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Jun 12, 2014

Golf-Kaymer takes control at treacherous Pinehurst

PINEHURST, North Carolina, June 12 (Reuters) – Germany’s Martin Kaymer stunningly birdied four of his last nine holes in the toughest conditions of the day to seize a three-shot lead in the U.S. Open first round at Pinehurst Resort on Thursday.

Seeking a second major title after clinching his first in the 2010 PGA Championship, Kaymer produced sizzling form on a hot and sunny afternoon as he fired a five-under-par 65 on Pinehurst’s fabled No. 2 Course.

Jun 12, 2014

Rose stays confident after short game let-down at Pinehurst

PINEHURST North Carolina (Reuters) – Short-game woes undermined Justin Rose’s opening round on Thursday at the U.S. Open but the reigning champion remained upbeat about his bid to become the event’s first back-to-back winner in 25 years.

Though the English world number nine drove the ball well most of the day, he struggled with his chip shots on to Pinehurst’s turtle-back greens as he carded a two-over-par 72 to finish four strokes off the early pace.

Jun 12, 2014

Golf-Mickelson in early contention at tricky Pinehurst

PINEHURST, North Carolina, June 12 (Reuters) – Phil Mickelson, who has suffered more U.S. Open heartache than any other player, thrilled his fans as he moved into contention on Thursday for the only major title which has eluded him.

The American left-hander, who has been a runner-up in his national championship a record six times, ground out an even-par 70 in the opening round at Pinehurst Resort to finish two strokes off the early pace.

Jun 12, 2014

Pinehurst U.S. Open starts under overcast skies

PINEHURST North Carolina (Reuters) – U.S. Open organizers were preparing for the likelihood of late afternoon thunderstorms as the opening round of the year’s second major began under cloudy skies at Pinehurst Resort on Thursday.

Little-known American Daniel Berger struck the first shot on the par-four opening hole while Swede Henrik Norlander began proceedings at the par-five 10th to launch the third U.S. Open to be played on Pinehurst’s fabled No. 2 Course.

Jun 11, 2014

Belgian Bomber aims to overpower Pinehurst

PINEHURST North Carolina (Reuters) – Homesick for the European lifestyle, Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts has mainly struggled on the PGA Tour this season but hopes that his love of the U.S. Open can help reignite his game this week at Pinehurst.

The 31-year-old, who is nicknamed the ‘Belgian Bomber’ because of his prodigious length off the tee, has recorded only one top-25 in 11 starts on the 2013-14 PGA Tour, yet feels his style of play is ideally suited to Pinehurst’s No. 2 Course.

Jun 11, 2014

Players set for Pinehurst’s devilish greens at U.S. Open

PINEHURST North Carolina (Reuters) – Pinehurst’s No. 2 Course is an aesthetic delight for this week’s U.S. Open after its recent ‘old school’ restoration but its notorious turtle-back greens will continue to frustrate the players.

While the par-70 layout has been creatively restored to the initial specifications of its Scotland-born designer Donald Ross, recapturing its look from the 1930s and 1940s, approach shots will be as daunting as ever due to the domed greens.

Jun 11, 2014

McIlroy targets twin major wins before year-end

PINEHURST North Carolina (Reuters) – Having regained his love of golf after enduring a turbulent 2013 campaign on and off the course, Rory McIlroy has set his sights on winning at least two of the last three majors this year.

The Northern Irishman is in good form heading into this week’s U.S. Open, buoyed by his victory in the European Tour’s flagship BMW Championship last month, and hopes he can also take advantage of a few tips given to him by Jack Nicklaus.

Jun 11, 2014

Scott still puzzled by his poor U.S. Open record

PINEHURST North Carolina (Reuters) – Adam Scott has been a perennial contender in major championships over the past three years but, for reasons which he finds difficult to explain, he has mainly struggled at the U.S. Open.

One of the best ball-strikers in the game and blessed with a swing envied by many of his peers, Scott has all the credentials to shine in the year’s second major which traditionally puts a premium on ‘percentage’ golf.

Jun 10, 2014

‘Rejoicing’ Watson develops consistency in his game

PINEHURST North Carolina (Reuters) – Often guilty in the past of being too hard on himself when things are not going well on the golf course, Masters champion Bubba Watson is reaping the benefits of a ‘big picture’ approach to his game.

By focusing on all the positives in his life and ‘rejoicing’ in his many family blessings, the American left-hander has produced the most consistent PGA Tour season of his career, highlighted by two victories and two runner-up spots.

Jun 10, 2014

Mickelson makes poignant U.S. Open return to Pinehurst

PINEHURST North Carolina (Reuters) – Returning to Pinehurst’s No. 2 Course for this week’s U.S. Open could hardly be more poignant for Phil Mickelson who was a runner-up when the year’s second major was first played at Pinehurst in 1999.

Not only has the American left-hander gone on to finish second in the tournament a further five times, he has yet to win his national championship, leaving him one shy in his long cherished bid to complete a rare grand slam of the four majors.