THURSDAY AT THE U.S. OPEN: Kaymer notches Pinehurst Open record

Father-son team is on the leaderboard
Jun. 12, 2014 @ 09:39 PM

There were plenty of red ones and twos all over the manual scoreboards around the Pinehurst Resort and Country Club grounds during Thursday's first round of the 2014 U.S. Open Championship.

With birdies on three of his last five holes late in the afternoon, Martin Kaymer broke away from the pack and set a new Pinehurst Open record with a five-under 65.

Kaymer had one of the one-under rounds going until making four on the longest hole at Pinehurst No. 2, No. 10 playing at 608 yards.

Following three fours, he birdies No. 14, 16 and 17 coming in for a 31 back nine. Kaymer was the only player to go four under on the back nine.

Kaymer started with a birdie on the first. He says he didn't think too much of it. He says he can't think too much of Thursday's round today.

"To start off with a birdie, it's nice," he said, "but I think mentally it doesn't make a huge difference, at least not for me, because the U.S. Open is just about playing the next hole, okay, I forget about it, and then the next hole, forget about it. You can't really think about the positives, really, too much and too much about the negatives, because it's too much to think about."

Along with going out in the morning for the second round and respecting the course, Kaymer, the 2014 Players Championship victor and 2010 PGA Championship winner, says hole-by-hole and round-by-round go together.

"It's a very, very difficult golf couse. It's a very difficult test. You can't approach one of those tournaments the way you approach a regular European or PGA Tour event," he said.

Brandt Snedeker, was four under through his front nine earlier in the day. His front nine included five threes and four straight from holes six through nine. Snedeker's back nine included a double bogey on No. 11 and he finished in a 10-player group at one under par.

No. 11, playing at 493 yards, was the most difficult hole through a round averaging 4.47 strokes per player. The easiest hole so far is the par-five No. 5.

Kevin Na wasn't sure he'd be in the U.S. Open until advancing high enough up the World Golf Rankings to earn an exemption two weeks ago.

Fran Quinn, a journeyman touring pro from Worcester, Mass., advanced through local and sectional qualifying to make it to Pinehurst.

Na and Quinn shot two-under 68 to be tied for second with Graeme McDowell and Brendon De Jonge going into today.

Na is ranked No. 40 in the world. It took a runner-up finish at the Memorial to make the Open.

Quinn, 49, has four Nationwide/Web.com Tour victories and no PGA Tour victories in 16 years as a pro golfer. He hasn't had a regular PGA Tour card since 2010. His best result in any major tournament was tied for 43rd at the 1994 U.S. Open. The last U.S. Open he played was in 1996.

His son, Owen, is his caddie this week.

"But to come back and play this year, I'm 49 years old, it's Father's Day weekend, I've got my boy on the bag," Quinn said. "My dad passed away two years ago, and I know he's looking down today. And it's just a tremendous feeling."