Kaymer ties for lead

The News-Times - - SPORTS -

DUBLIN, Ohio — Twotime ma­jor cham­pion Martin Kaymer is tied for the lead go­ing into the week­end at the Me­mo­rial, and whether he wins is not what drives him.

He knows his game is close enough that he can.

Kaymer kept it simple Fri­day with birdies on all the par 5s, a tee shot to 10 feet on a dan­ger­ous right pin at the par-3 12th and a bo­gey on his fi­nal hole at Muir­field Vil­lage for a 4un­der 68 that gave him a share of the lead with Troy Mer­ritt (66) and Ky­oungHoon Lee (67).

They were at 9-un­der 135. Jor­dan Spi­eth had a 70 and was an­other shot be­hind.

Tiger Woods had a chance to be a lot closer to the mix than seven shots ex­cept for the par-5 15th. He was in the shaggy rough on a hill above the green in two, and took five to get down for a dou­ble bo­gey. Woods had to set­tle for a 72.

“I just wasn’t able to get any­thing re­ally go­ing,” Woods said.

Kaymer is com­ing up on the five-year an­niver­sary of his last win, and that wasn’t just any vic­tory. He de­mol­ished the field at Pine­hurst No. 2 for an eight-shot vic­tory, this com­ing one month af­ter he beat the strong­est and deep­est field in golf at The Play­ers Cham­pi­onship.

And then he was gone. “I dis­tract my­self,” Kaymer said. “I lis­ten too much to other peo­ple, and also a bit of be­lief. Some­times, you would think I won so many big tour­na­ments I should have so much be­lief in my­self that I can win any week. … The last two years, I was just not there. I just didn’t be­lieve that I could win the tour­na­ment I’m play­ing.”

He re­cently got off so­cial me­dia be­cause he found no value ex­cept for gos­sip, in­nu­endo and oth­er­wise use­less in­for­ma­tion. He was re­minded of why that was such a smart move when he stopped for cof­fee Tues­day morn­ing and stood in line be­tween a half-dozen peo­ple, all star­ing at their phones.

“It’s just distractio­n, stim­u­la­tion for your brain, just not think­ing, not be­ing there,” he said.

Spi­eth ap­pears to be get­ting closer to end­ing nearly two years with­out a vic­tory. One day af­ter he holed two chips and made a long eagle putt, he was in po­si­tion for a low score and had to set­tle for a 70.

“I prob­a­bly shot the high­est score I could have to­day,” Spi­eth said, though he im­me­di­ately saw one upside. His only bo­gey was on No. 10 when he missed a 4-foot putt. But that was only his sec­ond bo­gey through 36 holes.

“I’d like to think I’d make as many or more birdies over the next two days,” he said. “For me, it’s about elim­i­nat­ing mis­takes, and I’ve done a good job of that.”

Justin Rose made the big­gest move of the way. He opened with a 75 and dropped to 4 over with a bo­gey on the third round. And then Rose strung to­gether six con­sec­u­tive 3s on his card, es­pe­cially im­pres­sive be­cause two of them were par 5s. He chipped in for an­other birdie. He wound up with a 63 and went from a week­end off to be­ing within three shots of the lead.

Woods watched the whole thing and was mostly stuck in neu­tral.

“All of us were watch­ing Rosie get things go­ing on the front nine,” Woods said. “I just wasn’t able to make any­thing hap­pen to­day.”

No shot did more dam­age than his 5-wood to the par-5

15th, where it sailed to the left, the one place he couldn’t af­ford to miss. He was try­ing to bounce it one green and it took two tries to do that, and then he three-putted from just over

25 feet for a dou­ble bo­gey. “I just need a round like what Rosie played to­day,” Woods said.

At least he’s still play­ing. Phil Mick­el­son started with a triple bo­gey and ended the back nine with a dou­ble bo­gey. He matched his worst score at Muir­field Vil­lage with a 79 and missed the cut. It was even more painful for Rory McIl­roy, who was on the cut num­ber (1-over 145) when his wedge to the 15th came up 5 feet short of where it needed to land and rolled off the green, down the fair­way and into a light cut of rough, lead­ing to bo­gey.

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