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Kaymer sets blistering pace at US Open

ESPN staff
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Martin Kaymer's 65 is the lowest ever US Open score made at Pinehurst No.2 © Getty Images
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Martin Kaymer shot the lowest score made by anyone in a US Open held at Pinehurst No.2 to take a healthy lead into Friday's second round in North Carolina.

Both Graeme McDowell and Kevin Na shared the early clubhouse lead after the morning starters topped the standings with respective first rounds of 68, but Kaymer produced a brilliant round of 65 to take the outright lead.

After finding himself one shot off the lead at the turn, Kaymer enjoyed a birdie-streak on his back nine to move into the outright lead ahead of round two.

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The German began his return with a birdie at the 608-yard par-5 10th to move two-under and gained another shot at the 14th to stand alone atop of the leaderboard.

Another birdie at 15 meant Kaymer became the second player of the day to reach four-under-par; only Brandt Snedeker had done so in the early starters before he erratically fell back.

A superb tee shot at the 17th helped Kaymer earn another shot and moved him three clear of the chasing pack. He had looked the only player to be in complete control of his game and showed it with another remarkable drive at the last.

His approach proved to be a club too short and, with a stern look of disappointment, he chipped 10 feet past the pin. However, Kaymer kept his cool to sink his putt for par and, just a month after winning the Players Championship in Florida, he will take the advantage into round two of the season's second major.

Brendon de Jonge joins McDowell and Na three shots back at two-under after a solid 68 and could have been joined by Jamie Donaldson but for a horrendous mishap from the Welshman at 17; Donaldson's brief flirtation with the top of the leaderboard was ended by a double-bogey.

Dustin Johnson started his campaign with a mixed-bag 69 to join a host of players at one-under, including the impressive Jordan Spieth whose remarkable season continues to get better.

Francesco Molinari, who spoke to ESPN prior to the event, also carded 69 to stay within four shots of Kaymer.

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  • When Rickie Fowler walked into the Pinehurst locker room on Thursday morning dressed up as one of his heroes, the late Payne Stewart, some of his US Open competitors were taken aback but not surprised, writes Ian O'Connor.
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Two birdies and two bogeys from Ian Poulter ensured the Englishman remained at level par after his opening round. Poulter made nine pars on his back nine to complete a solid start to his tournament.

Paul Casey joins his countryman at even-par after a colourful round which included four birdies - one which came from a superb 55-foot putt at the 18th green - and a double-bogey six at the eighth.

Adam Scott found himself in contention at one-under after his first five holes, but four bogeys meant the world No.1 finished his day the wrong side of par at three-over.

Masters champion Bubba Watson was another to struggle at one of his unflavoured courses, shooting a 76 to fall well out of contention and in dangerous ground of missing the weekend action.

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