their historic U.S. Open wins, but the tournament has seen many more players fall from the top of the leaderboard than pull away on the final day. The last time the tournament was played at Pinehurst, Retief Goosen held a three shot lead going into Sunday, but finished outside the top 10 with a final round 81.
Kaymer could actually play relatively well and still get caught. With tough Sunday pin locations, Kaymer could easily follow up his Saturday 72 with another over par round. If he were to finish with a 72 or 73, Fowler or Compton would just need to repeat their Saturday 67’s to tie or pass Kaymer. Henrik Stenson and Dustin Johnson are also lurking at -2, and both are big hitters that could post a great score.
If Kaymer does go out and shoot even par or better, it seems unfathomable that he will be caught. He’s certainly proven capable of finishing strong, having won the PGA Championship in 2010 and The Players earlier this year. He’s consistently found fairways and kept his approaches from rolling off the greens. If he is able to hold on and win, the former No. 1 player in the world will unquestionably be one of the top ten players again.
Kaymer is obviously the favorite to come out on top, but just one bad hole could change the whole complexion of the tournament. At the U.S. Open, anything can happen.