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Kaymer still comfortable on U.S. Open leaderboard after third round stumble

Third round bogeys unable to derail Kaymer
Third round bogeys unable to derail Kaymer
Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

The U.S. Open championship leaderboard has told the same old story for three days. Once again, the U.S. Open looks like Martin Kaymer's championship to lose after the third round on June 14, as no one seriously challenged him on the leaderboard again. Nevertheless, Kaymer came back to earth in the third round with five bogeys, although he could afford every one of them.

Kaymer broke U.S. Open records with two straight 65's going into the weekend, on a Pinehurst course that was supposed to make below par scores very rare. As such, Kaymer didn't need to shoot below par at all in the third round, despite how he would have preferred it.

Regardless, the leaderboard shows Kaymer at -8 overall after shooting a 72, staying five shots ahead of Rickie Fowler and Erik Compton. Both Fowler and Compton made the biggest moves they could with a 67, erasing five shots from their deficit to Kaymer. If they do the exact same thing on June 15, then the U.S. Open may carry some suspense at the end after all.

Henrik Stenson, Dustin Johnson and Brandt Snedeker are the only other players under par through 54 holes. The list of contenders for the championship is very thin with 18 holes to go, even if more than one name is on it. It may take a 65 or 66 for a contender to put pressure on Kaymer, whether he stumbles or not.

With his bogeys at 2, 4, 6, 13 and 15 in the third round, Kaymer showed he can be human at Pinehurst. Yet he ended the day with a birdie at 18, preventing any comeback buzz from getting more serious.

Kaymer has been on track for his first U.S. Open championship and second major title for about three days now. It would therefore be more fitting to clinch on a high note, although he doesn't necessarily need one. Even another 72 might do the job, unless Fowler, Compton, Stenson or Johnson are hotter than he was in the opening rounds.

Kaymer's final round/potential coronation begins at 3:35 p.m. est on NBC.

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