TEEING OFF: Matt Kuchar hits his tee shot on the seventh hole during the second round of the US Open in Pinehurst, North Carolina, yesterday. –Photo: AP

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Kaymer solidifies lead in US Open

 \\\\\ PINEHURST


Martin Kaymer is playing a brand of golf rarely seen in the US Open. It might even be enough for soccer-mad Germany to pay attention. The other 155 players at Pinehurst No. 2 certainly are. Kaymer set the 36-hole scoring record at the US Open yesterday with another 5-under 65 --this one without a single bogey-- to build a six-shot lead over Brendon Todd and leave the rest of the field wondering if the 29-year-old German was playing a different course, or even a different tournament.

“If he does it for two more days, then we’re all playing for second spot,” Adam Scott said. Kaymer was at ten-under 130, breaking by one shot the record set by Rory McIlroy at rain-softened Congressional in 2011. He had an eight-shot lead when he finished his morning round. Todd made some tough par saves to keep bogeys off his card for a 67.

The six-shot lead after 36 holes tied the US Open record first set by Tiger Woods at Pebble Beach in 2000 and matched by McIlroy at Congressional. Woods wound up winning by 15 shots. McIlroy won by eight. “I played Congressional and I thought, ‘How can you shoot that low?’ And that’s probably what a lot of other people think about me right now,” Kaymer said.

At least a few of them allowed for some hope going into the weekend. Todd, who won the Byron Nelson Championship last month for his first PGA Tour win, will play in the final group today in his first US Open. Brandt Snedeker had a 68 and joined Na at 3-under 137.

Phil Mickelson was 13 shots behind after going back to his conventional putting grip and giving up too many shots. He had a 73. 

Kaymer was the sixth player in US Open history to reach double-digits under par, though McIlroy was the only other player to get there before the weekend. Kaymer already won the PGA Championship in 2010 at Whistling Straits, and he added the next best thing to a major last month at The Players Championship. It’s tough for any golfer to make headlines in Germany, especially in a World Cup year. At least Germany doesn’t start in Brazil until Monday.

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