Martin Kaymer not caving at The Players
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour
Kaymer lapping the field

Kaymer in command

Martin Kaymer didn’t post another nine-under 63, but he shot a very respectable three-under 69 to back up his spectacular round a day earlier (which isn’t easy to do). Kaymer, who teed off in the morning, is 12-under at the halfway mark and practically lapping the field. With the afternoon wave yet to finish, Kaymer has extended his lead to four strokes at the moment. 

“Yesterday was just very special day for me,” he said in his post-round presser.  “But anything around par today, if you shoot 1, 2-under par, or even level par, it’s a good score.

“Even though I shot 9-under par yesterday and if people want to talk negative about it, I shot then six shots worse, but you can always go in the negative.  But I see very positive things that I backed up that 9-under par with another decent round.”

Exactly — it’s difficult to follow a really low score, so anything under par the next day is very solid.

The 29-year-old German, who fell from no. 1 in the world to no. 61 at the moment in the past three years, appears to finally have emerged from his “slump.” The secret to breaking out of it? He’s not thinking too much, as he discussed in detail following his round on Thursday.

Well, he was able to hold that up on Friday. While he didn’t drive the ball well — hitting only 6 of 14 fairways — he still managed to scramble and hit 13 of 18 greens and he only needed 28 putts.

“It was a little difficult today,” said Kaymer. “I thought it was already gusty in the morning and the pin positions were a little bit tougher than yesterday.

“I didn’t hit as many fairways as yesterday but I managed my way quite nicely around the golf course, had a couple of nice up and downs, two longer putts went in, so I think I kept it really well together and kept myself in the tournament.”

A highlight of Kaymer’s round was surely his birdie on the par-3 17th. He knocked a gap wedge to four feet and rolled in the putt for a superb 2.

“I hit it to (four) feet and then we just laughed because we were, this time we were a lot more brave, we really went for the shot,” he said, laughing.  “Yesterday, we were a little like a wimp, but it was smart.  But it was the right shot — it the was smart shot, but the wrong play.

“Today we were much braver.  So it was a funny situation.”

While Kaymer would like to reach no. 1 once again, he’s not focused on the prize, rather the process, which begins with winning tournaments. He’s been trending in the right direction his last several starts, with a T31 at the Masters and T23 at the RBC Heritage. Then, last week he was in contention heading into the final round before he busted with a disappointing final-round 75 to drop all the way down to T18.

“I had a lot of good finishes.  The way I played golf, I was very happy the last four or five weeks, especially, so the next step is just putting yourself in contention, hopefully win.  If not, it’s okay.  But as long as you put yourself in contention for the next few weeks, especially now we’re coming up to the U.S. Open, British Open.

“It would be nice to gain even more confidence and if you sneak in a win here and there it would be nice.  If not, it’s still good golf and good performances.”

While Kaymer has a comfortable cushion at the moment, he knows it’s not exactly a walk in the park to win wire-to-wire and he still has his work cut out for him.

“Leading after one or two rounds doesn’t mean that you will win the tournament,” he said.  “Anybody else in that field can shoot a 9under, 10under par, what I’ve done yesterday.  So it’s still very open.”