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Knowing the gallery was against him — the loud cheers for Fowler, clapping when Kaymer’s ball bounded over the back of the second green — he holed a 10-foot par putt, and then drilled a driver on the 313-yard third hole onto the green to set up a two-putt birdie.
Fowler, in the final group of a major for the first time, fell back quickly on the fourth hole. He sent his third shot from a sandy path over the green and into some pine trees and had to make a 25-foot putt just to escape with double bogey.
"It was probably the toughest day that I played golf today, especially the first nine," Kaymer said. "Because if you have two or three Americans chasing you, playing in America, it’s never easy being a foreigner. But I said at the ceremony as well that the fans were very fair. But it was a tough one. If you lead by five shots, it’s not easy.
"A lot of people think, ‘Well, you have a little bit of a cushion.’ But if you approach that day in that way, with that attitude, it can be gone so quickly."
No chance on this day.
Compton was the only player who really put up a fight. His birdie on No. 8 got him within four shots. Three bogeys in a five-hole stretch on the back nine did him in. Even so, Compton received a standing ovation walking the 18th green. He somehow scratched out a par from 50 yards away against the lip of a bunker.
It wasn’t the Hollywood script he wanted, but it wasn’t a bad consolation — his first trip to the Masters next April.
"I’ve never gotten this far along in my story," Compton said. "I’m thrilled."
Kaymer joined Seve Ballesteros, Ernie Els, Woods and McIlroy as the only players to win two majors and be No. 1 in the world before turning 30 since the world ranking began in 1986. He is the fourth European in the last five years to win the U.S. Open, after Europeans had gone 40 years without this title.
It’s a rebirth for Kaymer, who reached No. 1 in the world in February 2011, only to believe that he needed a more rounded game. His preferred shot was a fade. Kaymer spent two hard years and a lot of lonely hours on the range in Germany and his American home in Scottsdale, Arizona.
He was as low as No. 63 in the world six weeks ago. Now he goes to No. 11.
Woods still holds the most dominant U.S. Open win — 15 shots at Pebble Beach in 2000. McIlroy holds the scoring record at 16-under 268.
"I’m wondering how he did it," McIlroy said. "Obviously, if you limit the mistakes, you might end up a couple under for the week. But to do what he’s doing ... I think it’s nearly more impressive than what I did at Congressional."
Among those who congratulated Kaymer on the 18th green was Sandra Gal, a German player on the LPGA Tour. The U.S. Women’s Open takes over Pinehurst No. 2 on Monday.
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