Former champion Martin Kaymer ends US Open 13 over par after mixed final round

Former champion Martin Kaymer showed what was possible – both good and bad – in the final round of the 124th US Open.

Ten years after leading from start to finish and winning by eight shots to secure his second major title at Pinehurst, Kaymer carded a closing 73 to finish 13 over par, two hours before the last group were due to tee off.

The former world number one birdied the first, fifth, 10th and 13th – where a forward tee had brought the green into range – but also made a double bogey on the ninth and ran up a quadruple-bogey eight on the 14th.

“I think it’s very fair, I think you can shoot two or three under par,” Kaymer told the PA news agency.

Martin Kaymer plays a bunker shot during the US Open
Former champion Martin Kaymer carded a closing 73 in the US Open at Pinehurst (Matt York/AP)

“I think the USGA set up the golf course really nicely the last four days, especially over the weekend.

“You do have some tricky pins but you know that. You have to play away from flags quite often so you rely on a lot of putts inside 10 feet because you will miss the odd green here and there.

“I didn’t miss many within 10 feet in 2014 and I said that to my caddie walking down the 18th. I was 22 shots better 10 years ago, which is only just over five shots a day, but you can lose five shots here no problem.”

Asked about his problems on the 14th, Kaymer added: “I hit a decent bunker shot which just trickled over (the green) and then it didn’t really matter if I finished 50th or 60th so I tried to hit a really nice, cute pitch shot and it came up short twice, but it was a fun week. I enjoyed the challenge.

“Regardless of if it’s Pinehurst or not, I like that feeling of playing well in a major, having a chance.

“Obviously I’m still quite far away from being in contention but at least I know what I need to work on and to experience Pinehurst again with the crowds and the memories, it was beautiful.”

Kaymer played a practice round with Rory McIlroy earlier in the week and was also alongside the Northern Irishman for the first two rounds of the 2014 US PGA at Valhalla, which culminated in McIlroy’s most recent major win.

McIlroy went into the final round at Pinehurst in a share of second place with Matthieu Pavon and Patrick Cantlay, three shots behind 2020 champion Bryson DeChambeau.

“He plays the same way he did back then, winning is just so difficult,” Kaymer said of McIlroy.

Rory McIlroy plays from a bunker during the US Open
Rory McIlroy, pictured, trailed Bryson DeChambeau by three shots after 54 holes of the US Open (Mike Stewart/AP)

“He came close so many times, I think it’s just a matter of making those clutch putts on the back nine.

“We all know he’s good enough, but you do need a little bit of luck as well. When people say he hasn’t won for 10 years, that’s quite unfair towards him.

“It’s very difficult winning major championships and he finished many times in the top 10 which is also a good achievement. I think it’s just a matter of time.”