Kaymer breezes to U.S. Open title


PINEHURST, N.C. — Martin Kaymer posted his third under par round of the week on Sunday and cruised to an 8-stroke win at the 114th U.S. Open Championship.

Kaymer’s lead dipped to four on the front nine, but birdies at 13 and 14 pushed him eight clear of the field. He poured in a par putt on the 18th to wrap up a round of 1-under 69. Kaymer ended the championship at 9-under-par 271. Kaymer’s 69 was 11th round in red figures in the final round.

The German, who also won the 2010 PGA Championship, became the first player to ever win the Players Championship and the U.S. Open in the same year. He became the eighth player to win both titles in a career. He became the fourth player to win the Players and a major in the same season.

Kaymer became the seventh player to win the U.S. Open in wire-to-wire fashion with no ties. The last to do so was Rory McIlroy in 2011 at Congressional.

“Playing with Rickie (Fowler) today was going to be very difficult. He’s a very aggressive player and he can make a lot of birdies if he wants to. But overall, it was a very nice day and a very nice week,” Kaymer stated. “I didn’t make many mistakes the last two wins I had in America, especially this week.

“I played very solid the first two days and that gave me a nice cushion for the weekend. To only shot 1-over par for the final two days is good.”

Erik Compton posted a 2-over 72 to end at 1-under-par 279. He posted his best finish on tour in just his second major championship start. Fowler also closed with a 72 to share second place with Compton.

Kaymer got off to a steady start with pars on one and two. He drove to the back edge of the par-4 third and 2-putted for birdie to stretch his lead to six.

He scrambled to three pars in a row from the fourth. Kaymer missed the fairway off the seventh tee and missed the green with his approach shot. After putting onto the green, he 2-putted for bogey from over 20 feet out.

That bogey trimmed Kaymer’s lead to four over Compton, who had two birdies and a bogey through eight holes to move to minus-4. After Compton bogeyed the ninth, Kaymer dropped his tee shot within eight feet at the same hole and converted that for birdie. Kaymer’s lead was right back to six.

Compton got up and down for birdie on the par-5 10th. Kaymer knocked his third over the green, then putted back off the front of the green. From there, he needed two more putts to get down, and that bogey cut his lead back to four.

The next four holes put the tournament away.

Compton missed the fairway on 11 and punched his second down the fairway. he played his third to 18 feet and 2-putted for bogey. He 3-putted for bogey on the par-3 12th to dip six back.

Kaymer parred those two holes, then threw the knockout punch to the rest of the field. His drive at the short par-4 13th found a greenside bunker. He blasted to 16 feet and drained that birdie putt.

At the 14th, Kaymer poured a 29-foot birdie effort to push his lead to eight strokes. Compton fell nine back when he bogeyed the 15th.

Kaymer came up short at the 16th. That led to a bogey. He closed with a pair of pars to seal his second major championship title.

“That was the toughest part. I just didn’t want to defend anything. I wanted to get to double digits. That was my goal in the middle of the round,” Kaymer said. “You tell yourself to keep going, but to do it is another thing.”

Compton, a two-time heart transplant recipient, had his best finish on tour and gains a place in the Masters next year with his top-4 finish.

“You know, I’ve never gotten this far along in my story, so it hasn’t sunken in yet. I’m just thrilled. It’s just a real special moment,” Compton said. “I was playing for second, I think we all were. I hit the ball well from tee to green for most of the day, but I didn’t have a sharp putter. I didn’t know I got into the Masters. This is just a career-opening thing for me, you know for me to able to put myself on the map and prove the world that I’m not just a guy with two heart transplants.”

Fowler, who played alongside Kaymer in the final group, double-bogeyed the fourth, but came back with a birdie on No. 5. Bogeys at the ninth and 11th dropped Fowler to even-par.

The 2012 Wells Fargo winner tried to rally as he birdied the 12th and 13th. However, Fowler dropped another shot on 17 and parred the last to end alongside Compton in second place.

“I hung in there. Stayed within myself. I had couple ones get away from me like on four. I made a great six, you don’t really say that much about a double-bogey,” Fowler stated. “But I hung in there, and made some good swings on the back nine. Martin was playing his own tournament.”

Former PGA Champion Keegan Bradley fired a 3-under 67 to end at 1-over 281. Jason Day shot 68 to join Bradley at plus-1. They were joined there by Brooks Koepka (71), Dustin Johnson (73) and Henrik Stenson (73).

 

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