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2014 U.S. Open, Round 3: Martin Kaymer grinds his way to a five-shot lead

Shane Bacon
Devil Ball Golf
Martin Kaymer
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Martin Kaymer is looking for a second major championship — Getty Images

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After Saturday's tough round at Pinehurst, Martin Kaymer admitted he didn't have his best stuff. After matching 65s to open this U.S. Open, the first time in major history someone had shot those numbers in Rounds 1 and 2, Kaymer was struggling, both with the tougher conditions and his own golf swing.

After bogeys on the 13th and 15th, it looked like Kaymer's lead could shrink to three or even two, but the German made great pars on 16 and 17 before sticking his approach shot on the 18th to 10 feet and knocking in the putt for the closing birdie.

If you watched Kaymer play today, the round probably looked more like 75 or 76, but he was able to save pars and make the needed putts to keep the round close to par. Those are the types of rounds that end up winning you a U.S. Open, and that was exactly what Kaymer did on Saturday.

With a five-shot lead over Rickie Fowler and Erik Compton, it will be Kaymer's to lose on Sunday. But if he plays another round like he did on Saturday, it will be Kaymer's name on the trophy on Sunday evening.

As for the people chasing him going into Saturday's third round, Rory McIlroy shot 74, Adam Scott and Jordan Spieth both shot disappointing 72s and Brendon Todd, who was paired with Kaymer in the third round, struggled all day on his way to a 9-over 79.

Phil Mickelson's Saturday 72 saw him convert just one birdie, and he now sits 13 shots back of Kaymer.

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We had two rounds of the day, and they were the only two players that went this low on a tough day at Pinehurst.

Rickie Fowler and Erik Compton both fired 3-under 67s, incredibly impressive considering the 73.8 scoring average on Saturday at the U.S. Open.

Fowler's round was solid, making five birdies and two bogeys to get himself in the final group on Sunday with Kaymer.

Compton, playing in only his second major championship ever, got off to a hot start with two birdies and an eagle over his first eight holes, and while a bogey on the 16th dropped him back to 3-under, it was the birdie putt on the 18th he had to get in the final group at 4-under.

Compton couldn't convert the putt, but he will be right there on Sunday, especially if he can keep up this type of play on such a nasty track.

Both Fowler and Compton played their way into a tie for second place, five shots back of Kaymer.

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Phil Mickelson was asked after his round about his goals on Sunday, to which he answered, "Play solid, shoot 4-5 under, get back to even par, finish 2nd again."

Mickelson, of course, has the most second-place finishes in U.S. Open history with six.

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Keegan Bradley might not have had his best day on the course, but those shoes were a statement — Getty Images

Keegan Bradley might not have had his best day on the course, but those shoes were a statement — Getty Images

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Martin Kaymer was in some serious trouble after an errant tee shot found a horrible lie on the par-4 4th. Kaymer had already made a bogey, and was looking at something even worse right in the face when he had to take relief from an unplayable lie.

After the penalty, Kaymer faced a lengthy bogey putt and it looked like he might drop three shots in four holes, but he buried the putt, saving his bogey and going on to eagle the next hole.

If Kaymer makes double-bogey on the 4th, this whole thing could be different, but that putt on that hole was the moment of the day.

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It's the final round of the U.S. Open, one of the best Sundays of the entire year, and what we've been waiting for all week long!

Kaymer, Fowler, Compton and a host of others will be battling for this U.S. Open trophy, so make sure to swing by our page on Sunday as coverage kicks off at 12 PM ET on NBC.

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